Jesus was now going from town to town. Our text this week comes from each of these spots:
Matthew 4:12-23/Mark 1:14-20/Luke 5:1-11
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” He announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men. (Mark 1:14-20 NLT)
God The Father identified Jesus as His dearly loved Son who brings Him great joy. Many heard it probably including the men in our text today. They all saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus in physical form. Then Jesus disappeared for 40 days and later they learned of Satan's temptations of Him during this time.
These men heard the Gospel...the Good News. They repented of their sin and believed in and followed Jesus. They believed He was Savior and followed Him as Lord...
john the Baptist had pointed these men to Jesus and they had stayed close and learned much from Him, His Words and His Miraculous works. You can see this in the early chapters of John's Gospel record.
These men were all commercial fishermen from around the Sea of Galilee. This Sea was fed by the Jordan and is only 14 miles tall x 6 miles wide. It sits 700 feet below sea level. It was also called the Lake of Genneserat or Sea of Tiberias in that day. In OT Times it was called Sea of Kinnereth.
As Jesus and these men came back to Galilee, the Se guys had gone back to work catching fish (Tilapia, Carp, Sardines). Jesus continued His work of proclaiming that 'The time promised by God has come at last'. He preached that the Kingdom of God was near and told everyone who listened to repent and to believe the Good News. Many had learned about repentance from John and had heard that One was coming. As Jesus spoke, many people turned from their sins and people turned to this new Way that Jesus taught...it was amazing! At this time, these other men were content to fish and work with their hands and watch Jesus call people to Repent and Believe...
As they fished, Jesus often taught right there along the seashores. Sometimes He taught while He walked along...other times the crowd would press into Him so that He might get into one of the boats and teach from it as if it were a pulpit. These men had become accustomed to following Jesus but still had so much to learn...we also had much to abandon. This day would be a big day.
First, Jesus would come to the boat of Peter and Andrew. Oh yes, the boats of those days... In 1986 a 'Jesus boat' was found at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. It dates to first half of the first century. It was 26 feet long x 7 feet wide x 4 feet deep and was made of Cedar and Oak. It could have held about 2000 pounds.
They had been fishing all night and were about to call it a day. Jesus tells them to go back at it. Everyone knows that fish are caught on this Sea at night and in the shallows...it was now daytime and Jesus' tells them to go out into the deep. Peter does as Jesus says and we follow. We learn that when Jesus commanded something we had best be prepared for unconventional/supernatural results.
The fish they hauled in nearly capsized the vessel. They were in awe...most of the crowds could not see this miracle but these men did. Peter was struck by this...simple fisherman were in the boat with The Messiah...God in the Flesh...the Holy One. He was ashamed and even asked Jesus to leave and let Him be.
Jesus would have none of it. First, He spoke to Peter and his brother Andrew. Come and follow Me Jesus said...and I will make you fishers of men. But they were following Jesus and had been for some time. They had repented of their sin and had believed in who He was...but now Jesus was calling them (and us too) into something more...a job other than dealing with fish. Fish for people. Jesus was about the Kingdom of God and now He invites these fisherman to be as well...first, foremost, only...God's Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Why does He call these men and why does He call you? Clearly His power would be enough...why does He need us? It's the other way around...we need Him...we need His call...our lives are intertwined into His purposes. He calls us so that we can experience all of the good in this life...all of the worthwhile work...all of the struggle...as we follow Him.
Have you responded to God's Good News by following Jesus as Lord & Savior?The command after the announcement 'The Kingdom is at hand' is direct for all:
Those that are just hearing the message are to 'Repent & Believe'. Those that have responded in repentance are to 'Come and follow Jesus. What is God calling you to 'Come and Follow Him' in your own life?