17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.”
What was it that caused these fishermen to immediately leave their business to follow Jesus’ invitation, “Come follow Me”? Was this the first encounter they had with Him? What do you know of the back story?
In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, he gives us more details about the background of these men. They had been disciples of John the Baptist and had heard his teaching about the coming of the Messiah. John tells of an occasion where Jesus passed by, and John the Baptist identified Him as the Lamb of God. Two disciples of John heard this, and they decided to follow Jesus.
One of these men was Andrew. He went to his brother Simon, told him, “We have found the Messiah,” and brought him to meet Jesus. When Jesus saw Simon, He said to him, “You will be called Cephas,” or Peter. The other disciple of John with Andrew was probably John, the brother of James, who eventually wrote the Gospel of John.
In chapter 5, Luke gives us the details we read about today. Simon and Andrew, along with James and John and their father Zebedee, had just come in from an unsuccessful morning of fishing when they encountered Jesus. Jesus asked Simon to let Him use the boat for a platform to address the crowd pressing in on Him to hear God’s word.
After His teaching, Jesus asked Simon to put out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Simon was convinced it would not be successful, but because Jesus asked him, he did it. Simon and Andrew’s nets began to tear, and the boat was so full of fish it began to sink. They called to their partners, James and John, to help, and both their boats were filled until they were sinking. They all were amazed at the catch of fish.
For Simon it was a confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah, and he was struck with being unworthy to be in His presence. It was at this point Jesus made his invitation, “Follow Me!” So they brought their boats to shore, left everything and followed Him.
Jesus did not ask these fishermen to blindly follow Him. He revealed Himself to them through His miraculous provision of a valuable catch of fish. Only then did He ask for their response. If you read Luke’s account, Jesus even began His invitation to follow Him with the words, “Don’t be afraid.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What is your response to Jesus’ call to follow Him? What do you know about Him? Is there enough evidence to prove Him trustworthy? We read in Hebrews 11:6, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
- Jesus still fills boats with fish today. As a disciple, are you telling others about those rewards He gives for seeking Him, so they might know Jesus and become disciples of His?