Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:18-25, 8:14-17; Mark 1:16-39; Luke 4:31-5:11
The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus…Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John – but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”). – John 1:35-37, 40-42
Andrew encountered Jesus and what did he do next? Don’t miss this because it just might be one of the most powerful sentences in the New Testament. THEN ANDREW BROUGHT SIMON TO MEET JESUS. Friends, I have to admit to you that this sentence brings me to tears as I consider the weight of those seven words. Andrew did not soak up all the Jesus he could get and then just hope from a distance that his brother would someday have the opportunity to meet this incredible man. He brought Simon to meet Jesus – he introduced his brother to the one who would forever change his life!
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come and follow me and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him (Mark 1:16-18).
God had a plan for the lives of these two brothers – a plan bigger than they had ever imagined. I would guess that, even in that moment, Andrew and Simon Peter did not fully comprehend the extent to which Jesus was going to penetrate their lives.
After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. “Please heal her,” everyone begged. Standing at her bedside, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. And she got up at once and prepared a meal for them (Luke 4:38-39).
John the Baptist introduced Andrew to Jesus and then Andrew introduced Simon, now known as Peter, to Jesus. Now Jesus is not only impacting the lives of these two fishermen, He is reaching out beyond Peter to his family. This woman who was sick in bed is now on her feet serving Jesus. All who witnessed this were now aware of the power of the Son of God. The number of people whose lives are being touched by Jesus is multiplying.
As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one. Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak (Luke 4:40-41).
Let’s back up a little. Simon is from Bethsaida (John 1:44) but has moved his home and his family to Capernaum for the sake of his fishing business. While in Capernaum, Andrew meets Jesus and then tells his brother Simon about this man whom John the Baptist had called the Lamb of God. Now just a short time later, Simon Peter’s family, as well as his entire community, have been greatly impacted by the power of the Son of God! No, not just impacted, touched. The touch of his hand healed every one. By following Jesus, Peter had shortened the distance between those he came in contact with every day and the Savior of the world. They now had the opportunity to be touched by Jesus because of Peter’s faith.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking (Luke 5:1-7).
Now Peter’s relationship with Jesus was not only affecting his life and the life of his family and the life of his community, Peter had brought Jesus to work with him! Now all of his coworkers and colleagues were given the opportunity to see a miracle – to see Jesus at work in Peter’s life and also in their own lives! They were now going to reap the benefit of this huge catch of fish. How do we know his coworkers and colleagues gained from this large catch? Because Simon was officially no longer a fisher of fish. His name was now Peter and he was now a fisher of men!
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me – I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” As soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus (Luke 5:8-11).
Our response to our encounter with Jesus will determine whether or not those around us get an opportunity to have their own encounter with Jesus. When we fall on our knees, admit that we are a sinner and obediently follow Jesus – doing whatever He tells us to do simply because He said so – our submission impacts the lives of those around us. We can keep all this Jesus to ourselves or we can start fishing for people and take Jesus into our family relationships, our community and our workplace.
“Don’t be afraid!” Jesus is with you and will reach out and touch those around you if you will simply be His hands and feet to everyone you come in contact with today – if you will simply stop seeing yourself as “Simon” and begin seeing yourself as “Peter”.