Thursday, January 19, 2006

Epiphany 3

Mark 1:14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

When I was younger, I always wondered why Peter and the boys would drop everything to follow Jesus. How could they abandon their nets, their jobs, their father!?! They didn't know Jesus was going to turn out to be such a big deal. (And maybe if they had they might have stayed home.....) The thing is, we miss so much when we look at the fishermen's call from this perspective. In Jesus' time discipleship was a formal relationship. With a formal call "to follow me." Calls were issued to young men who had been groomed from early childhood. Disciples were the best of the best. The cream of the crop. They were the kids who got A's in Hebrew School. The kids who really knew their Torah frontwards and backwards- quite literally.

But Jesus called these fishermen! They hadn't been their rabbi's shining light when they were kids. If anyone had ever thought they might make it as disciples, their lives would have been remarkably different. And yet Jesus chose them. Not the brightest. Not the best. Not the guys with the fancy degrees or the fine education. But Jesus chose them. "Come, follow me."

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