When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went to Galilee. But instead of staying in Nazareth, Jesus moved to Capernaum. This town was beside Lake Galilee in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,
“Listen, lands of Zebulun and Naphtali,
lands along the road to the sea
and east of the Jordan!
Listen Galilee, land of the Gentiles!
Although your people live in darkness,
they will see a bright light.
Although they live in the shadow of death,
a light will shine on them.”
Then Jesus started preaching, “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.”
While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.
Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too. Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus. (Matthew 4:12–22)
When Jesus asked his disciples to “come with him” they dropped everything and followed. The disciples had already spent time with Jesus, talked to him, perhaps even witnessed a miracle before Jesus asked them to follow. They were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. They thought that meant he was going to re-establish the monarchy, become king, defeat the Romans and rule the world. So the chance to join the Messiah’s team was an opportunity not to be missed.
Over time, they discovered that they had misunderstood just what he was offering them. What he offered them was infinitely better than a petty earthly kingdom with physical prosperity and power. He in fact, offered them the chance to become the brothers of the creator of the universe, to join in God’s eternal kingdom forever.
When we understand clearly what it is we have been given in our relationship with Jesus, the problems and trials of life become vanishingly small. It doesn’t seem odd at all that Peter, Andrew, James and John would leave behind all their physical belongings, their businesses, every last thing they had, in order to join with Jesus. In Christ, we get not just the opportunity of a lifetime, but the opportunity of all of eternity.