Note: If you’ve read my post on Scripture and sex roles, you will know that this blog has now undergone some subtle direction changes.
In regard to the “masculinity” of Jesus I wanted to change it specifically to the godliness of Jesus because many of the concepts in these posts apply both to men and women. Nonetheless, I will still be noting in these passages specific masculinity point to men where they occur.
I’ve been putting off this post for a bit because I want to figure out how I wanted to approach this. There are a lot of good lessons here.
But let’s examine the passages first:
Matthew 4:18 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. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 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, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Mark 1:16 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. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
The Matthew and Mark passages are identical as Mark was the first gospel and Matthew likely used the text as he had nothing further to add to it.
The Luke passage actually adds a bit more detail, and it is similar to the drought of fishes after the resurrection as well. Likewise, John provides additional details of how the calling of the first disciples went down.
These are going to be the main two I analyze below.
There’s two lines of thought I want to explore here. Since Jesus is calling his first disciples this tells us a couple of things of two different topics we should learn. The first for all, and the second for men.
- Jesus and the Church
The way this applies to evangelism is that it is a model for Christians on how to approach others.
Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”
I’m going to attempt to examine the two passages in chronological order which is why I may look like I am skipping around.
All right, so let’s look at the different ways Jesus call His followers:
John 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
In the first part of the John passage, all it took was for John to say something about Jesus and those that were interested were willing to follow Jesus. That’s probably the easiest it is going to get for those who are ready and interested. They will talk to you and want to learn about the gospel.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).
On the other hand, when Jesus first met Peter He gives him a nickname (Cephas means Rock). Nicknames are actually are really good way to build connections in relationships with others.
Luke 5:1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Then Jesus, having already known Peter (and nicknaming him), goes out on the water with one already familiar to Him to teach the crowds. It is possible that Jesus randomly picks Peter, but it is likely that He knew Him beforehand.
Indeed, after teaching others Jesus tells Peter and the others to let down their nets. This would be consistent with the fact that Jesus teaches and then confirms with miracles in many cases.
Christians are to do the same to those who they witness to: that is they share the gospel and then back up the gospel with their righteous behavior. Like I have been talking about in previous posts, typically the behavior that stands out the most will be when you have a Christ-like reaction to difficult or challenging situations in your life. Those tend to be the greatest witnessing situations where people can see the love of God in you.
Luke 5:43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe[b] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[c] you[d] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[e] the Son of Man.”
Lastly, Jesus decides to leave the area finally and calls more disciples. It’s likely that this is the last thing Jesus did before leaving the area (having already called Peter and the others) because Philip specifically talks about the one Moses wrote in the law. He would’ve only done this if Jesus had been previously teaching and performing miracles in the area.
Jesus uses another tactic here to call disciples which is essentially to compliment his behavior. This is consistent with the exhortation of the Scriptures to bless others. Before Jesus even met Nathanael He observed his behavior, and then redirects the the conversation back to God.
Jesus and the Church
I also wanted to compare these passages to Jesus and the Church because I think this is one of the more important frame of minds that Christian men should have when approaching women.
As most Christians know, Paul makes the analogy in Ephesians 5 that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
How does Jesus act when He first meets the ones who will become his Church (Ekklesia)?
Matthew and Mark summarize the mindset that men are to have when interacting with women who have the potential to be wives.
- “Come, follow me.”
Luke and John provide some more of the specifics in what Jesus said and did:
- John’s disciples were hanging around.
- Jesus: “What do you want?”
- John’s disciples: “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
- Jesus: “Come and you will see”
Simon Peter meets Jesus:
- Jesus: “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas”
- Later, Jesus goes out on the water to teach using the resources of Peter and tell him to let down the nets.
- Peter is reluctant but does it, and is then convinced that Jesus is the Messiah.
- Peter: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
- Jesus: “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Philip and Nathanael:
- Nathanael initially thinks poorly about where Jesus was from.
- Jesus: “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
- Nathanael: “How do you know me?”
- Jesus: “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
- Nathanael: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
- Jesus: “You believe[b] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that. Very truly I tell you,[c] you[d] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[e] the Son of Man.”
Now, I don’t really want to read too far into what Jesus is saying in all of these instances. However, we know that Jesus knows what He is here on earth to do, and He is out accomplishing it.
Jesus meets disciples at different points in time as they are going about their business. In most of these cases, it seems like Jesus’ reputation preceded Him into an area. However, Jesus is able to make an impression on them through different combinations of methods: speech, speech and behavior, or behavior. In the course of the events Jesus builds a relationship with these men and called them from where they were to follow Him. These are His disciples… who then become the Church.
So too I think this is the frame of mind that Christian men should keep in their head when they are talking to women.
Jesus obviously doesn’t NEED his disciples. He is saying: come follow me. He gives them the choice of whether they should follow Him or not. Likewise, He demonstrates qualities that make him a good leader — He is teaching the multitudes with wisdom, He is building relationships with nicknames, He freely compliments another by providing insight about his life (it wasn’t a meaningless compliment), and perhaps best of all He backs up what He says with His behavior.
These are all things that Jesus does that many nice guys do not do.
This was one of the more interesting posts for me to write, especially because it’s inherently relatable back to how men should be approaching other Christian women for marriage, and how all Christians should approach others for evangelism.
Jesus keeps thing positive and continues to direct things towards God. He isn’t interested in putting down others for their beliefs. He isn’t interested in preaching hellfire theology. Rather, He loves to build relationships with other people, and call those who are interested to Him.
This is rather consistent with the grace that God in His great love gives to us… but we must accept the gift of grace. God cannot force it on us just as we cannot force others to become Christians. Likewise, men cannot force Christian women to be interested in them.
Think of those of these situations how Jesus thought and taught: “Come, follow me.”
For evangelism: Share the love of Godand allow others to make the decision for themselves.
For men interested in women: Show the love of God in your speech and behavior allowing qualities such as leadership, teaching, building relationships, nicknames, specific compliments, and others to shine through — then indicate interest — and allow her to make the choice.
Jesus is not taking some high level people knowledgable in the law of Moses. Rather, He is taking relatively untaught fishermen to be His disciples, His Church. What is consistent with His disciples is not necessarily their spirituality but their interest in God and willingness to learn. Of course, this isn’t to say that men should marry the first woman that is teachable, but it is a good lesson on what is important to look for in a wife.
Jesus doesn’t need anyone, but He desires that all come to a relationship with Him. He puts himself out there with what He is living and sharing and allows others to decide if they want to follow Him or not. He is fearless, bold, and outcome independent (or not reliant on validation from others) in His mission from God even though He wants them to follow Him.