Matthew 4:18-22 Jesus Calls His First Disciples

fishing boat 2

Boats by the sea

What prompted Jesus to call Peter & Andrew? They weren’t doing anything spiritual or hanging on the edge of their seats at a religious conference. They were busy fishing when He walked by. What about James and John? They were in the boat helping their dad mend fishing nets. These four ordinary men were about their ordinary jobs when Jesus walked by and said, “Follow Me.” And THEY DID! Matthew says the “immediately” followed Him.

Luke 5 gives us a little more information on this encounter. In Luke’s account of the events Jesus taught a message from Peter’s boat and performed a miracle for the group before asking them to follow Him. This explains their “immediate” reaction but not His for choosing them in the first place. He was still walking along, trailing a crowd behind Him from Luke’s account, and chose four men from the most unlikely place.

What about those following Him around that day? Why didn’t He call some of them to be His disciples? They apparently were hanging on His every word, as I would expect any “true disciple” should be. What about calling someone from the religious sects? I’m sure that would have been a logical choice for anyone wanting to enter the religious scene.

He didn’t do the logical thing. He didn’t even do the expected thing. He did the BEST thing. He did HIS thing. He looked right past the rough exterior, the common existence of these common men, and their bleak future in society and saw their open minds, their willing hearts, and their hungry souls.

Had they been pondering “Kingdom concepts” in their spare time? Were they eagerly anticipating their Messiah’s arrival? Were they actively searching for spiritual meaning in their lives? What were they doing that made them stand out?

They was nothing “special” about them that was apparent to the eye. Their reaction of being available and willing when He called is what set them apart. When Jesus asked Peter for the use of his boat Peter could have said no. But instead, this tired man, who had been working ALL night with nothing to show for it, did as Jesus asked.

(I have so much I want to explore in the expanded account of this event but I am going to hold off until we get to Luke. I can hardly wait!)

These simple fishermen would become part of the core group of Jesus’ followers. They would stay with Him through thick and most of thin. They would never be the same again because of that one encounter by the sea.

Peter, Andrew, James and John were the first disciples Jesus called. They weren’t the last. Jesus is still calling “disciples” today. lists the meaning of disciple as “any follower of Christ.” That makes me and you His disciples. We don’t follow Him physically as He walks the dusty roads of Israel, but we follow His teaching and His will.

We get this title the same way Peter and the others did that day. By listening when He calls and responding. We may not jump up and “immediately” follow Him as these four men did, but when we step out into what He has asks us to do, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us or those around us, we become His disciple.

Jesus is ALWAYS calling people to Him. He wants EVERYONE to answer His call. Not all will though. He doesn’t look at the outside or even at our past. He looks for the open heart and the willing spirit. Those He can use for His Kingdom. Listen, He is calling even now. Are you willing? I sure want to be.

Lord send me. I will never have the kind of impact Peter and the crew had but I want to be used by You in whatever way You see fit. I am willing. Please use me, Your imperfect child, to bring Your perfect love to those around me in whatever capacity You see fit.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 4:18-22 Jesus Calls His First Disciples”

  1. Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

    Many, many years ago–probably close to 30…I failed to do something that I know good and well that Jesus asked me to do. Royal Lee and I were traveling. We stopped for gas at a convenience store and while he pumped the fuel, I went inside to purchase a soda. As the cashier rung up my purchase, I distinctly felt Our Lord’s prompt to, “Tell her that I love her.”

    I was taken aback at the clarity–but the counter was packed with people and she was busy–so I just paid for my soda, smiled at her, and left. I still feel guilty about that.

    A few days later, I recounted the incident at a leadership meeting (at church.) One of our other leaders “assured” me that when we disobey, God simply uses someone else, He doesn’t leave the one for whom the message was intended without someone who will obey.

    Be that as it may–it did nothing to assuage my guilt. I truly hope the next person rose to the occasion. But what if he or she didn’t? I still pray for that young lady. I just wish I had been obedient.

  2. avincent says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I wish there was something I could do to assuage your guilt. I have been there too. All we can do is ask for forgiveness, pray for the person involved (that God sent them another servant who listened), and pray for another opportunity to do what God asks.

    We also have to accept the forgiveness He offers us. When we hold ourselves guilty when He has forgiven us, we discount His love, His provision, and His grace. Receive the forgiveness that He paid for for you and trust that He cared enough about that young girl to provide for her regardless of your reluctance. He loves her too and that love would make sure her needs were met.

    He may have made that request of you more for your benefit than hers. The task that He gave you was a small one and we will never know the impact it would have had on her life if you had followed His direction, however, your change is very evident. YOU learned a very valuable lesson that day. YOU have never been the same since. You learned a hard lesson about listening and I can bet that you have never balked at such a request from God again.

    Thank You God for Your forgiveness and for the opportunities You present us with to touch lives around us. Thank You for giving us “warm up exercises” to assess our readiness and prepare us for Your harder tasks. Forgive us for our failures and help us forgive ourselves, learn from them and move forward in Your plans for our lives.

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