Matthew 4:19, “Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.'”
The first four disciples of Jesus were two sets of brothers who were fishermen. Jesus had met them when He was teaching by the Sea of Galilee. Today’s passage comes from the time Jesus called the first set of brothers; Peter and Andrew. Next, Jesus walked further down the seaside and called the other set of brothers; James and John. After both sets of brothers heard Jesus’ call to be fishers of men, they immediately left their nets and boats and then followed Jesus.
When Jesus called four fishermen to be His first disciples, He made a direct comparison to their fishing occupation to what He was going to do with them in the ministry. They were going to work hard at catching the lost and bringing them into God’s Kingdom, just like they used to work hard to catch fish.
Both sets of brothers were trained from small children by their fathers to be successful fisherman. They were mentored by their fathers to be able to read the weather patterns, safely navigate a boat, find where the fish were at, cast a net properly, clean fish and bring them to the market to make money. They were experts at what they did because they received instruction that probably had been passed down for many generations. Jesus understood this same principle of mentorship because he was taught by His earthly father Joseph to be a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).
When Jesus picked His first disciples, He didn’t pick Jewish scholars because He didn’t want to spend time arguing with them. His time was short upon the earth and He chose those He knew would be ready to learn new things about God and not be afraid to take risks. Jesus wanted His first disciples to be untrained in religion, but men familiar with mentorship and hard work.
Jesus didn’t give these brothers sugary words or bribe them with promises of an easy life; rather He inspired them to work hard to change the world one person at a time. Now before we jump to a naïve conclusion and say we’d be just like these two sets of brothers who were willing to leave everything for Jesus, ask yourself, “What would I do if a teacher asked me to leave my family business and follow him?” Or imagine what most “Christians” would say if their pastor told them this Sunday, “Everything I teach you here today, I expect you to go out and teach others because I will be following you everywhere you go.” I believe many “Christians” would say, “But I’m not ‘called’ to do that, that’s the pastor’s job!” Yet, according to Jesus, He never intended one Christian not to be a disciple that makes new disciples. Vance Havner said, “A true disciple is a soul-winner.”
To call yourself a Christian and deny your call to fish for men is to reveal you joined something other than biblical Christianity. You might have joined a religion but you didn’t join yourself to a real relationship with Jesus because He is always looking for the one lost sheep (Luke 15:7). Those who make excuses and say they love Jesus but aren’t ready to fish for men have either lost their first love or have never known Jesus.
Jesus never calls someone to salvation without at the same time calling them to save souls.
Sadly, most churches today have forgotten the lesson Jesus taught His first disciples, which is, “Forsake everything to teach others, what Jesus teaches you.” In summary, the two steps to becoming a disciple of Jesus is to first forsake all to follow Jesus; and second teach others what Jesus teaches you.
- Honestly consider what you would do if Jesus showed up at your job and asked you to leave it and follow Him.
- Pray that God will use you to teach others everything Jesus teaches you.
- Consider three people you can fish for this week!