It’s not as hot in Galilee as some people think, but after a day of hard work fishing the sweat from a man’s brow can soak his clothing. Not that you would notice because fishing is wet work. And it was after a full day like this of fishing for Tilapia in the Sea of Galilee that Zebedee found himself mending his nets beside his two boys, John and James. James was the oldest, and Zebedee was looking forward to a time when James would take over and be captain of his boat.
“Maybe’s he might even be able to buy a second boat,” Zebedee thought.
After all, they had recently hired a few hands to help with some of the extra chores that need to be done after a good year of fishing. John was a bit younger. He was a capable young man, but since he was not the oldest he knew it was not his destiny to lead the family.
“I’m happy I’m better off than some of my friends,” Zebedee said to himself as he remembered one of his competitors who had recently lost his sons Peter and Andrew to a new rabbi named Jesus.
“Thanks be to God! I’m happy my sons are loyal and hard-working.”
Zebedee didn’t know what had gotten into Peter and Andrew. He didn’t understand how they could leave their father like they did. Oh, Zebedee knew his competitor would be ok. He could hire some extra help and keep all the profits for himself instead of sharing with his sons. But Zebedee couldn’t understand why those sons would want to abandon their birthright for this Jesus. In the midst of these thoughts Zebedee looked up from his work to realize his sons had left the boat and were wading to shore.
“What in the world . . . ?”
Then he saw them. Those two disloyal sons were on dry land with a third man he did not recognize. The strange man was waving at James and John as if to beckon them to come closer.
This piqued Zebedee’s interest, so he called out to his sons, “Where are you going?”
But the waves were too loud and his sons could not hear him.
So he shouted even louder, “Hey! The work’s not yet finished!”
Again nothing. He saw his sons interacting with the other three for a few minutes, but it wasn’t long before they started walking. And they never even looked back at the boat. They just left.
“Where are they going? What are they doing? Who was that man?” . . . They were all answers that remained unanswered for years.
Zebedee was left behind. But was he wronged? Read Mark 1:14-20 before you answer that question.