Tom Hayes


John 1:40-42; Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 3:13-19

Do you ever become weary receiving calls from all the telephone companies offering you a better rate than your present provider? They never give up, do they? The same company many even call several times in the same week. Of course, we admit, also that there are those special family members or personal friends who call often, and we enjoy hearing from them over and over again.

The Scriptures teach us that Jesus "calleth His own sheep by name:" (John 10:3). No! He doesn't call us on a telephone or ring our doorbell. But, He calls. And, He calls again and again! None of His calls are just to pressure us into a decision. Rather, by His grace, with His Spirit, and through His Word, He calls to help us, to minister to us, and to advance us in spiritual matters.

This continued, progressive word of God in believers is wonderfully illustrated in the life of Simon Peter. When Jesus began to work in his life, his liabilities seemed to outweigh his assets; his blemishes seemed to outnumber his blessings; his problems seemed to outsize his possibilities. But, because the Lord called again and again, eventually Peter became a special vessel in the purposes of God.

In our text, we are reminded that the Lord uses different means in calling us to Himself. Here, the Lord used Simon Peter's brother as a channel for the call to come to Peter. After hearing John the Baptist preach, "Behold the Lamb of God" (1:29, 36), Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, began to follow the Savior. Then, he testified to his brother of the true Messiah (see 1:41), and he brought Simon to Jesus.

Simon Peter's first confrontation with Christ was:

1. A Call To Discovery

To know God, and to have a personal relationship with Him, one must have a revelation of God. Before we can give ourselves to Him, we must discover Who He really is. As Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus, the fisherman discovered the person of Jesus, and, as is always the case, also discovered his own identity. Andrew said to him, "We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ" (John 20:41).

At the beginning, then, we are made aware of:

A. A Discovery Of The Savior

The word "Messias," or "Messiah," means "the sent One, or the anointed One." The Lord Jesus did not come to this earth on a religious venture. He was sent by the Father! No doubt, Simon Peter had heard about Jesus, but had never really seen Jesus in this light. In the scene before us, however, he was introduced to Who He really was, the long-awaited One, the sent One, the true Christ!

There is no question about the genuineness of Simon's discovery. Later, in Christ's ministry, He asked the disciples how the people felt about Him. Their response was, "Some say that Thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets" (Matt. 16:14). Then, He asked them what they thought about Him. Immediately, Simon Peter spoke up and confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16).

Dear friend, have you ever seen Christ in this light? Have you ever seen Him for Who He really is? Do you genuinely know Him, or do you only know of Him? If you do not know Him, may He be pleased to reveal Himself to your heart! Then, with Simon Peter, and many others who have savingly trusted Him, you, too, can say, "Jesus is the Christ, the sent One, the Son of the living God!"

Following one's introduction to Jesus, there is always:

B. The Discovery Of The Self-Life

The text reads, "And when Jesus beheld him, He said, 'Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone'" (John 1:42). The name "Simon" indicates "shaky as mud," or, we might say today, "shaky as Jello." Without question, as Jesus looked through Simon, He saw his instability and his unpredictable nature, and confronted him with the truth about himself.

It is impossible to be introduced to the Savior and not be introduced to our self-life. To know Jesus as He really is, is to become aware of who we really are. Of course, it is not a pleasant sight to see ourselves in the light of God's revelation. To see Jesus as the worthy Christ is to see ourselves as unworthy, unfit, and unacceptable before God. At our best, we cannot measure up to His righteousness.

The only hope we have is in Christ! Through Him, we can be more than unacceptable sinners who do not measure up to divine standards. Christ's words, "Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (1:42), relate this message of hope. The man who was as "shaky as Jello" would become "a stone." How would this ever happen? The truth is, dear heart, the more Christ, the Rock of ages, reveals His rock-like character in us, the less the self-life is projected. Oh, may we yield to His conforming process!

The next time Jesus spoke to Simon Peter, His call was:

2. A Call To Discipleship

Reminding us that the Lord keeps on calling us, dealing with us, and ministering to us, Jesus didn't just call Simon once. He called Him again. In Matthew's account, we are told, "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him" (Matt. 4:18-20).

In this setting, it is clear that:

A. A Call To Discipleship Is A Call To Follow

The New Testament term "disciple" refers to "a learner, or a follower." To be a disciple of another was to have a student-teacher relationship, in which the student surrendered his ideas up to a tutor, and followed the tutor's principles. When Jesus called Simon Peter, and said, "Follow Me" (4:18). He was calling him to lay down his ideas about life and adhere to divine principles.

It cannot go unnoticed that Jesus did not say, "Follow My cause!" Rather, He said, "Follow Me!" We are not called just to line up with a cause or a philosophy. We are not called just to identify with a religious organization. We are called to follow a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes! As we follow Him, we will identify with His purposes and associate with His people. But, the call is to follow the living Christ!

Are we followers of Christ, friends? Are we His true disciples? Have we laid our agendas at His feet? Have we forsaken the principles of this world for the truths of another world? Are we more interested in Christ, Himself, than in a cause? On one occasion, many of Christ's followers "went back, and walked no more with Him" (John 6:66). When Jesus asked the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" (6:67), Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (6:68). Oh, may our answer be the same!

Another truth that is evident is that:

B. A Call To Discipleship Is A Call To Fish

The reader will notice that Christ not only said to Simon Peter, "Follow Me," but He also said, "And I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). If anyone knew about the fishing business, Peter and Andrew did. For, as the previous verse explains, "they were fishers" (4:18). That is, they were professional fishermen. They did not fish for pleasure, but as their occupation. But, the call to follow Christ summoned them from their business to His business - - fishing for men.

To follow Jesus is to begin fishing in the pond of humanity. To be His disciple is to not to live for ourselves, but, constantly, with a heartfelt concern, and with the message of the Gospel, reach out to others. It is interesting that Jesus said that He would take His followers and "make" fishers of men out of them. Seminars and training sessions have their place, but only Jesus can produce soul winners.

What pond are we fishing in, dear hearts? Are we fishing in our little worlds, only concerned for the present and providing for ourselves? Or, are we fishing for the souls of men, identifying with Christ and His eternal dividends? Oh, may the Lord Jesus renew our desire to reach out to others in a caring manner, give them the Gospel, and trust Him to bring them to "the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4).

Another episode in the life of Simon Peter makes us aware that the call of God is also:

3. The Call To Devotion

From a larger group of disciples, Mark tells us that Jesus called and "ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils" (Mark 3:14, 15). This unique company, known as "the twelve" (Mark 4:10; 6:7; 9:35; 10:32), were blessed to know the Lord Jesus in devoted manner. Of course, at the top of the list, one who was called again was "Simon," whom "He surnamed Peter" (3:16).

In this passage of Scripture, we are introduced to:

A. The Fellowship Of Devotion

Why did Jesus call twelve disciples? Why did He call any disciples? Why did He call Simon Peter? I think most of us would underline the preaching assignment, or the ministry in general, as the primary reason for the call. But, according to the Holy Spirit, the basic purpose for calling the twelve was "that they should be with Him" (3:14). Isn't that precious? Jesus wanted to fellowship with them! He wanted their company!

God has called you and me for the same reason! The Scriptures tell us that we have been "called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). Yes! There are other objectives in God's great purposes. But, first and foremost, Jesus wants our fellowship! He wants to commune with us! It may seem too wonderful to be true, but He calls His Own to spiritual fellowship and intimacy.

It should go without saying that this fellowship involves time in His Word, through which He speaks to us, and time in prayer, by which we speak to Him. However, we often find ourselves caught up with too many insignificant matters, leaving little time for that which is divinely significant. May we give ourselves, even our all, afresh to Him! Oh, to say with John, "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).

The outworking of such fellowship always manifests:

B. The Force Of Devotion

Jesus not only called Simon and the other disciples to "be with Him" (Mark 3:14), but He called them "that He might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils" (3:14, 15). While a premium seems to be put on fellowship with Jesus, these forms of outreach and ministry are not to be treated lightly. Jesus not only calls His followers to His fellowship, but to His fields, fields of service, as well.

All three of these apostolic assignments - - preaching, healing, and casting out devils - - are forms of opposing the darkness. Because Simon Peter and his fellow disciples knew something of fellowship and intimacy with Christ, a divine power and force was evidenced in their lives. The light of His presence and the light of His truth always brings triumph over the darkness and bondage of the enemy.

As a boy, when I heard my dad whistle, I knew that shrill sound was my signal to go home. It wasn't time to vote. The ballgame was over! Supper was ready. Dad had called, and I better be moving in that direction. As the Lord calls us, dear friends, let us hasten to move in His direction. Whether His call be a call to discovery, a call to discipleship, or a call to devotion, it is always our signal to move towards Christ, to move towards God, to move towards home. Amen.