As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
As we reflect upon Jesus calling Andrew into a life of discipleship, we are invited to pause and consider how we might respond should we find ourselves in Andrew’s position. Andrew, and his brother Simon Peter, were fishermen. They would have played an important part in maintaining the family business. There would have been an expectation that, in their time, they would have kept the business in such good order that it would be ready for the next generation to take it on. But then Jesus came into their lives.
It was probably a perfectly normal working day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee … saw the two brothers … casting a net into the lake … and said: Follow me, for I will make you fish for people. That day had probably been exactly the same as any other day, except that this was the day when they were called away from their fishing boat and into a life of discipleship.
What would we have said, I wonder? Would we have responded with a similar degree of immediacy, or would we have hesitated? Would we have listened to Jesus’ call, or would we have sent him away with rough words?
Our response to Jesus’ call in our lives should, of course, be a matter of concern and consideration for every one of us. Jesus is constantly calling us into discipleship, only to find us prioritising those mundane matters which dominate our daily lives. Jesus is constantly calling us, and our response is to flick through our diaries and see when we can fit him in for an exploratory meeting … just to check the small print and the feasibility of what he is offering!
Jesus is calling all of us into a life of discipleship, but that need not involve the abandonment of livelihood, family, friends and all the other things we value in our lives. To follow Jesus’ call will involve change, but that will, more often than not, be change in attitude. Jesus’ call will mean our being less angry and aggressive, less impatient and irritable, less selfish and considerably more generous. Jesus’ call will involve putting others before ourselves, loving instead of hating, embracing rather than shunning. The change others will see, should we accept the challenge of following Jesus’ call, will be significant and tangible … and it will encourage others to accept that call as well.
The question for us today is centred around our willingness to lead in matters of faith, rather than seek the approval of those amongst whom we live. Jesus calls us into a life of faithful discipleship. We have to decide how important that is to us. As we hear that call we have to be ready to take that leap of faith, and not wait to see if others are joining us. We have to be ready to turn our backs on all that is not God-centred and follow wherever we might be led. Let us pray for the strength to follow Andrew … right now!!