As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Matthew 4:18
This scene is one depicted in Season 1 of “The Chosen.” Yes, this is another shameless plug for that show. In this scene, Jesus meets Peter and Andrew. This is our introduction to the disciples who would walk beside Jesus for years, knowing Him as rabbi – “teacher” – and friend and, very soon, Messiah. They were fishermen who made their living on the Sea of Galilee, which is actually not a sea at all, but a giant lake.
Then as now, most of their fishing was done with a net, probably a large, round net they would cast into the lake, let sink, and then scoop up the fish. In our time, most deep-sea fish (or wild fish fresh water) are caught with nets. Today, modern trawlers let out massive nets that basically scoop fish from the water: some by dragging across the sea-floor and others by floating them along. The fish are hauled into the boat using a boom, pullies, and a motor. Then the fish are sorted. Fishermen keep the fish they want and throw the others overboard (or keep them to use as bait). I have a friend who did this for awhile. He said it was the toughest job he ever had.
Peter and Andrew did a variation of this same thing in their day. They would cast out the net, drag it through the water, and haul it back into their boat. They did it all manually, though. It was their backs that did the pulling, and lifting, and bending over to sort out the fish. It was grueling work; intensely physical and demanding. You could imagine that Peter and Andrew would be hardy men, strong, focused, and coarse. They were Jewish men, probably schooled like all other Jewish boys to know Torah and the ways and traditions of their faith. But they were also rough fishermen; common men of the people working a common trade that put them in touch with many others. They sweated, swore, and worked hard.
It’s reasonable to assume they had heard of this new rabbi who preached repentance, who had been baptized in a miracle by John the Baptist. They would have been familiar with the happenings around Galilee, so they would know of Jesus of Nazareth. And here He was beside them, watching them work. What do you think they would have thought?
What would you or I think?
We think of the disciples of Jesus as supermen, as people endowed with special status or abilities. That isn’t who they were. The disciples were Peter and Andrew: people like us. People Jesus chose. If you want an idea of what it looked like, watch “The Chosen.”
For more reading: Mark 7:31, John 6:1, Matthew 4:19
Lord, thank You for choosing us! For Peter and Andrew.