“Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 NIV).
I’m not sure how I came so often to sit beside my grandmother when we had family gatherings. But I remember that sometimes she’d just quietly beckon me toward herself.
Now Grandma always had handwork in her fingers as she sat in her corner after helping with meals. Crocheting, tatting, or knitting of mittens it would be–if she was not mending–but on special occasions, the mending basket was out of sight.
Grandma would put whatever she was doing into my hands. “I can’t do that,” I would say. “Oh yes, you can!” was her reply. And movement by movement she’d coach until I was going smoothly. I gained confidence from Grandma’s encouragements–confidence so that before I was a teen, I was doing various kinds of “handwork” and mending on my own. I went on to do machine sewing of clothes.
Jesus, even far beyond my grandma, was a unique teacher: He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mathew 11:29).
Jesus put his work into others’ hands. By Lake Galilee, the brothers, Peter and Andrew, experienced Jesus’ invitation: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Immediately, the brothers James and John, too, followed Jesus’ calling.
But Peter, like me, had his self-doubt–adamant self-doubt; he fell on his knees: “Go away from me, Lord; I’m a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). He was viewing the great catch of fish Jesus had caused to be in his nets, when, having caught nothing all night, he had that morning, at Jesus’ command, let down his nets once more. Peter felt unworthy. But again Jesus urged Peter on: “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10b).
Then there was a tax collector, Matthew, sitting at the tax booth: “‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him” (Matthew 9:9b). On seeing that Jesus later had dinner at Matthew’s house, some criticizing Pharisees jibed at Jesus’ disciples: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’? (Matthew 9:11b)” Jesus, hearing this, said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12,13).
And Jesus didn’t stop there: After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a). He posed no limits. And not for you or for me.
Oh yes, you can! As I can. For Jesus added, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (28:20b).
Prayer– Lord Jesus, thank you for your teaching, and for the great privilege you have given us of learning from you and taking your Word and your Way to all people. We praise you for your promise to be with us always, to coach us movement by movement by your Spirit. Direct and sanctify the attitudes of our hearts and the words of our mouths, for your Name’s sake. Amen.