As a child I used to have a fascination for the lobster pots and nets around the slipway at the top of the beach where I spent much of my time. I guess the sea was already working its way into my blood. A few years later I went to sea, not as a fisherman but on ships that dwarfed the fishing boats that shared the beach where I grew up. But one of my heroes is a fisherman. A fisherman called Simon (aka Peter) who lived 2,000 years ago.
There is much about Peter that fascinates me. I guess it was Peter’s reaction to the stranger who turned up on the beach one day that challenges me the most. Peter and his brother Andrew were minding their business casting their nets. It’s how they earned their living. But when the stranger told them to walk away from their nets and boats and follow him they dropped everything. Three other fishermen did the same.
A little later a tax collector was challenged to leave his lucrative livelihood and follow the same stranger. We don’t know the backgrounds or professions of six other men who joined the group of itinerants we now call The Disciples, but they all have several things in common:
- They were ordinary people, mostly from working class blue collar backgrounds.
- They were all imperfect human beings.
- They struggled to understand some of the things that Jesus said, and were filled with doubt at times.
- Although Jesus was perfect in every way, they did not become perfect.
- The longer they walked with Jesus the closer they grew to Him.
- Despite growing closer to Jesus they all experienced failures, some of them significant.
- Eleven of them continued to follow Jesus despite hardship and persecution.
- Just because Jesus equipped them for the task He had given them didn’t mean it got easier. In fact it generally became more difficult.
- There must have been many times in their lives when they asked the question; “why me?”
I don’t know if you have answered the call to follow Jesus, but if you have then you more than certainly have asked the question “why me?” on more than one occasion. You have struggled and doubted and failed, sometimes significantly. And yet there is something about Jesus that keeps drawing you to Him.
If you haven’t answered the call to follow Jesus then perhaps the question is; “why not?” Is it because nobody ever told you about Him? Some of those early disciples followed because of a family member or friend. I’m sorry if you haven’t had that experience, particularly if you have close friends or relations who follow Jesus but haven’t told you about Him. But now that you have read this blog would you at least consider a conversation with Jesus? Call it a prayer, call it whatever you want, but just try talking to Him. You might be surprised to hear Him respond with the words, “follow me.” If your reply is along the lines of “why me?” you might find the answer both in a longer conversation, but also in a single word – love.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)