|"The calling of the fishermen" - Alexandre Bida|
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 1:29-51
TO CHEW ON: "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Because I said to you, "I saw you under the fig tree," do you believe? You will see greater things than these.' " John 1:50
I have always been fascinated by the gospel accounts of Jesus calling His disciples, which are all slightly different. Some things that jump out at me from John's telling:
Two of Jesus' eventual disciples were first disciples of John the Baptist, so obviously spiritual seekers. One was Andrew (John 1:40) and "the other was probably John, the author of the gospel" - Siegfried Schatzmann, study notes on John, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1445.
Two came to Jesus on the invitation of someone else. Andrew brought his brother Simon (John 1:41-42) and Philip recommended Jesus to his friend Nathanael (John 1:45).
Jesus "softened up" several of these disciples with supernatural signs. To Nathanael He said, " 'Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.' " Whatever happened under that fig tree must have been significant, for Nathanael's reply shows an attitude swing from skepticism to worship (John 1:49).
If we read the other accounts of Jesus calling the disciples we see that this wasn't His only interaction with James, John, Peter, and Andrew. In fact, His invitation to " 'Follow Me' " (Matthew 4:19) may well have come some time after this John 1 introduction.
I can imagine it—John and Andrew spend the day with Jesus (John 1:39) after which Andrew introduces his brother Peter to Him (John 1:41,42). But they they go back fishing (Matthew 4:18-20).
Luke's account adds even more detail in its description of that last fishing trip before the big decision. A long night of unsuccessful work is followed by Jesus coming by, telling them to fish on the other side. They do and pull in an unthinkably big catch. It is that miracle that is the catalyst in their big decision to forsake all and follow Jesus—something that has probably been percolating in their hearts and minds for a while (Luke 5:1-11).
As we look at our own lives, and the lives of loved ones who have yet to answer Jesus' "Follow Me," we may see similarities to how Jesus drew the disciples to Himself.
- An interest in spiritual things and a thirst for spiritual reality means that something is going on inside the heart.
- God typically softens us up with little supernatural glimpses of Himself—unexplained "coincidences," words of knowledge (such as Nathanael got here), or even outright miracles like the disciples' amazing catch of fish.
- The recommendation of Jesus from others is also a big factor in people coming to Him themselves.
As we reflect on our desire for those we love to come to Him, let's realize that He may already be at work, sharpening spiritual interest and breaking down barriers and objections with glimpses of His reality and goodness. Let's be on the alert for when they're ready for that personal introduction.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I love how tailored to each individual Your invitation to discipleship is. Help me to have faith You are working behind the scenes in the lives of loved ones who have not yet come to You. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.