My pastor is currently preaching through the ministry of Christ in anticipation of the Lenten season. Today he focused on a small and oft-studied passage, the call of the first disciples in Matthew 4:18-22. Though the first two chapters of the Gospel of John reveal that Jesus had likely already met Peter, Andrew, James and John, it is here that their role in relation to Him is explicitly defined.
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.Going on from there, He 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, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. (NKJV)
Two things about this passage struck me afresh today.
First, Jesus didn’t call the creme de la creme. He didn’t go out and look for the prettiest, the best, the brightest. He searched out ordinary people. Second, these ordinary people immediately set aside what they were doing and followed Him. There was no dragging of feet and certainly no excuses.
At the end of the sermon, my pastor noted that the call is the same today as it was then. Jesus invited twelve Average Joe’s to go along with Him on the adventure of a lifetime. He took what they were good at – fishing – and translated it into a work that would ultimately glorify Him and point others toward salvation. So, today, Jesus invites each of us to do the same.
What amazes me about this is both the gracious condescension of the Lord and His creativity. Jesus did not have to have anyone come along on His ministry. He could well have done it all alone. Yet He choose to allow human beings to play a part. He sees value and ability within His children beyond that which we see for ourselves. He draws out the qualities that we assume are worth nothing and uses them for something special.
I am thinking about this today in relation to being ill. It’s quite discouraging to be shut up at home so often, having to say “no” to fun activities and events. Today I wonder if He wants to use that. Surely there are others, far sicker than I, who struggle to climb out of dark holes. There must be a way for me to minister to them, out of my own frustrations. After all, it is the holes caused by our weakness and wounding which allow His light to shine through.
We’ve got to keep our eyes open, I think. God might be willing and wanting to use us in a way we have never imagined.