“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.'” Matthew 4:19, ESV
Andrew initially encountered Jesus by following John the Baptist and went to tell his brother Simon that they had found the Messiah. When Jesus met Simon, He told him that he would be called Cephas (Peter). Later, Jesus approached both while going about their daily work and told them that He intended to change their lives. He laid out His simple vision straightaway: they were going to turn from catching fish to catching people (for God). He also told them just how it was going to happen–it would happen by following Him. They became Jesus’ disciples and were transformed from fishermen into apostles of the Kingdom of God, preaching, performing miracles, and guiding God’s people. After Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the religious leaders marveled at the changed men before them, as Luke records “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
They took note of the fact that they had been with Jesus. Walking with Christ was the means of their change. The transformation came through discipleship. When Jesus originally approached them, He did not say, “Be inspired by Me” or “Think well of Me,” or even, “Make Me a part of your life.” Rather He said “Follow Me.” In responding to His call, Andrew and Peter walked where He walked, slept where He slept and came to do the works that He did. They listened to and learned from Him.
We are to do the same–follow Him in spirit even if not physically. Recently a fellowship group I’m a part of had a dedicated time of prophecy and encouragement. We were to speak words over one another as the Spirit led. When it was my turn to receive a word, one young woman said that I tend to pay attention to words and take time to think about exactly the right one to use. She then said that I should take Christ’s words and allow those words to continue to lead and guide me. To some, that could sound vague, but it didn’t strike me as such at the time. It was a call to renewed focus on meditating on the word of God. I’m not surprised, then, that I later felt led to start this yearlong reflection on the commands of Christ. I believe that such meditation is an answer to the same call Andrew and Peter answered; by hearing His word and learning to think as He thinks, we will be transformed.
We might have many goals in life, but it bears repeating that the leaders took note that Andrew and Peter had been with Jesus. Whatever we become in this life, people should be able to recognize that we have been with Christ. The apostles had the bearing, the speech, and the works of men who had followed Christ and were recognizable as such. Their transformation was astonishing, as it did not come through schooling (as the leaders noted) or any other training aside from walking with Christ. Education serves a useful purpose as a tool, but we can only be made Christlike in holiness and power by truly becoming His followers..