Call of the Four
Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
Disciple making is a process that begins simply with the development of relationships. In the case of Jesus’ disciples, their relationship with Him began quite a while before they made the final decision to drop their nets and to follow Him…and even then, that commitment was tried and tested on several occasions right up to Jesus’ death and resurrection!
As far as Andrew, perhaps John, and Simon Peter were concerned, this relationship began shortly after Jesus’ baptism and temptation and before Jesus began His public ministry (cf. John 1:35-42) with a simple invitation to “come and see”. John the Baptist was baptising at Bethany beyond the Jordan, just north of the Dead Sea. Every Jew would have understood the significance of this location as it was the same area where Joshua crossed the Jordan after the generation of the unfaithful had died during the 40 year long wilderness wandering period. Messiah fever was high at the time John made his first appearance and his call to repentance would have been interpreted in terms of a preparation for some form of renewal or reconstruction of the nation. So we can only imagine what must have been going through the minds of those who heard John preach! No wonder they were flocking to him to be washed clean in preparation for God’s intervention!
We know that Andrew, Simon’s brother was a follower of John the Baptist. After hearing the witness of the Baptist regarding the Spirit anointing Jesus and his identification of Jesus as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world”, they met with Jesus and spent a few hours with Him. We don’t know what they talked about, but something was said that convinced Andrew that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah because he immediately left to find Simon, his brother. If Simon was not a follower of John the Baptist (there is no indication in the text that he was) then this “finding” would have involved a three or more day trip back and forth to Galilee!
Andrew told his brother that they had found the Messiah and Simon immediately went with him to meet Jesus. The first meeting is interesting as it involved the giving of a name or a nickname. Names were always significant in the culture at the time as with many African cultures still today. At this point one would have expected Simon to respond with some statement of gratitude or surprise or perhaps the question why? But strangely and perhaps uncharacteristically, Simon said nothing and he did nothing. He obviously did not drop everything to follow Jesus as the next time the two met, Simon was still fishing.
The second meeting with Jesus went a little deeper. In Mark 1:16-18 Jesus’ challenge was no longer simply “come and see”; He now called them to “come follow Me and I will show you how to fish for people”. Simon, Andrew, James, and John immediately followed Jesus and for a time watched Him fish for people. They heard Him teach and preach, they saw Him heal and perform exorcisms, they witnessed His compassion for people, and they heard Him challenge them to “pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send more labourers into the harvest field.”
And yet, in Luke 5:1-11 we find them fishing for fish once again. We don’t really know why Simon Peter appeared to be reluctant to follow Jesus. Perhaps he was not fully convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. Many had made that claim before and had met with a rather sticky end (cf. Acts 5:36-37). Or perhaps he was concerned that he would not be able to adequately provide for his family. Or perhaps he was fearful that he was not disciple making material and that he would fail.
In this account of the miraculous draught of fishes, Jesus touched on all of Simon’s possible fears. After having used Simon’s boat as a makeshift pulpit, Jesus told the seasoned fisherman to launch out for a catch. Luke filled in the background to this story by telling us that they had been fishing all night long and that they had not caught as much as a single fin. So it is not surprising that at first Simon objected to the Lord’s suggestion. What exactly changed his mind we do not know, but they did launch out and we know what happened…the nets filled to breaking point and Simon had an “aha!” moment.
In this single event, Jesus addressed all of Simon’s concerns. He demonstrated quite clearly that He had power over the created order and was not a mere carpenter/stonemason/itinerant preacher and teacher – He was the Messiah and there was no longer any reason to doubt that. Secondly, He proved to Simon that He could provide exceedingly abundantly more than he and his wife would need. No need to fret about finances or food in the future! And finally, He dispelled the fear of failure by telling Simon Peter that He would make him what he needed to be…there need be no fear as he would receive personal, one-on-one, on the job training.
It is Jesus Who makes disciple makers…they do not make themselves. No one need ever be afraid, as Jesus will make us the kind of people we need to be and He has promised to complete the good work He began in us! All we need to do is walk as He walked…follow His lead…learn and imitate what He did in the Gospels…be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He was…and stay connected to the Father through constant prayer. 
 See Matthew 19:27 - Dropping their nets and following Jesus for the fishermen meant leaving behind a lucrative business. We would do well to remember that Simon Peter owned his own boat (Luke 5:3) as well as his own home (Luke 4:38 - more like a compound where family members and often those of the same trade lived together in a shared space called an insula), had business partners (Luke 5:10), and perhaps even hired hands (Mark 1:2).
 See John 21:3 where Simon Peter apparently decided to return to his old vocation.
 The name יֵשׁוּעַ “Yeshua” (Jesus) is a late form of the Biblical Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ “Yehoshua” (Joshua). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshua
 Joshua had called for a cleansing of the nation in this same area and renewal of the covenant.
 There is another unnamed disciple many scholars believe to have been John, the beloved disciple.
 The allusion to the Passover Lamb of the Exodus would hardly have gone unnoticed.
 The name Simon had been revived during the Maccabean period and may have carried overtones of national renewal. Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory: The New Testament Apostle in the Early Church, Markus Bockmuehl, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 21. In this passage, Jesus tells Simon that he will be called Cephas (Kephah), an Aramaic word meaning stone or rock – in Greek it is Petros and in English Peter.
 Two quick examples would be the change from Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel.
 Rule #1 for making disciples is always build real relationships with unbelievers over time. People generally do not respond the first time we meet them! Disciple making is a process.
 This process of ever increasing commitment is important to the disciple maker. It begins with the disciple maker showing the disciple how to do the work of the ministry while the disciple passively watches. But this must move on to where the disciple actively begins to help and slowly take over under supervision until he or she is able to do the work on his or her own. The best way to train others to make disciples is through modelling, to demonstrate first hand the model we find in the Gospels.
 In that part of the world, those in the know always did net fishing at night, as they knew the fish would move into the deeper cooler depths once the sun started to bake on the surface.
 This devotion was largely taken from an unpublished paper of mine, entitled Breakfast on the Beach: The Making of Simon Peter, © 2018