10
Jan
13

The Immediacy of Following Jesus

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.Matthew 4:18-22

Here are four men – a full one-third of Jesus’ chosen disciples – who are initially called by Jesus. While it may bear some discussion about how all four had the profession of fisherman, it is the immediacy of their response that amazes me.

In both accounts, the Bible makes it clear that these men dropped what they were doing, and immediately left to follow Jesus. Peter and Andrew deposited their nets on the shore and went with Jesus – we don’t know if they left the nets in the care of someone else, or they simply abandoned them. James and John left their father in his boat. No account in future scripture tells us that they ever returned.

Did Jesus know these men from his childhood or his coming of age? Was there some pre-arranged understanding that this day would come, and they all were in expectation of Jesus’ invitation? Or were these men divinely chosen, without any prior arrangement or knowledge of Jesus? The former seems more likely to me, but I would not discount God’s ability to make it happen with no pre-arrangement.

Finally, what do you think the father of James and John thought when he found he had to support the family on his own? I’d like to think that he was proud of his sons, and knew what they were doing.

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