“May I have some helpers on this project?” the teacher asks. As she begins to select people, you wonder what it takes to be chosen—a certain look in your eye? a smile on your face? sitting up straight in your chair? Your hand is held high as the teacher’s eyes focus right on you. You are thinking, I really want to be chosen. I want to help with this project. Just then, she calls your name. Ah, you think, it’s great to be chosen.
Almost 2000 years ago, Jesus chose twelve men to be His helpers. Some of them were fishermen. Simon (Jesus called him Peter) and Andrew, his brother, were by the seashore when Jesus spoke to them. He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their work, and followed him, as if this was what they had been waiting to do all their lives. What caused them to follow Jesus without hesitation? It was their honest, believing hearts!
Jesus found two more brothers along the seashore, James and John, who were mending their nets. These men gave us a good example of following Jesus also. When Jesus called them, they immediately left the ship and their father to go with Him.
Jesus also called Philip. Then Philip found his friend Nathanael, and told him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” When Nathanael asked him, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see.”
Philip shared this good news with his friend, but wanted Nathanael to see for himself that Jesus was the Christ. When Nathanael came, Jesus told him that He had seen him sitting under the fig tree before Philip called him. Since Nathanael had been alone under the fig tree, he immediately realized that only God could have known that. Nathanael said, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”
Jesus continued looking for the right men to be His disciples until He had chosen twelve in all. The disciples lived very close to Jesus for the next few years. They learned to love and trust Him. This love grew deep in their hearts, making their lives more beautiful. Jesus knew they needed this love and enthusiasm in order to reach the souls of men who didn’t yet know about Him. Jesus had come to earth to die as a sacrifice for man’s sin, then rise from the dead to bring eternal life. But His life, death, and resurrection would be useless to men if they didn’t know of Him. That’s why it was extremely important that the disciples tell the world about Him.
God’s Word tells us that “many are called, but few are chosen.” Why do you suppose this is true? When Jesus was choosing His disciples, why do you think He chose the ones He did? Not because they raised their hands and said, “Me! Choose me!” No, it was because He knew the condition of their hearts. They were men who heard the call and said, “That’s what I want. That’s what I need.” That is why Jesus chose them. Even today Jesus has a plan for the life of each one He calls.
Several years ago, there was a seafaring man who needed God in his life. He felt that life was no longer worth living. One day, while looking over the railing of a ship, with no thought of God, he watched the ocean churn. Just as he was about to jump into the water, he heard the voice of God. This was his greatest time of need and God did not fail him. God asked him, “If you jump in, what will the end be?” From that time on, the man started looking for the truth. God led him in the right path. The next time he came into a port, someone visited his ship and invited him to a church service. There he heard the truth, prayed, and was saved. If it hadn’t been for God’s call that day on the ocean, that man would be in a lost eternity today. Instead, he has been able to tell many others about God.
In this world of turmoil, the call of God is still being heard by people who are seeking for the truth, who want to do what is right but need a strength given only by God. Do you want to receive mercy and forgiveness for your sins? Do you want to be chosen by God? He is calling you. Follow Him now and become a “fisher of men.”