Read Matthew 4:18-22
Up until the second quarter of my eighth grade year, I garnered my fair share of Cs in school. My grade point average went from 2.7 the first quarter to 3.63 the second quarter. Why the sudden improvement? My mom motivated me more than she ever could have imagined by telling me that college basketball scouts looked at the grades of players all the way back to the middle school years. This wasn’t completely accurate information but it worked. Though I still had a C from time to time, they came fewer and further between. Back in those days, I ate, drank and slept basketball and my dream was to play in college and eventually the NBA. My grades weren’t going to stand in the way of that dream.
It was similar for teens back when Jesus was alive. Jewish boys and girls would often attend school until age ten where they would literally memorize the Torah which is the first five books of the Old Testament. From this point only the best and brightest boys would go to the next level where they would study the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures until age thirteen or fourteen. And finally, only the cream of the crop would be chosen to “follow” the local rabbi. This elite group of disciples would go where he went and eat what he ate— modeling their lives after the rabbi. Those who didn’t make the previous cuts would pick up the trade of their mother and father like carpentry, sheep-herding, or fishing.
Guys like Simon, Andrew, James, and John hadn’t made the cut. So instead of following the local rabbi, they were down by the docks, working the family business. It’s interesting that Jesus went after men the local rabbi had rejected. Instead of targeting the cream of the crop straight A students, Jesus offered His invitation, “Follow Me,” to former C students. They would become followers of the ultimate Rabbi.
Can you imagine schools like Harvard or Yale going after C students? Once again, this sort of math wouldn’t fly in today’s competitive, dog-eat-dog society.
No wonder Matthew 4:20 says these guys left their nets at once and followed Him. They were being given an opportunity they thought was lost. To follow a rabbi in Jewish society was the greatest of honors.
The qualifications for Jesus’ honor society are different…boy am I grateful!
*This was a brief excerpt from our book Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom in Christ