And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea…
Jesus was not content to preach the word and leave it to work unseen and uncared for. He desired to gather in a harvest of souls. His first effort in this direction was to form a little group of recognized and confessed disciples who should help him in his great work. Himself the supreme Fisher of men, he drew choice souls that he might fit them to undertake the same work in seeking for others,
I. THE FISHERS.
1. Their relationship. Brothers. Family union is consecrated by Christ.
2. Their class. Christ was a carpenter; the first apostles were fishermen; St. Paul was a weaver. Surely, then, the working classes of all people ought to be interested in Christianity. If social arrangements mean anything in religion, these classes should be the first to claim the gospel as their own. Why are so many of them the last to do so?
3. Their work. The life of the sea was a good discipline. These theologica; students of Christ had no preliminary "arts course." Nature was their university; hard toil and danger made their discipline. They were not educated as scholars; they were schooled as men. It is best to have. both trainings, but we can more easily dispense with the first than with the second.
4. Their immediate occupation. They were at work - casting a net. We are never so fit for Christ to meet us as when we are doing our daily duty.
II. THE CALL. In St. John we see that these men already knew Christ (John 1:40-42); but they had not yet learnt that he would wish them to be his constant companions.
1. The essential character of the call.
(1) From Christ. He is not willing to be alone in his great work. He seeks associates.
(2) To individual men. All are invited to his grace (John 7:37). But separate men are called to separate spheres of work. How, then, shall we recognize our call when it comes, seeing that Christ is no longer with us in the flesh? By the opening of a door, by the consciousness of a gift, by the conviction of conscience.
2. The twofold contents o/the call.
(1) To follow Christ. This comes first. Only they can serve Christ who follow him. We must first be Christians if we would do Christian work. The most Christ-like are the best fishers of men.
(2) To win men. This is better than catching fish in the lake. Thus Christ promotes his disciples. Note the practical aim - so intelligible in Christ's manner of presenting it to fishermen. Much spiritual energy is dissipated by vagueness. We beat the air for want of an object. But true Christian work is practical. It is to fill the gospel net.
III. THE RESPONSE,
1. Its promptness. "Straightway," etc. There is no excuse for delay when Christ calls. The fisherman may say he is not fit to be an apostle; but not he but Christ is the Judge of his fitness. There is no time for delay. The harvest is plenteous, and the labourers are few.
2. Its absoluteness. They left all. Christ does not call all his people to abandon their secular occupations, but when such a call comes, there is no excuse for parrying it. The obedience must be unconditional.
3. Its action. They did not merely assent verbally. They followed Christ. Our Christianity is seen, not in the creeds we profess, but in the way in which we go. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.