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. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
It was quite an exciting prospect for a new believer. I already had been so excited to share my testimony with everyone I knew, and this seemed like a natural step in my progression. For someone so introverted as myself at the time, street ministry was not necessarily up my alley. I went all the same and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be the success I had hoped it would be, but I noticed that others seemed to be doing very well. I, on the other hand, could not even get anyone to talk to me. I did not know it at the time, but there is a way to reach people for Jesus, and there are many ways not to do it. We might not call them methods, per se, but Jesus illustrates by his own examples how we are to open the door to discipleship.
This verse might seem rather straight-forward when we first read it. All that seems to be happening is that Jesus asked Peter and Andrew to join him in his ministry. If we look a little closer at the language, however, we see that this is an invitation for more. Jesus is asking them to allow him to teach them how to go about making disciples. He is saying that this is not something they can simply go out and do without instruction. The work of evangelism is the beginning of discipleship. For those who are close to us, it may be easier for us to discern the effective ways to approach them. But when we are sharing our faith with those who we do not know, it is all too easy to start off on the wrong foot. If we want to reach people effectively, we must study the ways in which Jesus reached people.
We understand and confess that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that draws people to God. We also understand and confess that no person can bring another to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding these truths, if we go about evangelism the wrong way, we could get in the way and hinder someone from wanting to explore this faith. Jesus was all about meeting the people’s needs. That is a core lesson He teaches to those who want to go out into the world and make disciples as He has commanded us to do. Let us take the time to study how Jesus went about making disciples so that we can be effective in our evangelism and our teaching. Father, impart to us the knowledge and wisdom needed to learn from your Son how we are to make disciples of all nations.