History 101.5 – Calling of the Fishermen
The below article was written by Dr. Eugene Murphey and was published in The Tower newsletter of May 2005.
The scriptures tell us that Jesus repeatedly resisted temptations by the Devil during his forty days’ sojourn in the desert, and upon returning to his home in Nazareth he learned that John the Baptist had been imprisoned and later killed. According to Luke, Jesus taught and preached in Nazareth and later in Capernaum in Galilee. It was in the latter city that he encountered the ned who were to become his first disciples. Jesus was walking on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, trying to preach to a multitude of people when he encountered two fishermen brothers, Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew washing their nets at the water’s edge after an unsuccessful night’s fishing. He asked the brothers to take him in their boats a little way offshore so that he might better talk to the crowd that had been pressing upon him. They did as he requested, and when his teaching was finished he told the skeptical fishermen to let down their nets once more. To their disbelief and amazement, they brought in such a heavy load of fish that they had to enlist the help of two other partners in another boat to pull up the bursting nets. These men, also brothers, were James and John, sons of Zebedee.
Simon Peter was so overwhelmed by this amazing turn of events that he fell to his knees begging Jesus to ‘Go away from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man!’ Luke tells us that Jesus reassured him and the others not to be afraid, telling them, ‘You will be fishers of men.’
This wonderful story from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is depicted in the beautiful fifth stained glass window panel on the left side and near the front of the sanctuary. jesus is standing on the lake shore speaking to Simon Peter and Andrew in their boat. At the bottom of the panel is a chi-rho with Peter’s symbolic crossed keys (the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven) and Andrew’s X-shaped cross (he was crucified and burned to death on such a cross).
-Eugene M. Murphey, M.D.