A Simple Call
“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18
The Sea of Galilee was a huge source of commerce in Jesus’ day. Fish was a staple of the diet of the Greco-Roman world. There were 16 different ports that surrounded the great lake, which is actually smaller than some of our lakes in Missouri. In fact, several of the familiar cities had names that were references to this thriving industry. Bethsaida literally meant “house of the fisher” and Magdala, the city of Mary Magdalene, meant “fish tower.” So when Jesus comes upon these four fishermen, these aren’t exactly four guys who are down on their luck with nothing better to do. Andrew and Peter, James and John, were part of a growing commercial enterprise as fishermen. Life was pretty good for these four men because they were getting paid to fish.
Mark’s account is much simpler, as his wont, than Luke’s description of the call of these first disciples. There is no great catch of fish. There is no protesting by Peter about how unfit he is. Mark’s focus is on the call and the service. In this account, Jesus simply says, “Follow me.” There is no time for a transition period or handing the business over to the other partners. No provisions of any kind are made. Mark simply notes, Jesus said, “Follow me.” It all comes down to the call and the call of Christ is a merciful and gracious choosing. Jesus doesn’t choose Andrew and Peter, James and John because of the sort of men that they are. He chooses them because of the sort of God that He is – One who gracious and compassionate.
But that’s the way God has always operated. There was nothing particular noteworthy about Abram, whom God chose to make into a great nation. Moses wasn’t a gifted speaker and had anger management issues. Jeremiah and Samuel were both young. Paul had been a persecutor of Christ’s church. Mark doesn’t deal any potential reservations of those whom Christ calls. He simply places the focus on Christ’s gracious call. Our Lord still calls through His Word in its various forms. In His mercy and grace, He has chosen you for His purposes. Like those first disciples, confidence comes not from, the abilities of those called, but in the One who does the calling, Jesus.
Prayer - Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan