Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18 ESV)
This is one of a plethora of examples in the Bible where context is everything. Just reading that passage by itself might make you say, “WHAT? How gullible are these guys? Was Jesus some kind of Pied Piper or something?”
Because it sounds like He was just going for a walk, saw these two guys, called them, and they came. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but you have to know where to look. So here’s some background.
Simon and Andrew are brothers from Bethsaida, which literally means House of Fish. They are working in a commercial fishing business in Capernaum, on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, where Andrew lives with Simon and his wife.
Andrew is also a disciple, or follower, of a radical new preacher known as John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah, the Anointed One of God who would redeem Israel.
One day Jesus shows up where John is baptizing. John immediately recognizes Him, and points Him out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Naturally, word gets out about this event.
So the next day, Andrew is there along with another disciple by the name of John, who recorded the events of that day in the Gospel that bears his name:
The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?”
They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?”
He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. (John 1:35-39a CEB)
After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew immediately goes and gets Simon, convinced that he and John had found the Messiah. So how were they convinced in a single day? I’m sure it had a lot to do with what Jesus said to them, which the Bible didn’t record, but there is another reason.
Andrew and John recognized Jesus as the Messiah because they were EXPECTING the Messiah.
Indeed all Jews in that day were, but most of them didn’t know what they were looking for. Many were hoping for a military leader to throw off the Roman occupation of Judea. These folks missed it completely when Jesus was in their midst. Indeed, many of them were among those who eventually had Jesus executed.
But John the Baptist knew that the Kingdom of God was another matter entirely. And he had done his job in preparing the way for those who had ears to hear his message, Andrew and John among them.
(Come back for the conclusion–Track Record!)