16 As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 18 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 19 After going a little farther, he saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons, in their boat repairing the fishing nets. 20 At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers.
21 Jesus and his followers went into Capernaum. Immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and started teaching. 22 The people were amazed by his teaching, for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts.
Have you ever wondered about the decision-making process that the disciples took to follow Jesus? According to scripture, Jesus said, “Come,” and they followed. I have been taught my entire life that they just went, no questions asked.
But is that really what happened? Had they been around Jesus enough to know that he was someone/something different? Did they follow what John the Baptist had been teaching about Jesus? Were they ready for something new to happen politically and felt Jesus was the guy to get behind? We aren’t told any of these details. Are they important? I guess it depends on what you want to focus on.
Now, we can say that because Jesus is God, he knew which men and women would follow him because God is all knowing, but then you can get caught up in the argument that Jesus only asked those he knew would follow. We don’t know that either, we just have the information at hand. We do know that Jesus asked the rich young man to sell everything, and the rich young man said no (see Luke 18), so who knows? Jesus may have asked others but the guys who became his twelve disciples are the people who we know said yes.
I still have more questions I could ask – like how did they know what “fishers of men” meant? Did they have questions about food, shelter, etc.? When James and John left their father, didn’t he have questions about who was going to help him in his business besides the hired men that they left with their father? I cannot think of a single person who I know who has just picked up and moved or even traveled without making a plan of some sort. I am sure there are people who are in desperate situations who just need to get out of where they are and have no time to plan, they just leave when they can. Another scenario I can think of is when someone helps a stranger in distress when they just happen to come upon a scene, etc. Sometimes there is no thinking, just doing to help someone who may be in danger.
My daughter and son-in-law were asked about 6 ½ years ago to foster my son- in-law’s cousin’s daughter who was about 10 months old. They had been married for a year and Jacob was still attending school to become a physician’s assistant. Alyssa was working as a preschool teacher. They did not have much time to decide. I know they prayed about it and decided they would care for her, even though that meant many changes in their lives, including moving from their one-bedroom apartment that Jacob had totally redone and fitting in time to take all of the classes to become foster parents. The process was difficult at times, but they would not have changed their decision. Layla is now their oldest daughter and our oldest granddaughter as she was adopted in 2019, and she is a joy! As we look back at some of the things that happened in their lives, it feels as if the previous disappointments for jobs not gotten and time changes for other important activities in their lives were set up for that very moment when they were called to do something amazing. Maybe that was the case for the disciples when Jesus called them.
The whole point to all of this is faith and trust. We need to look to the Lord and trust that we will get the direction we need to move forward in the way we should. Sometimes it is an instantaneous calling and other times it is a process over time.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
When in your life have you been given a surprise opportunity? Were you hesitant? Did you end up saying yes or no – because sometimes no can be the right answer, but we need to always be open to the possibility of yes!
Prayer: God of possibilities, help us to be open to your calling, even if it seems out of our comfort zone. Help us to look to you to lead us where you want us to go in all aspects of our lives. Amen.