Remember, the last time we saw Jesus He was headed to Galilee, where so many Gentiles lived, where He would share the message about the Kingdom of God. A message that would bring light to the people living in darkness, a fulfillment to Isaiah’s prophecy.
According to Bibleref.com, by now “Jesus is living in Capernaum, a fishing town on the Sea of Galilee, and is actively pursing His ministry of preaching the Gospel message. As Matthew shares here, part of the pursuit was finding others to minister with Him, to learn from Him, and to “follow Him”. Before you read today’s passage, you may enjoy knowing that bibleref.com commentary writes, “this wasn’t the first time Jesus met Peter and Andrew.” For more details read John 1:35-42.
The First Disciples
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
Crowds Follow Jesus
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.
As I read through this passage several things jumped out to me. I imagine they caught your attention too. They are repetitive or similar in nature, which is a form of writing typically used to capture your attention or make a point, or both. Matthew uses the technique once in verses 18-22 and then again between between the two segments 18-22 and 23-25. Let’s take a look –
- In verses 18 and 21, Jesus saw.
- In verses 20 and 22, those He called followed and they did so without hesitating.
- In 18-22 we read that the brothers followed and in 23-25 we read that the crowds followed.
Don’t you love the phrase, Jesus saw? Notice though, Jesus didn’t just see the brothers and keep walking – he stopped and called them to follow along with Him. He, no doubt, could see that they were busy – Peter and Andrew, actively throwing nets into the sea, James and John repairing their nets, implying that they intended to catch more fish. Their current positions did not keep Jesus from saying “follow me” nor did it keep the brothers from following. I love that Jesus took the time to see and call them, but I am equally moved and actually – a bit convicted – by the fact that the brothers did not hesitate to stop what they were doing and follow Him.
They weren’t the only ones to follow Jesus. Notice in verses 23-25 that others followed Him not because they had been invited but because of what He was doing as He traveled through Galilee. He was preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom and He was healing those who were sick. He had captured their attention with both His words and His actions. He was ministering to both body and soul and they were captivated. They were so captivated by Him that they were telling others and the crowds continued to grow and the message that Jesus had come to deliver began to spread like wild-fire.
As disciples of Jesus in 2022 may we, without hesitation, follow the One who called us. May we learn from Him, and like Jesus, may we see and invite others to join us in the mission.