My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Then He said to them [Simon Peter and Andrew], “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19)
Andrew was Peter’s brother and a disciple of John the Baptist. When he learns about the “Lamb of God”, he immediately tells his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn. 1:29-42). Jesus finds Simon Peter and Andrew engaged in their business of fishing when He calls them to “Follow me.” Until now, these brothers were casual followers. Jesus is offering them the opportunity to become His friends, His constant companions. Before the Great Shepherd could release them into ministry, they had to learn what it meant to follow Him. They had to learn to deny themselves and take up their cross daily (Lk. 9:23). They followed Jesus. They heard His Word and watched His miracles. First hearers, then preachers; first witnesses, then proclaimers. Andrew carried the Gospel message to many parts of Asia. Like his brother Peter, he, too, was crucified on a cross, tied upside down. Some say that Andrew praised the cross as a symbol of Christ’s redemption, “O blessed Cross . . . Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher.”
Jesus found these disciples fishing on the shores of Galilee when He called them. He often finds us when we are engaged in our daily business. When we answer His call, it is a call to Him. He does not call us to do this—or not to do that. He calls us to “Follow Me.” These fishermen cast their nets into the sea, gathered their catch, repaired their nets, and repeated the process. The sea represents our troubled and evil world. Fish are the souls of men to catch and take from the world in which they are drowning. The net is the church. A net with meshes too wide will give sinners a painless passage through it. Meshes that are woven too tightly need frequent repair. Such nets break easily and become useless quickly. Through discipleship and fellowship, brotherly love and Christian care, the church’s job is to close the net upon those that are caught and lead them into a closer relationship with the Lord.
Do you know what it means to follow Jesus? Are you a casual follower of Jesus or His constant companion? Right now, won’t you make a commitment to follow Jesus and become a fisher of men? Set your mind to carry forth the Gospel message, courageously announcing its truth by word and deed, no matter what the cost. Agree with the Lord that “My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.”