As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. – Mark 1:16-20
Jesus seems to do a lot of his business by the lake. I am with Jesus in this respect. Walking along the lake is one of the most peaceful activities I can think of. I am fortunate enough to live close to Lake Michigan which has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are days when I have the entire beach to myself which makes the introvert in me happy. Maybe Jesus was an introvert too, I do not know.
So what is it that is special about lakes? On one level they are merely a collection of water all in one place. But there is something magical about them. The way that they change with the weather – one minute like a mirror and the next minute churning with waves and uncertainties. I guess in this respect a lake is a little bit like life, especially at the moment with the pandemic and all the uncertainty that it has brought. Last January was a quite pond and now we are in the midst of a raging storm of waves and breakers.
In the passage Jesus is walking along the lake He comes upon some fishermen, Simon and Andrew, at work catching fish along the lake. A modern day version of this would be Jesus walking through an office building, passing by a cubicle and asking the people in the cubicle to follow him. I can just imagine the people in the cubicle putting down their papers closing down their computer and walking away forever from the job they were previously doing. This would be an odd and unexpected scene.
I am not sure I have the faith to accept that kind of a call from Jesus if He walked into my office. Yet that is what He calls us to do. In some ways it is even harder for us because He walks into our lives not making footprints in the sand on the beach, but with subtle whispers to our spirit that are easily misinterpreted or missed unless we have very sensitive spiritual “whiskers.
There’s something else interesting about lakes. Lakes represent two different worlds adjacent to one another – the land with plants, soil, rocks, and terrestrial creatures; and the water with fish, aquatic plants, and other organisms that can only live in water. The shore of the lake where Jesus is walking represents a frontier of sorts between these two worlds.
In a way Jesus represents a bridge between two worlds, this land of Oblivion and the undiscovered country separated by a River that no one can cross. These young men Jesus meets, sweaty and smelling of fish, have sensed something out of the ordinary – a window between the worlds walking down the shore. They may not fully understand what they’re seeing but they know that it’s something unique and compelling and without hesitation they take the opportunity to follow Jesus to find out more.
This is where this passage hits home for me. When I consider my response when I get a glimpse of this “window between the worlds” that is Jesus am I ready to follow without question? Do I allow the concerns of the day and the complexity of my life to keep me from “walking on water”? If I am honest the answer is yes, many things have gotten between me and following Jesus at times, perhaps I’m not alone in this. I think rather than become disillusioned and discouraged when we fail, God simply wants us to start each day looking for windows.
Prayer: God give me the eyes to see and the boldness to follow You wherever You may lead me today.