As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, throwing a dragnet into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, Come ]after Me, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men! At once they left their nets and became His disciples. And going on further from there He noticed two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets and putting them right; and He called them. At once they left the boat and their father and joined Jesus as disciples.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed and made appointment with them. And when they saw Him, they fell down and worshiped Him; but some doubted. Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them,
All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days, to the close and consummation of the age. Amen.
Having journeyed for a fortnight into these passages with the context of discipleship, a lot of the verses become overlapping in meaning and intent. From the first passage, the stand out verse is the command/statement that Jesus gives them to “make you fishers of men”. From the second passage, the stand out verse is the final part where Jesus encourages the disciples, having just issued out the Great Commission, that He is with us all of the days, to the very end.
Retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience).
Jesus was walking through the local Galilee area, by the shore of the lake where the local industry and means of making a living was fishing. Approach two of the local fishermen, who happened to be brothers, he invited them to join him in making disciples. His request was put simply: Come, follow me, and as a result of what I do and teach, you too will make fishers of men. Jesus himself was demonstrating first-hand what it meant to by a fisher of men. Such was his authority and influence that both men left their work and became disciples. The first act and teaching opportunity shortly presented itself when Jesus noticed a family – a man Zebedee, with his two sons James and John, who were mending their nets. Demonstrating again the ability of fishing for men, Jesus called to the brothers and they too obeyed and became his disciples.
Jesus instructed the disciples (11 of them) to journey to a particular mountain location in Galilee. Here, they all met up, and when they saw Jesus, they knelt down in worship to Him. However, some were doubtful and resisted. Nevertheless, or in spite of this, Jesus still issued out the Great Commandment for the Great Commission: Empowered with the authority of God, the disciples were to go forth and continue making disciples just as Jesus had done with them. They were to visit all the world and bring and teach His message of hope, ensuing that these new followers would become confident enough to declare their faith publicly, and further empowering the next generation of believers with power from on high – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Finally, Jesus left them with words of encouragement that He would remain a presence actively working in and through the believers, right up until the end of the age.
What I Discovered
Insights revealed by this passage include:
- Jesus could only say to these first disciples of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John that they would become “fishers of men” because He was first demonstrating and living out that very act of fishing for men.
- The obedience of these first four disciples was immediate, without question, and the commitment was total – they stopped the work they were doing at the time. However, I do believe that the four did not give up their trade or profession as fishermen, but instead used their talents to ensure all of them would have a constant lady access to fish/food as they travelled.
- Jesus’ structure in delivering the Great Commandment and Great Commission begins with acknowledging God as the source and authority from whom all power is derived.
- Jesus was clear that His presence would go with the disciples and be part of the growing body of believers.
- Discipleship has clear outcomes – new believers would be similarly empowered so that they themselves could publicly declare their faith (baptism).
- The disciples had an understanding of the triune God as represented in Jesus words – The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I will be obedient to the calling of Jesus, to follow Him, and give of my skills and talents to the work of the Kingdom of God. As His disciple, I will submit to His authority, and be a fisher of men, pointing all others to the example of Jesus. I will work and sow into my life group members so that they are similarly empowered and are all baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.