Monday, January 21, 2008

Take a risk, go fishing: Matthew 4:12-23

Each of the 4 Gospels tells unique stories about the first people to follow Jesus.

Matthew says the first two, Peter and Andrew, were out on Lake Galilee fishing with nets in the water when Jesus called to them with his invitation,

Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people! 20 And they left their nets at once and went with him. Matthew 4:19-20 (NLT)
A little later walking along the shore Jesus saw two other brothers, James and John, mending their nets and he invited them to come along too.

Matthew tells of no prior relationship between Jesus and these men. John 1:35-42 tells us that Andrew had been one of John the Baptist's disciples and that he'd heard the baptist announce Jesus as the Lamb of God, but Matthew doesn't give any such information.

In Matthew the invitation comes as a surprise. There's risk in accepting Jesus' surprise invitation to go fish for people. Listening to the story and hearing this invitation to leave it all seems risky; but who better could Jesus have found than fisherman to understand risk. Risk for the fishermen is just a part of daily activity. Fisherman go out to sea with everything they need to make their livelihood at risk.
  • The boat is always at risk if the weather turns.
  • The nets, traps, and lines are always in danger too.
    • If a nets dropped and a line breaks pulling it in its gone with its catch.
    • When a buoy breaks way from a trap its lost to the deep.
    • When hooks break from the line a fish (and all the effort to land it is lost).
  • Fishermen live with the risk personal danger everyday out on the water. Even recreational fishermen have stories about wading in to deep or nearly falling overboard to tell.
These very first disciples to follow Jesus knew risk everyday. His invitation to fish for people is real for us too; it doesn't matter whether we are risk averse or whether we thrive living on the edge. His invitation is to leave the old behind and come with him and fish for people.

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