In we read about the first time Peter meets Jesus. At this point, “Peter” is still known by his real name (aka: the name his mother gave him!)… Simon. In this story, we read how John the Baptist recognizes Jesus as the Messiah (they were also cousins) and some of John’s disciples begin to pursue Jesus. One of those disciples is Andrew, who goes to find his brother Simon, saying, “We have found the messiah!” When he meets Jesus, he’s given a new name – Peter, which means “Rock.”
Later on (days? weeks? we don’t really know…) Jesus is teaching along the shore of the Sea of Galillee when he sees some Peter, Andrew, and their fishing partners James & John fixing their nets and he asks them to take him out on the water (so he doesn’t get crushed by the crowd and so his voice can project better over the water and people can hear him). After speaking, Jesus (who is probably hungry) tells them to catch him some fish. You would think asking fishermen to catch you some fish wouldn’t be a big deal. But these “professionals” had been out all night without catching anything. They talk back to Jesus, telling them he’s just going to waste their time, but they obey and cast their nets where he tells them. Suddenly, despite fishing all night without catching anything, their nets are so full they’re about to break and they need to call for reinforcement. Amazed by what just happened, Peter kneels before Jesus in recognition of who He is.
Jesus tells Peter, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” Immediately, Peter and the other fishermen left everything behind and followed Jesus.
Why is This Important?
- If it wasn’t for Andrew bringing Peter, can you just imagine how different things would be?
- Simon is renamed “The Rock” immediately… even before he became one of Jesus’ disciples! He hadn’t said anything to Jesus and hadn’t even made any commitment to follow Jesus! But Jesus knew Peter, He had a plan for Peter… Simon/Peter just didn’t realize it yet.
- Jesus used the fishermen’s work/vocation to call them into ministry. He didn’t use a construction analogy or a farming analogy – he spoke their language by telling them he would make them fishers of people.
- It’s important to remember this wasn’t the first time they met Jesus. Jesus was familiar to them. They knew him and trusted him. When Jesus told them to leave everything (family, safety, work, etc.) they did it immediately… amazing.
What Can I Learn From This?
The biggest thing here is to distinguish Calling and calling (hence, the title of this lesson/post).
- Calling is what God calls every Christian to: worship, obedience, humility, evangelism, servanthood, etc. If I want to know if God wants me to cheat on my wife, I can rest assured (and she can too!) that this is definitely NOT God’s calling for me. Instead, God wants me to love her deeply and sacrificially (even when I don’t feel like it) as a reminder and a reflection of how Christ has loved the Church.
- calling is what God is calling me in particular to do and to be. This type of “calling” comes in where I want to know how God wants me to spend my time, what he wants me to do with my life, and who he wants me to marry.
- For Peter, his Calling was to follow Jesus as a disciple and his calling was to leave his boats in order to be “the Rock.”
- Remember, your new identity is found in Christ and his Calling… but it is worked out through your calling. Follow Jesus, and remember that following Jesus loks different for you than it does for me. Work out your Calling wherever God has called you: at the lunch table, on the sports team, on the stage, behind a computer, with your friends, doing your homework (yikes!), and with your family.
- Who was/is your “Andrew,” who brought you to meet Jesus? (Bonus: Make sure you thank him or her… and honor that example by “being an Andrew” to others.)
- How does thinking about Calling and calling help you know who God made you to be and what He wants you to do? What questions do you have about the difference between the two?
- Make a list of what you believe God is calling you to… and begin to reach the Bible to list what God has Called all of us to. This could be a great exercise (especially for parents to do with their HS Juniors who are starting to think about life-after-college!).