JESUS CALLS DISCIPLES TO FOLLOW HIM FULL-TIME
FISHERMEN BECOME FISHERS OF MEN
After the people of Nazareth try to take Jesus’ life, he moves to the city of Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee, also called “the lake of Gennesaret.” (Luke 5:1) This fulfills the prophecy in the book of Isaiah that people of Galilee dwelling by the sea would see a great light.
Yes, here in Galilee, Jesus continues to announce that “the Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus finds four of his disciples. They had traveled with him earlier, but upon returning with Jesus from Judea, they resumed their fishing business. (John 1:35-42) Now, though, it is time to be with Jesus constantly so that he can train them to carry on the ministry after he is gone.
As Jesus walks along the seashore, he sees Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, and some of their companions tending to their nets. Jesus goes over, climbs into Peter’s boat, and asks him to pull away from land. When they get out a little distance, Jesus sits down and begins teaching the crowds who had gathered on the shore truths about the Kingdom.
Afterward, Jesus says to Peter: “Pull out to where it is deep, and let down your nets for a catch.” Peter responds: “Instructor, we toiled all night and caught nothing, but at your word I will lower the nets.”
They lower the nets and catch such a great number of fish that the nets begin to rip! Urgently, the men motion to their partners in a boat nearby to come and help. Soon both boats are filled with so many fish that the heavily laden vessels begin to sink. Seeing this, Peter falls down before Jesus and says: “Depart from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man.” Jesus responds: “Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching men alive.”
Jesus tells Peter and Andrew: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) He includes two other fishermen, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They too respond without hesitation. So these four abandon their fishing business and become the first full-time disciples of Jesus.
Doubt can be a powerful, destructive force. But Peter overcame his fear and doubts about following Jesus.