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November 15, 2017
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November 28, 2017

Pathways: Following Jesus

The persons Jesus called to become His disciples and follow Him during His ministry are interesting. One might think He would have called the educated, noble, and well-to-do. While Matthew may have fit into that category, Simon and Andrew certainly did not.

Fishing for a living was a common trade during the time of Jesus. It hardly took a big investment because the fishermen did not have large boats. While the wood to make them would not have been as readily available as one would think of today, the crudely made boats were nonetheless seaworthy for their purpose.

The lives of Simon and Andrew were difficult ones, involving a lot of hard work. The primary fishing technique of Jesus’ day involved netting. Fishermen watched for schools of fish and would simply throw a net over them. It was very unsophisticated, but it was often highly effective. Each day’s catch then had to be sold or dried, since they did not have any other means of preserving the fish. Afterward the nets had to be cleaned, hung up, and dried. They were not made of nylon, like nets today, but were made of what we would call sea grass.

But Jesus saw something different in Simon and Andrew. He wanted these simple men to follow Him and told them He would make them fishers of men. Now that we are on this side of the cross, it is obvious what Jesus was asking of these men. They were not going to be trappers of men, but they would seek the salvation of men. It is interesting to note that whenever Andrew is mentioned, aside from his initial call, he is bringing someone to Christ. Jesus’ goal was to teach His disciples how to bring men to Him. They immediately left their fishing and followed Christ. The next day they were ready to move to other towns to preach the gospel with Jesus.

There are some practical things to draw from these passages.

  1. Jesus can use simple men. History proves that. Among the most humble of men was D. L. Moody, who was a shoe salesman, but who led untold multitudes to Christ. It does not matter in many instances what one’s ability is; availability is the key issue.
  2. A decisive response is necessary. These men did not delay trying to decide what to do. They dropped their nets and followed Him. While persons who follow Jesus may ponder on the decision and decide in time, ultimately an exacting decision is required.
  3. Fishing for men is the most important job a person can have. Later, as Jesus was getting ready to leave His disciples, He gave them the Great Commission. He said, “Go ye therefore.” An exact translation of the Greek would read, “As you are going.” We are called to make disciples, to be fishers of men, as we are going through the days of our lives — on our jobs, in pleasure activities, among friends and associates.

Jesus called men, real men, and humble men. And He does the same today.

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