“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 NIV). Simon and Andrew didn’t see this one coming. The brothers weren’t looking for a new religion or prophet to follow. No, they were quite happy without Jesus; dead in their spiritual blindness, but happy in their darkness.
Through this simple intervention Jesus called two brothers to a radical and permanent transformation. Should they follow, fish would no longer satisfy. Their entire world would be irreversibly changed. Jesus gave them no options, no consideration for feelings, and no opportunity for negotiation. Either abandon all to follow Jesus, or ignore the God-man and continue fishing. Surprisingly, the only promise given by Jesus was this mysterious business of becoming “fishers of men.”
Should they follow, they would be part of humanity’s bulls-eye events, integrated into a 3 year world changing intervention by God. To follow would mean a change in every priority, every relationship would be recalibrated to fall under Jesus as Lord and God. Popularity would be irrelevant, wealth would seem immaterial, health concerns would be inconsequential, and Heaven would be the indisputable destiny.
A historic choice
What were these brothers to do? “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). That was it, the choice was made, there would be no turning back. Next, James and John were confronted by a similar life changing demand that left no room for compromise or blending of the old and new life. Likewise, “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:22). Christ’s call permitted no bargaining, no terms of acceptance were permitted, and no telling Him to come back later when it suited better. No, following in total surrender was the only appropriate response.
Many months later, Jesus told his disciples, including Simon, Andrew, James and John; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). These men had already walked away from business, family, community and lifestyle. What more could Jesus expect? Turns out, Jesus wanted everything! He was calling for a willingness to accept the possibility that followers may suffer the same crucifixion which He would suffer shortly.
As we know, they willingly followed Jesus into a life of fishing for the souls of people to be saved for eternity through faith in Jesus Christ. Theirs would be a life of making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Their single minded focus would be to “proclaim him (Jesus) by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that (they) may present every person mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28 NET). This was no Jesus vacation, no party here; it was mission with a purpose, and they followed!
Christ has the authority
In Jesus own words; He could claim this over their lives because “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Matthew 28:18). When you hear the call of Jesus on your life, you’re hearing sovereign God, the one who created you, who has preserved your life to this point, who claims your life for His purposes and His glory.
Today, I encourage you to be led by Jesus Christ and follow willingly. No matter if you know Christ already or not; whole-heartedly follow Him as Lord and be His fisher of men. Live Christ, share Christ, and enjoy Christ.