Becoming: the process of coming to be something.
It can be so hard to take steps to become something or someone - to change. Often, we avoid committing to change because we know that with change will come some discomfort. It is usually only when the current uneasiness is worse than the discomfort of changing that we choose to adjust. It takes a lot of courage to leap out into the unknown and risk, leaving behind what is familiar.
For Simon Peter and Andrew, two disciples of Jesus, the leap from fisherman to disciple was most definitely a process. There are several different tellings in the Gospels, (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) of the encounter Jesus has with Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew while they were at the Sea of Galilee. If we were to only read about this encounter in Mark, it would seem like Simon Peter and Andrew easily and in an instant decided to follow Jesus.
“And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” - Mark 1:16 -18 ESV
But, if we read in the book of John we learn that Andrew, before this encounter with Jesus, was a disciple of John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for Jesus and told people of the Messiah’s coming. It was from John the Baptist that Andrew and Simon first learned about Jesus. They even got a chance to speak with Jesus (John 1:40-42).
In Luke we read of the same encounter that is referenced in Mark, but in this telling we read that Jesus borrowed Simon and Andrew’s boat to preach from, then He told them to cast their nets out and there was a miracle catch of fish filling the boat. It was after this miracle that Jesus asked Simon, Andrew, and their companions to follow Him (Luke 5:1-11).
Jesus is gentle and kind with us. He knows that change is hard for us and He always allows us a choice in choosing to change. He knows exactly how to seek us out and pursue our hearts in a way that is full of love.
Becoming who we are meant to be in Jesus is a process. Jesus tells Simon and Andrew, and those with them that they will “become fishers of men.” This process happens for us the same way it happened for these disciples; through the opportunities Jesus extends to us to know Him and grow with Him.
The telling of the encounter in Matthew says that James and John, the fishing companions of Simon and Andrew, had their father Zebedee beside them when Jesus asked them to be followers. In their situation, they had to choose to physically leave their family behind to go after Jesus.
In our lifetime we might be called to leave a job, move to a new city, or end a relationship in order to follow Jesus. He will ask us to change in order to completely follow Him, but just as He did with some of these first disciples, He will guide you and meet you right where you are. Yes, you will be challenged to make changes but He will be right there with you. He will keep providing opportunities to learn about Him and grow with Him. You do not have to be perfect or have it all figured out.
Simon, whose name was changed to Peter, continued to learn, change, and grow throughout his relationship with Jesus. When he ends up denying Jesus after He is arrested (Luke 22:54-62), Jesus comes back after His resurrection to again meet Peter at the edge of the sea, fill his boat with fish, and extend yet another opportunity for him to follow (John 21:15-19).
Jesus is always seeking after us and he desires for us to seek him in return. He wants us to ask questions and be curious about who He is and what we are called to do (Matthew 7:7). Most importantly, Jesus does not look down on us for where we are at currently. All we have to do is open our hearts to Him and He will make the next move. God loves us unconditionally and wants the chance to prove that to us through the opportunities He provides and the way He handles our hearts, loving us into transformation. We are created in the image of God, but it is through accepting Christ and becoming more and more like Him that we find true purpose.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” - Romans 8:28
How have you seen God pursue you and meet you where you are?
Reflect upon some opportunities God has provided in your life for you to follow Him. What did God teach you in these moments?
*If you haven’t yet made a decision to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior but would like to learn more about starting a relationship with God click here!
Pray and ask God to open your eyes to opportunities to follow Him in all that He has for you.