Zebedee: The Well-Known Fisherman

My name is Zebedee. My ancestors have been well-known as fishermen for many generations. I would say that Jonah is the only other fisherman as good as I. Jonah and I began fishing together as young boys with our fathers. Jonah and I work closely with our friend Jairus who has a fish-drying business in Capernaum only five miles east of where we live in Bethsaida. Together, we meet the needs of the people in our surrounding area for nourishing fish year round.

Jehovah has blessed me with a good wife, Salome, and two fine sons, James and John. Jonah has been similarly blessed, and he has two sons named Simon and Andrew. In my generation, fathers taught their sons how to work hard at their profession. Jonah and I have spent many hours giving the boys painstaking instructions on ways to find the fish and how to handle the net to capture the most fish. Because of this, our sons have become good fishermen. With the exception of Jonah and me, they are the best on the Sea of Galilee.

I, as most fathers, planned for my boys to carry on the family business. I suppose each of us wants our name to carry on after we are gone. Everyone remembers my father and my grandfather because of their successful fishing business, and now they remember me because I have continued to build on their business.

Until very recently things were going wonderfully well. James and John were fishing with me, and Simon and Andrew had joined Jonah in his business.

Then one day, out of the blue, an itinerant preacher named Jesus came along and made some lofty promise to my sons about making them fishers of men, and they believed him. So they just up and left their boats to follow this preacher.

This younger generation just doesn't get it. They don't understand the value of a tradition such as a family business. If the boys don't come to their senses soon and get back to work fishing, future generations will not even remember who they are, and what a shame that would be!

Based on Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 16:17.

Copyright 1997 by John C. Westervelt

Return to Table of Contents