Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. — Mk 1:14-18
So we started with the Gospel of John, looking at what we imagine to be the first interaction with Jesus. We will now look at the first interactions mentioned in the other Gospels, starting with Mark, which was written first. We find John the Baptist, who recognizes that his ministry is coming to an end (as marked by him telling his disciples to follow Jesus, "the Lamb of God!"), and he is arrested, and Jesus begins his ministry. It is not unintentional that John's ministry ends as Jesus begins-- John knew his specific calling, "He said, 'I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said.'" (John 1:23) He was to make the way for Jesus to come.
So Jesus comes into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God-- the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe. And who does he run across, but Andrew and Simon, those fishermen brothers who he met with John. If we look at the timeline, we can presume this interaction happens after the first time when Andrew brings his brother to Jesus, because John was not arrested in the John 1 when he points out Jesus. Simon has been told, "you will be called Peter" already. He's back to his livelihood, fishing, with his brother. I wonder if that interaction with Jesus had been on his mind ever since he met Jesus. This man whom they believe to be the Messiah who will rescue and redeem and restore Israel, who told Simon he would have a new name. I don't think that's a conversation you easily forget. And now, here he comes walking along the shore, and calls out to Andrew and Simon, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
I've been wrestling a lot lately with this idea-- how would I answer the call to follow Jesus? I think i'd have a lot of questions. Who, What, Where, When, Why, How for starters. Who exactly are you? What exactly are you teaching-- what are all your beliefs and tenants and feelings on xyz? Where are you taking me? When will this actually start? Why are you calling me? How are you going to make us fishers of men? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. I would have approached it like a job interview. You know how you're supposed to come to a job interview with "good" questions, ones that will impress them and make them want to hire you? The response to "Do you have any questions?" should never, ever be, "no I'm good!". First rule of interviewing: always ask questions. Show your interest. But here, Jesus doesn't even give that option. He doesn't say, "Okay, I'd like you to follow me, and I'd like to make you fishers of men. What questions do you have for this?". He gives a command, not an offer. Now of course, they could have said no, just like we can. But He isn't putting out a sweet deal on the table-- he's giving a call on their lives. Follow me. Leave everything you've known to be true and normal and everyday life, and follow me. I'm going to make you into something that sounds humanly impossible-- fishers of men. What would you say to this call? They had to wonder what he meant by this. Fishers of men? We're pretty decent at fishing for fish, but-- how would you catch men? Where do you even get a net big enough for that? Tomorrow, we'll see how they responded (spoiler alert: I think you already know the answer).
Dear God, We see in this part of the Gospel of Mark that Jesus intentionally sought out Andrew and Mark, and called them to a radically different life than anything they knew. Let our ears and hearts be open to the radical call you have for us, as well. May your beauty and goodness draw us to follow you wherever you lead. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Dig Deeper: What would you have thought had you been in Andrew and Simon's place? How would you answer the call of Jesus? How will you answer the call of Jesus to follow Him?