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.
A couple of thoughts strike me from this simple account of the first disciples. First of all, Jesus issued the call to discipleship. He asked them to come and follow. He pursued the men He wanted to be His followers. He issued the compelling call. This was different from any other rabbi of His day. Normally, in order to be accepted by a rabbi, a young man’s family might ask if their son might follow, and after an arduous examination, the rabbi might accept the young man into his band of followers. This was not the way Jesus worked. It was unheard of for a rabbi to pursue a disciple. The disciple was to prove himself first to the rabbi. But Jesus took the opposite approach. He made the call. He asked the disciple to come and follow Him. And His call was compelling.
The second simple truth is that disciples follow at personal cost. Peter and Andrew left their occupation of fisherman at the intriguing prospect of becoming “fishers of men”. James and John left a prosperous family fishing business with their father behind in order to follow Jesus. Levi left a tax booth. Simon Zealotes left a political party. All of them were willing to abandon what was familiar for the chance to be with Jesus. Following Jesus has its costs, a fact that Jesus made clear in His own teaching. These men were the first to experience it with their own lives. Discipleship is a life commitment to a following lifestyle.
The gospel of Mark stresses the quick response of these men to Jesus. In one day, they left a profession behind them to become disciples. That is the heart of discipleship. Disciples follow. They respond to the invitation of their Master. They see the value of learning from Him. They make the commitment, with any accompanying sacrifice, for the vast reward of knowing Jesus and becoming what He wants to make of them.