“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is 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 fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
The common theme in these two stories, Jesus’s first disciples and ministering to crowds, is following. When Jesus says to Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him, they do. They don’t ask questions, they don’t have conditions, they just drop everything, their whole lives, and follow Jesus. In a similar way the crowds follow Jesus all around Galilee. They stop their every day lives, the safety of home and guaranteed food, in order to be closer to the Messiah.
The question is, do I follow Jesus that way? Unquestioning, unconditionally, and unreservedly? Do I follow Him immediately, or do I ask to finish something first? Would I be willing to give up all my possessions, my home, my job to follow him?
If course, it’s different with Jesus not physically here. Following Him is less of a simple concept now. It’s harder to see if you’re doing it “right.” So these days we need to listen very closely.
Notice, also, who Jesus called to be His disciples. Not the Pharisees, but fishermen, the lowliest of men. I says, “I will make you fishers of men.” In some ways their lives didn’t change much. They couldn’t depend on a meal, they would have few (if any) possessions. And they would spend their days looking. But I think it was also a very calculated move on Jesus’s part. He chose the men who would make a lot of mistakes, whose faith isn’t naturally the strongest, the men who needed Him most. And in doing so He said, “See, the Kingdom of God is for everyone, the lowly, the poor, the stupid, the cowardly. I come for the sinners, not for the saints.”