Unlike Mark (Mark 3:13–14) and Luke (Luke 6:12–16), Matthew has no story of Jesus’ appointing the Twelve, he assumes that the formation of the group is already known to the reader. “Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.” (Mt 10:1-4)
In today’s Gospel, the group, now called, is commissioned. It is in this moment that we see the fulfillment of an earlier individual calling
18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”20 At once they left their nets and followed him.21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18–22)
“Come after me.” This is a Hebraicism that is an invitation to become a student (disciple) of a teacher. But unlike other teachers, Jesus is not offering a doctrine, a theology, or a set of beliefs. He is offering himself. He’s saying, “Walk in my footsteps; enter into the world that I have opened up.”
“And I will make you fishers of men.” Notice the first part of the phrase: “I will make you…” Not we make or create ourselves, but that God is the one who makes us from nothing. And it is not just the existential creation into birth and life, but creation in molding us into the human person fully alive. It is perhaps a basic choice in our Christian life: will be accept to live within the creative power of God or we will pretend that we can make ourselves.
If we will accept the proposal to be molded into the image of God, He will make us ever more a reflection of himself: a fisher of men. In this way, we too draw all things and all people into a community around us to that we may point them to Him.
Will you come? Will you walk in his footsteps? Will you enter his world, the kingdom of God?