At the center of the early Jewish social structure was a job every Father wanted His son to have, the Rabbi. For the Rabbi of the town had a certain prestige, and it was every Father's delight to walk around town bragging on His son as he would leave the boy in the expert teaching of the current spiritual sage.
In fact, history tells us of a tradition whereby every Jewish boy would actually begin learning the whole of the Torah by the time He was 8 years old. By the time He turned 13, his father would march him into the halls of the Rabbi to see if he was in deed gifted to learn and become another spiritual adviser to the community.
If the Rabbi saw the young man had an affinity to be a Rabbi, he would take the boy under his teaching and begin training. If the Rabbi saw the boy wasn't ready, he would turn the boy away; and as the young man walked out of the synagogue, he had to face his Father's disappointment and begin learning the trade of the family.
Trades like, ffisherman, ccarpentry, ccobbling, and farming were among the common workplaces of the day.
So the young boy would live his entire life with the shame he wasn't good enough to be a Rabbi, and the guilt of disappointing his father would most certainly weigh heavy on the young man.
Luke 4 tells the story of Jesus' first calling of the disciples. It's a common story we learned in Sunday school as Jesus appears out of no where to a motley crew of fisherman. They were finished fishing for the night, and the Bible says they took nothing.
Jesus wanders up to a small fishing boat captained by a man named Simon. He asked Simon to get back in the boat and try again.
You can imagine the frustration Simon must have been feeling as this strange Rabbi was trying to co-erse the men back to work, but the story says they shoved off and gave it another go. When they reached the middle of the sea, Jesus asked them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, and when they obeyed, they caught more fish than they could hold.
Simon said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (v.8)
"Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men" Jesus replied (v.10)
And the Bible says they dropped their nets and followed Him.
Have you ever wondered why?
Why would someone just leave a successful business to follow a stranger?
Did Jesus use some kind of Jedi mind trick on them?
I think not.
Imagine what it must have been like for Simon to have heard the words of a Rabbi. "Come and follow me. You are worthy of my teaching. I will make you a fisher of men, not of fish anymore."
It was the first time in Simon's life the guilt and shame he must have been harboring was finally at bay.
It was the first time a Rabbi said he was worth something.
As the Jewish tradition goes, Simon must have been one of those boys that wasn't cut out to be a Rabbi in his teenage years, and he must have been living with his father's earthly disappointment for his whole life.
And that's what Jesus does.
He takes people who have been living with the guilt of un-worthiness, and takes them under His wing.
The creator of the world (Jn. 1:1) is interested in relieving the pain of disappointment.
He values the un-valued.
He cares for the pain you are carrying.
He gives an out to those who need to feel worthy again.
"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30)
It must have been an emotional scene for Peter. But I'm confident it doesn't stop there.
I watch as thousands of teenagers accept the fact, they have a heavenly Father who looks down with a certain pride only a father can give, and says, "You're worthy to follow me."
Do you need encouragement today?
Just take a second out of your busy schedule and remember…
The same God of the universe who hurled the planets into the cosmos
And counted the number of hairs on your head
The same God who numbered your days wants you to know, "The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that you have life, and life more abundant." (John 10:10)
You are valuable to Him.