Summary: In the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Jesus we see a lesson for all who would follow Him that 1) A Disciple shows Diligence (Matthew 4:18–20) and 2) A Disciple shows Determination (Matthew 4:21–22)
This week, in an apparent delusional rant, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi warned western nations not to get involved in what he said was an internal Libyan affair. He said that western interference would result in another Vietnam, of extended loss of life. The world community is considering intervention in light of confirmed reports of the killing of civilians. The debate in Libya and among the rebels is if they are going to be directly call western nations to act.
In Matthew 4, this is actually the second time Jesus called Peter and Andrew. In John 1:35–42 they were called to salvation; here they are called to service. The first took place in Judea; this one in Galilee. Peter and Andrew were fishermen, but Jesus called them to be fishers of men. Their responsibility was to follow Christ. His responsibility was to make them successful fishermen. Their following of Christ involved more than physical nearness. It included their imitation of the character of Christ. Theirs was to be a ministry of character. What they were was more important than what they said or did.
Just as with Peter and Andrew, we are to avoid the temptation to substitute eloquence, personality, or clever arguments for true (discipleship). In following Christ, the disciple learns to go where the fish are swimming, to use the proper lure, to endure discomfort and inconvenience, to be patient, and to keep out of sight (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Mt 4:18–19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).
In the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Jesus we see a lesson for all who would follow Him that 1) A Disciple shows Diligence (Matthew 4:18–20) and 2) A Disciple shows Determination (Matthew 4:21–22)
1) A Disciple shows Diligence: The Calling of Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18–20)
Matthew 4:18-20 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (ESV)
It is significant that (Jesus’) first recorded action is to gather a group of followers, who will commit themselves to a total change of lifestyle which involves them in joining Jesus as his essential support group for the whole period of his public ministry (France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (145). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.).
The Location, the Sea of Galilee is an oval-shaped body of water. this ‘sea’ is actually a 42,000 acre freshwater lake (Mills, M. (1999). The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Mt 4:18–Mk 1:20). Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries.) about 12 miles by 8 miles (21km long by 11km wide) and is nearly 700 feet below sea level. It was known in the Bible by four different names (1) the Sea of Chinnereth (cf. Num. 34:11); (2) Lake Gennesaret (cf. Luke 5:1); (3) the Sea of Tiberias (cf. Jn. 6:1; 21:1); and (4) here, the Sea of Galilee (Utley, R. J. D. (2000). Vol. Volume 9: The First Christian Primer: Matthew. Study Guide Commentary Series (30). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).
Luke, who was well traveled, always referred to it more properly as a lake. Yet Josephus reports that in the first century A.D. some 240 boats regularly fished the waters of that lake. Much additional fishing was done along the shore, as Simon (who was called Peter) [see Matt. 16:16–18], and Andrew his brother were doing on this occasion, casting a net into the sea. The four men Christ first called to follow Him were not lazy loafers. They were industrious, hardworking fishermen. God is not in the habit of calling (people) to serve Him who are slothful and lazy. If you are a poor worker on the job, you will (most likely be) be a poor worker for Christ. (The diligence and commitment that is required to follow Christ is often visible in other areas as well) (Butler, J. G. (2008). Analytical Bible Expositor: Matthew (62). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.).
In that day, three methods of fishing were used. One was by hook and line, the second was by a throw net cast from the shallow water along the shore, and the third was by a large dragnet strung between two or more boats in the deep water. Peter and Andrew were here obviously using the second method. That net was probably about nine feet in diameter, and the two brothers were skilled in its use, for they were fishermen by trade. The Greek term for that particular net was amphiblēstron (related to our amphibious, an adjective describing something related to both land and water)-so named because the person using the net would stand on or near shore and throw the net into the deeper water where the fish were.