Jesus and the Brothers

Photo courtesy of carmelitemonastery.org.
Photo courtesy of carmelitemonastery.org.

Why is Jesus always in a white robe?  This seems impractical to me.  Okay.  Moving on…

I’m finally in the New Testament in my Bible reading plan.  Huzzah!  I couldn’t stomach any more Old Testament.  No offense, but I needed something with hope.  I do hope the majority of today’s prophets aren’t such downers. Anyway, reading Matthew 4 today, I noticed something:

 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.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,  and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-22

This occurs in the narrative after John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  Then the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness (v.1-11). Jesus withdrew for a time, and started his preaching ministry (v.17). Those were important events.  But what caught my eye is who Jesus drew to Himself.


The very first disciples of Jesus were a pair of brothers – Simon, whom we know as Peter, and his brother Andrew.  They fished for a living.  Then, Jesus, fishing Himself at this point, picked up another set of brothers, the sons of Zebedee (later dubbed Sons of Thunder) – James and John. In the past, I always thought it kind of handy that Jesus chose four disciples in one fell swoop.  Bam!  He didn’t have to travel from small town to small town, collecting them like pebbles off a beach.

Which begs the question:  why fishermen?  Could it be these men had formed a dependence on God, drawing their livelihood from the sea?  They learned to read the sky and the water, deciphering the language of nature about when and where to fish. They knew if God didn’t cause fish to bumble into their nets, they’d be broke. Their training,  battling the capricious waves, set them up to learn to fish for the real prize:  people.

But now, why brothers?  Brothers, given good circumstances, forge a supreme team over time. They’ve discovered how to work together, how to complement each other instead of compete against each other. I also think it shows how the Lord loves families. He desires for entire families to know Him, to follow Him.  Believing in Jesus can divide families, yes, but it doesn’t have to.  It can bring great unity and joy.  The intimacy that comes from belonging in a human family can deepen further once the individual members know Christ. They have a double bond that time and distance can’t sever.

God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy...- Psalm 68:6


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