As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am attempting to study the first book of the New Testament of the Bible, which is called “Matthew”. I am employing the use of the Inductive Study Method to do so. I hope that it encourages a deeper study of the Bible, and my hope is that you are informed and motivated to do further research and learning. I am a lay person. I have no formal training. I just have a love for His Word, and I love Him so much.
In this portion of Matthew chapter four, we read that Jesus calls four specific men to follow Him. The first of Christ’s disciples is a man by the name of Andrew (John 1:33-42). He returned to his fishing until his call with his brother, Simon called Peter. He, along with his brother, became one of the 12 apostles. Tradition says that he was of the tribe of Reuben, that he evangelized Scythia (becoming Russia’s patron saint), and that he was stoned and crucified in Greece or Scythia.
Here Andrew and Simon Peter were working to catch fish for the day. Fishing the way they had to do it was manually intensive. They had to work really hard and then sell most of the fish to earn their wages for their households. And catching fish was not a steady thing. Some days there was plenty, and some days there was scarcely any fish to be caught. It was unpredictable, but it was what they were raised doing. It was comfortable. That was until Jesus walked up to them and said, “Follow Me.” To follow is an idiom of discipleship. When He said that he would make them fishers of men, He was using what they knew to compare it to soul-winning. He used who they were to further the kingdom of heaven. There was no complete 180 degrees with them. Jesus used them as they were, and He taught them and directed them in a new venture. Like fishing, soul-winning is unpredictable. It is hard work, but the pay off is worth more than all the fish of the sea.
What I find very intriguing is that Andrew and Simon Peter, as well as James and John, immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. Leaving all is required of all men. It is an idiom of putting God first in life. In Luke 14:33, it says, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” And I know this to mean that I don’t just run away from everything including my responsibilities, but that I put God first, Jesus’ teachings first, faith in Him first, and look to Him for guidance as opposed to everyone else.
With Jacob and John, it is noted that they were the sons of Zebedee. Again, they were fishers as well that were working on the sea of Galilee, but they with their father. Zebedee was a fisherman in comfortable circumstances, meaning business was good. He was working on the west shore of the sea of Galilee. He readily spared his two sons at the called of the savior. His wife, Salome, ministered to Christ of her substance in attending to him (Mark 15:40-41). His son John is the same John that Jesus charged with caring for His mother when Jesus was on the cross. He was dear to Jesus. These two immediately left their boat as well as their father when Jesus called them.
I can imagine being there on the sea shore seeing them jump out of the boats to go to Jesus. His shear influence and magnetism must have been great on Him to just leave everything and follow Him, not really know who He is. Absolutely amazing! Oh to have been there!
So what I have learned from this portion of scripture is that in order to be a true follower of Christ, I must put Him first. God first in all things. If I look to others for the things that only God can provide, I will end up going the wrong way in life. Even at the cost of being laughed at, scolded, or shunned, following Christ is first and foremost the most important thing I can do. And to follow Him in faith immediately. There is no need to balk at His directions. He leads in what is good and perfect. Jesus points to the Father in everything.
Gotta go fill up my cup…