Matthew – Day 16 – Why Did They Drop Their Nets?

 In Bible Studies, The Book of Matthew

lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.

“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”

If you remember on Day 14 we talked about students who finished Beth Sefer either continued their training in Beth Midrash or went to learn the family trade. After completing Beth Midrash, a student either searched for a rabbi or went to work in the family trade. Remember that the student who was searching for a rabbi would follow him, observe him, and listen to his teaching. Eventually, when he thought the he had found a rabbi he could follow, he would ask permission to be a talmid of that rabbi. Most were turned down. If the rabbi believed that the student had the potential and commitment needed to become like him, he would say, “yes.” In this case he was basically saying, “I think you could become like me.”

Jesus, however, did not have talmid that had finished Beth Midrash and had selected him as a rabbi. Instead, Jesus went to Galilee and approached some guys who were fishing.

Read Matthew 4:18-22 (out loud).

There are several interesting things in these few verses that we don’t want to miss:

  • First, Jesus chose His talmidim. This was radically different than the way other rabbis worked. Read John 15:16 (out loud). This was important enough for Jesus to remind them that He chose them and by doing so, He thought they had the potential and the commitment to be like Him.
  • Secondly, He went to Galilee to find His talmidim. The idea of discipleship began in Galilee and was being practiced there already. Interestingly enough, He did not go to the cities where there were arenas (sports), theaters, gymnasiums (schools), or large temples. In this section of scripture, He went to a small fishing town, Bethsaida (“House/Place of Fishing”). A town of 600 to 800 people. Probably made up of only 8 to 10 families. From this small town He called Simon (Jesus renamed him Peter), Andrew, James, John, and Philip (John 1:43-44).
  • Thirdly, why were they fishing? They were working in their family trade. What does this tell us about their formal school training? They were “not good enough” to continue in school and study with the rabbis.

What did Jesus say to them that would make them drop their nets and “immediately” leave everything to follow Him? He said, “Come, follow me,” which essentially meant “I believe that you can be like me.”

These boys, who were most likely about 15 years old and had been rejected by the traditional school system, were being given a second chance. Jesus took these boys who did not make the cut and used them to change human history. Doesn’t it make more sense now as to why they were willing to leave everything and follow Him?

The good news is Jesus looks at each one of us and says, “Come, follow me. I believe that you can be like me.”

As Jesus’ disciples, or talmidim, we have to understand that He chose us and we do not have to be perfect, nor do we have to be accepted by the world. He sees in us that we can be like Him. He sees our potential. Will we have the commitment? We have to try, every day, not just to know about Him, but to be like Him.

This is our call – to be like Him. We must know God’s Word and Jesus’ interpretation of it. We must be passionate in our devotion to that Word and learning about Jesus’ example. As we are filled with His Spirit, we must eagerly desire to be like Him. We must strive for relationships with others so they will observe us and seek to imitate our love and devotion to God and our Jesus-like lifestyle. By God’s grace, this strategy can change the most pagan of cultures – our world!

Ray Vander Laan – That the World May Know
Ray Vander Laan In the Dust of the Rabbi, Lesson 1, “Galilee: When The Rabbi Says, ‘Come’”

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