In Mark 1:17 – by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and Andrew and a little later, James and John. He said to them: “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men”.
Jesus’ call to them was simple. Yet it was a call that changed their lives forever. He called them to be his disciples and to follow him. The effect and result of this was indeed to change the world as well. As we reflect on Jesus’ call, is this meant only for the 12 disciples? And subsequently for the apostle Paul? If we look at Scriptures, we will know that this is a charge not just to the apostles but to all of us believers as well. We are all called to follow Christ. To serve him, to serve his church and to fulfil the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. Reflecting on Jesus’s command, how do we apply that in our lives and obey, especially in these difficult times as we see wars, human suffering, disasters and despair all over the world.
I made three simple observations about this passage:
1.The team Jesus assembled.
These men were fishermen by trade. They were hardworking, industrious, toiling every day at great peril and often catching little after a hard day’s work. Then there is preparing the nets for the next day and the next. They were simple common people. Not educated folks or those with social standing, certainly not the most religious or most moral. Jesus chose them not because they were qualified or felt qualified. Jesus picked the “better” men. “Better” because they had passion, true conviction and devotion to Him, even though they had many flaws. The people Jesus uses are those who are willing, humble, intentional and prepared to be molded, to accomplish great things for Jesus’ glory.
2.The call that Jesus made.
It was personal, simple and unconditional. “Follow me”. In essence, the Christian life is the Christ life. “Follow me” means knowing Christ, loving Christ, worshipping Christ, obeying and serving Christ. It is an unconditional call, in its simplicity and directness. No need for any previous experience or curriculum vitae. Jesus does not give any job description. He does not give any indication of a track for promotion or what the future holds. But Jesus did say, “… and I will make you become fishers of men”. There’s the certainty and promise of “I will make”. We are called to that end, to fish for men. It takes effort and intentionality. We can start with our circle of friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and contacts. We start simply by telling our story of how Jesus has changed our lives.
3.The response that Jesus received.
Notice the response of these four fishermen in verses 18-19: “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him… they left their father Zebedee… and went away to follow Him.” Their response was immediate. No hesitation, no further consideration. They left their nets. They left their father. They dropped everything of a previous nature to answer this call, to follow Jesus.
This is Jesus calling all of us to follow Him. This is the Messiah who calls, who saves, who redeems and who leads. We have just last week remembered how Jesus had sacrificed his own life to save us from our sins and eternal damnation. And we celebrated His resurrection as our Living Saviour and Lord! Let us be faithful and go. Jesus will empower us when we obey His call.
By brother Andrew Yap