Study from God’s Word… Matt 4: 12-17 & Luke 4: 14-15 [Mark 1: 14-15]; Luke 4: 16-30; Luke 5: 1-10; Matt 4: 18-20 & Luke 5: 10-11 [Mark 1: 16-20]; Mark 1: 21-22 [Luke 4: 31-32]; Mark 1: 23-28; Mark 1: 29-31 [Matt 8: 16-17]; Mark 1: 35-38 [Luke 4: 42-43]; Matt 4: 21-25 [Mark 1: 39 & Luke 4: 44]; Mark 1: 40-45 [Matt 8: 1-4]; Mark 2: 1-5 [Matt 9: 1-2 & Luke 5: 17-20]; Mark 2: 6-12 [Matt 9: 3-8 & Luke 5: 21-26] … Passage for Reflection: Matthew 4: 21 – 22 … NIV 21Going on from there, He [Jesus] saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
My Journal for Today: Well, from my studies, led by Dr. LaGard Smith, from The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, I got a great example in the importance of biblical study in chronological order. Because when one reads today’s highlight text from Matt. 4: 21-22, a Bible student could conclude that these two fishermen, James and John, heard Jesus call to them and they promptly and impulsively turned away from family and their occupation and followed this itinerant rabbi, Jesus. But if one reads the Bible carefully and chronologically as I was led to do today, you get an entirely different picture of why these two simple fishermen were willing to leave their boats and their father and follow Jesus to become fishers of men.
Getting “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to give us in his commentaries, is important; because in doing so we realize that the father in the boat was Jesus’ uncle, the father of Jesus’ first cousins, James and John, the so-called “Sons of Thunder,” who were sons of Zebedee, the husband of Salomé, who was likely Jesus’ aunt, the sister of His mother, Mary. So, getting at least part of the rest of the story, it’s not that James and John just left their dad and their occupation to follow a rabbi whom they didn’t really know that well. No, they had grown up knowing Jesus; and had likely experienced his incredible wisdom at a young age and probably had seen him perform miracles, like the great fish catching miracle, documented in Luke 5.
So, when Jesus called these fishermen to “come and be fishers of men,” … these men who were living in and around Capernaum, where Jesus had been living for some time, intimately knew the Man Who was calling them. They were probably close buddies; and they had very likely heard Jesus preach in the synagogue near Capernaum. So, when Jesus finally called these men out to follow Him closely as His disciples, they responded out of a deep faith which had been born out of relationship and experience.
And that brings up the application for today in our lives; because Jesus has called all of us to be fishers of men. We know of this calling as the “Great Commission” (and you’ve probably memorized – if not, you should – Matt. 28: 19-20). And we probably all have people in our lives that we’d like to call out, as Jesus did to these fishermen, to come and follow Jesus. But we’ve come to realize that it takes time - God’s time - to witness to some in our lives who reject the faith we’ve come to have in Jesus.
You know, in the business or hobby of fishing, those who fish will tell you that it takes a lot of patience to keep throwing the bait or the nets out to catch fish. Many times, when we’re fishing, and we’re faithfully, and with hope, casting out our bait over and over and over again … nothing bites. But then, after maybe hours of waiting, we throw out the bait, and bang, we’re blessed to feel a fish on the line; and we reel them in.
Jesus called His disciples to be “fishers of men;” and that’s what we are; and we need patience, just like I’m convinced Jesus had with James and John as well as Andrew and Peter, all of whom had likely been in close relationship with Jesus for YEARS before God, the Holy Spirit, used Jesus to reel them in to be fishers of men for God’s kingdom catch.
So, if you’ve got someone in your family or sphere of influence to whom you’ve been witnessing for years and praying for their salvation, … keep fishing from the relationship you have with that person. Have patience and keep casting out your testimony into the waters of your relationship; and know that when God’s timing is right, you – or maybe some other fisherman – will be able to reel in God’s catch. And HE will get the glory!!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me be patient as You use me to fish for Your kingdom and for Your glory. Amen