#13 - What the Gospels Teach – The First Call – Matthew 4:18-20

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He *said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-20 NASB)

 The argument could be made that the above passage is Jesus’ first miracle, traditionally we do not think of Jesus calling His disciples as a miracle, but a deeper look may prove otherwise.  First recall from the previous post what Jesus was doing before He called these disciples.  He was preaching everywhere that men should repent.  Now the idea of following a man with a message of repentance is disheartening to anyone, why, because you would be following a man with a message that nobody wants to hear.  If he had called His disciples after His big miracles you could see why they would want to follow, but that is not the case here.  So why would they follow?  Clearly there is something miraculous about the call of Christ.  Though I do not believe grace to be irresistible, I would contend that this scripture does bolster that position.  There is something about the authoritative ‘follow me’ that caused the disciples to immediately drop their nets and follow.

 In the Hebrew culture those who would become rabbis would follow a rabbi and learn from them for a number of years, and it was a great honor to your family and such if you followed a rabbi, especially a rabbi of high status.  Moreover, as a rabbi your own status was in some way tied to the success and competence of your protégés.  Now these men were fishermen, but they indeed were Hebrews, but the reality is that they likely never had any intent of following a rabbi as their careers were already set.  Yet when approached by Christ with the offer to follow, the offer was irresistible.  Here is what is so fascinating about it, Jesus picked fishermen.  Of course we have all learned that Jesus picks the little guy, and lifts up the humble, and uses the foolish to confound the wise... and so on, but this is different.  First, the call to ask them to follow was a very ‘rabbinical’ call and Jesus essentially is inviting them into the rabbi student relationship.  Notice what we said earlier about how the status and honor of a rabbi is tied in some way to the success and aptitude of their protégés.  Christ is picking these common men, why not the rich young ruler?  Or why not one of the scribes or Pharisees?  The name of Christ was on the line, and He is going to call a couple fishermen, moreover He calls you (if indeed you are a believer), it is absolutely astounding that He would invest His own glory in us as followers, or in these fishermen.

Immediately they followed, and throughout the three years of His public ministry you see these men under His wing, learning His ways, and eventually after His death, resurrection, and ascension you see these very fishermen from Galilee turning the entire world upside down.

I think the calling of the first disciples may very well be the first miracle of Christ.

 (That post may have been a touch boring, but hopefully worth your time.)

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