Thursday, April 29, 2010

Matthew 4:18-22 - "And walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers..."

I know we like to rag on the disciples because of their foibles and follies, the way they struggle with pride and unbelief every step in their journey with Jesus. But you have to admit it is pretty impressive how the two pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew and James and John, drop everything and follow Jesus when they are first called. There is no bargaining and no delay. Peter and Andrew leave their nets in the water where they had cast them. James and John not only leave their boat and their nets but their father too, and follow after Jesus.

It is interesting to me that Jesus would call pairs of brothers at the same time. Later on three of the four, Peter, James and John, would grow intimate enough with Jesus to become his inner circle. I myself came to Christ in 1986 and my younger brother also became a Christian in 1987, about a year and a half later. There is something special about having a sibling who heeded the call to follow Jesus around the same time as you. Your spiritual growth follows a similar pattern and you can spur each other on in the faith. When parents get down on you for being too committed to Jesus, you can stand together. I sometimes wonder if James and John endured criticism and scorn from their father for leaving him in the lurch with a boat full of unmended nets to go after some crazy guy claiming to be the Messiah.

Jesus calls men who understood the art of fishing so that he could turn them into "fishers of men." A fisherman casts his net into the sea then draws it back to see what it brings in. Likewise these disciples would learn how to cast out the gospel message into the world and see who it brings into the kingdom. Casting out the gospel message is an act of faith. Jesus said in John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." God himself has to draw people into the "net" of the gospel; the fisherman plays no part in that except to keep on faithfully casting out.

You can tamper with that net all you want--make it more deluxe, more attractive, more friendly looking--it's still God who draws the fish in. Actually you're better off if you don't tamper with the net at all, because otherwise you'll be in danger of taking the glory for yourself if you succeed. Better to leave it looking all ratty and plain, then when you pull in a catch you'll have no choice but to give all the glory to God.

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