October 19, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 4:18-20 NIV
18 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. 19 “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed Him.
Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon Sharon and I attended The Great Commission conference at Horizon Indy October 16-17 this past weekend. Since the above concerns two fishermen, here is a link to a fisherman (truly) teaching and preaching on these verses and evangelism. His was the second speaker Saturday morning with detailed steps from a man who loves (LOVES) fishing.
I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, but I wondered what would convince Simon Peter (and his brother Andrew) to leave his livelihood, wife, three children, mother-in-law, and a house and boat he owned to follow Jesus? At one point they returned to Simon Peter’s house and Jesus healed his mother-in-law. At the end of his life Peter was crucified by Nero in Rome while his wife on the same day was thrown to the wild beasts in the arena in Rome.
I have wandered away from my wondering what would convince Simon Peter to leave everything and follow Jesus. But thought it important to show Jesus knew Simon’s family. Still, I grew up around men and their families where the men were ‘hard men.’ They were carpenters, farmers, bricklayers, electricians, mechanics, etc. They knew hard work and were protective of their families. Often times they were very cynical, having seen hucksters take advantage of one or another of them or of their family. They would share the stories or what I later came to think of as life lessons. They worked hard, some drank hard, loved deeply, and while they really appreciated life and all of its blessings, they also knew how quickly it could all go away as well.
I thought of Simon and his brother Andrew as two such men. I could not imagine such men just walking away from their family or families. Still cannot. But all was not as it seemed from these three verses in Matthew. Turns out Andrew was first a follower of John the Baptist and was one of the two who heard him exclaim, Look, the Lamb of God! Later Andrew found his brother and brought him to meet the Messiah. Obviously, Andrew and Simon must have had many a conversation about John the Baptist and his prophecies about the coming Messiah.
Now their willingness to change their lives and follow Jesus makes much more sense to these old eyes. You see, I knew a number of these hard men I grew up around who were not ‘good’ men. They were both gruff and mean. Then I saw some of them come to know Jesus and I observed a miracle as they would become changed men. They would no longer be gruff and mean. They would still be hard men, aware of all the problems of life, but there was now a kindness and caring about them that was not there before. Some became regular church goers, most became irregular church goers, but all joined the greater community of believers who not only looked out for one another but looked for ways to help each other when help was needed. Usually before it was asked for. They like Simon Peter and Andrew became followers of Christ. While they would still on occasion cuss a blue streak, they were careful not to take the Lord’s name in vain.
There were more gatherings of family and friends. There was still drinking, but little to excess. This was not true for every man or every family. But the impact on those it was true for impacted even the families where the men did not yet know Jesus. It overall simply became better and a sweetness to life returned. Don’t misunderstand me, it was not all roses, but it was all noticeably different.
Prayer. Heavenly Father – I pray more and more families would receive the blessings of the parents coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And as a result their children and families around them might come to know Jesus as well. Amen.