by Richard L. Burguet •
Just so you realize, that as we read Mark 1 and see Simon, Andrew, James and John respond to Jesus’ call to “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” – this was not the very first time they had met Jesus. From John’s gospel (John 1:35-41) these men had been invited to come and see where Jesus lived and become His spiritual followers about a year earlier. Here in Mark’s account of their calling, their obedience is deepened and they are called to become the Lord’s more steady companions. As they responded to Jesus calling they were made aware of the fact that they were being trained for something more. The calling is to become a fisher of men, and was for them a call to apostleship.
Simon the fickle must become Peter the rock, and the same sort of transformation was to take place in all these men. As we repeatedly meet these men in the gospel accounts, we see them growing as disciples, but it seems at times ever so slowly. They lack deep spiritual understanding in so many ways (Mk 4:10, 13; 8:4, 16-21, 32, 33; 9:10-13; 10:10, 24-27). At times they lack a depth of sympathy (6:35-36; 10:13-14). Sometimes they evidence a weak commitment to prayer, (9:28-29); and not too much humility, (9:33-34). Neither did they always reflect unflinching courage (14:50, 66-72) or forgiving spirits (10:41). They were, as we, sinners whom Christ called to become His disciples. In spite of their character and spiritual flaws, they however, for their part, showed great courage and obedience in becoming Christ’s disciples. Certainly they knew that they would face opposition from many, not the least of which would be from the religious leaders of their day.
Their decision to become followers of Jesus actually shows His greatness. The force of Jesus’ calling and his influence over the minds and hearts of men like these, moves them to drop everything and follow immediately. Their obedience and instant action to His call ought to be an example that compels us to do the same. And consider this: is it not amazing and marvelous that Jesus was willing and able to take such common men, four fishermen (and the rest, too), unschooled men, and in spite of all their prejudices and superstitions, transform them into the men that God would use to turn the world upside down? These four became the leaders who, by means of their testimony, would herald salvation for many, for generation after generation.
As these fellows left their comfort zone in life to follow Jesus, it was not a rash decision or action. They were not unkind to their families, or shortsighted in some way leaving Zebedee and his employees high and dry. They simply rendered obedience to the sovereign Lord and left their “buts” and “what-abouts” to Him. Jesus has the solutions. I am awed by their obedience. I am overwhelmed by the recognition that these are the sorts of people that God chooses to serve Him. I am brought to worship by the very realization that Christ’s call to them was an exercise of His sovereignty. I am encouraged by the fact that Jesus promised them that He would make them become fishers of men, and Jesus certainly did keep that promise. Jesus is still the same today.