As He was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:16-18
As I read the verses above from Matthew and Mark, I wondered what had happened for Simon, Andrew and Simon’s brother to “immediately” leave their families and jobs to follow Jesus. Had John the Baptist told them Jesus was coming or did they have an overwhelming desire in their hearts to follow Jesus because God was leading them. Then, I get to Luke and find all the answers.
As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.” When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him. Luke 5:1-11
Luke gives us the rest of the story. Not only was Jesus along the lake teaching, He specifically picked out Simon to show give him a clear sign (or miracle) that He was who He said He was [the Son of God]. This has such an effect on Simon that he immediately felt his sin and unworthiness falling to his knees before the Lord. And I love how Jesus says, just as the angels all through the Old Testament told prophet after prophet and Mary, “Don’t be afraid.”
The power of these three words from our Father in Heaven is tremendous. Let’s sit on them for just a minute.
What if you came to your Father in prayer daily and remembered what He is whispering to your heart?
Don’t be afraid, I will accept your apology and forgive you no matter what the sin. Don’t be afraid, the price for your sin was paid when my Son died on the cross so that you could receive eternal life. Don’t be afraid, I created you, adore you and only want to draw you closer to me. Don’t be afraid, I already know your heart, there is nothing you can hide from me. Don’t be afraid, I know you are struggling with that sin and I desire to help you if you will just ask. Don’t be afraid, even when you don’t feel me close, I’m walking beside you. Don’t be afraid, my plan is perfect and you are a part of it. Don’t be afraid, there is no sin to big for me to handle and heal you from if you allow Me in. Don’t be afraid, I will guide and protect you with my strong Hand.
I could go on and on because when you know God through the reading of His word, you know Him personally and His promises to be true. If we could remember to place fear aside, I feel strongly we would run to our Lord and Savior “immediately”. We would serve, follow, listen and allow Him to guide us always and respond “immediately” to His request and nudge.
I pray as we each go throughout the week that each of us will reflect and ponder what it is we are afraid of when it comes to our Father in Heaven. Is it a fear of forgiveness, acceptance, loss of control or something else? If we can identify the fear, allow God to remove it and heal us our trust, desire to follow Him and peace will follow.
*I’m posting my blog a few days early this week because I leave tomorrow morning for Trinidad to spend the week with the women of Grace Church. I’m so honored to have the opportunity to lead their women’s retreat this year and welcome your prayers for God to lead and guide each word and action of the week.*