“Come With Me And I Will Make You Fishers Of Men”
January 14, 2013
Jesus accepts his mission at his baptism. He now moves to associate others with his mission, and calls two sets of brothers – Andrew and Peter, James and John – fishermen by trade by the lakeside in Galilee. These are very first men he chose.
There are different traditions in the story. Luke describes a miraculous catch of fish which precedes the vocation of the first disciples; John has a different venue altogether. But Mark and Matthew place it by the lakeside, where the call comes to Peter and Andrew and the others, while they sit at their boats, repairing their nets. The call is simple and direct: “Come, with me,” says Jesus, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
And the four disciples do so. They drop their nets, follow Jesus. Immediately.
Was it all as quick and categorical as this Gospel passage has it? Did the disciples go home to say goodbye to their families? What about their wives and children, who would take care of them? And their fishing business? Were there arguments at home about checking out “who this Jesus fella is”, worries about the future, what kind of work they would be doing? What was this “fishers of men” bit they were called to do? Did the disciples take some pocket money along, saying to themselves “you never know when you may need some”, or settle their property before they quit?
We don’t know a thing.
Later on the Gospels will tell us about the demands Jesus makes upon those who will follow him, but nothing is said as yet. Come to think of it, what is not said is fascinating and frightening too.
The following of Christ is not a protracted negotiation, it is transformation of the heart. It is based on a complete trust, which demands a surge of generosity from the one called, along with the conviction that God never lets you down.
Later on the disciples might fight among themselves, might wonder at this rabbi Jesus and all he does and says, might hide in sheer fright after he is picked up and put to death…but right now at the moment of their calling, they did not doubt not a bit. They knew in whom they had placed their trust, and to whom they had committed their lives.
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