At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, one of the first things He did was call His disciples. As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calls to Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The first thing Jesus said to them was, “Follow me.” In essence, Jesus asked them to be His disciples. Discipleship starts with following Jesus. What does the word disciple mean? In the original Greek language of the New Testament, the word disciple means student, learner, or pupil (Strong’s 3101). In the days of Jesus, the word disciple was typically used to describe someone who followed a religious or philosophical teacher (Herrick 2004). When we heed Jesus’ call to follow Him, we become a learner and student of our great Teacher.
How did Simon Peter and Andrew respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him? “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). Their decision was immediate. No consideration, no pro-and-con list, no pondering; just commitment. It’s like they just knew. How? Jesus lived a compelling life, and His disciples were moved by His ways. The way He spoke, the way He loved, the
way He served, the way He taught, and the way He reached out to people. The decision was easy. Immediately, they responded to Jesus’ call and followed Him.
Fishers of Men
After we have chosen to follow Jesus, He said that He would make us fishers of men. To be fishers of men is to make disciples. Jesus used this imagery of becoming fishers of men because Simon Peter and Andrew were fishermen, and Jesus was speaking their language. So what does it mean to make disciples—to be a fisher of men? In Greek, to make a disciple means to train someone up in the way of a teacher, to instruct them, to disciple them (Strong’s 3100). Through the process of discipleship, followers of Christ help others discover and come to know who God is. The goal of discipleship is to develop authentic followers of Christ. However, there is not an eight-step program or perfect formula for making a disciple. Remember, all Jesus said was “Follow me.” To become fishers of men, we follow Christ’s example by living a compelling life—a life that represents the good news of Christ. A life that loves, serves, gives, sacrifices, hopes, rejoices, mourns, and cares. A life that gives Jesus to people. When you live this way, people will want to know the One you follow.