January 22, 2006 - Year B - Epiphany 3
• 14 After John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee and began preaching the Good News of God. 15 He said, "The time has come; the kingdom of God is at hand. Change your ways and believe the Good News."
16 As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." 18 At once, they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 Jesus went a little farther on and saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee; they were in their boat mending their nets. 20 Immediately, Jesus called them and they followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men.
= = =
• 14. After this desert experience, Jesus returns to his home province, Galilee, and establishes himself in Capernaum. Jesus lives in the house of Simon, who already appears to be the leader of a group of fishermen, and among them Jesus finds his disciples.
God becomes human, Jesus shares the life of the people of his time, and like the prophets he teaches by what he says and does.
The time has come (v. 15). What does that mean? The time fixed by God has come to an end (Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10), the time of preparation has ended, and the manifestation of God announced by the prophets has already begun.
Change your ways and believe the Good News. God does not expect works on the part of human beings but calls them to faith. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe! Believe that it is he, and he alone who is able to save you!
At once they left their nets and followed him (v. 18), which means leaving their family and work they began to live with him. Like the masters of religion in his time, like the rabbis, Jesus instructed his first disciples, teaching them what they were to pass on to others in the Church.
Simon, Andrew, James and John. Jesus already knew them: he had met them where John the Baptist was preaching (Jn 1:35). The first nucleus of disciples is this natural group of lake fishermen of which Peter seemed to be the leader. They were most probably young men, ready to make a commitment at a time and in a culture where people were freer than we are from the constraints of work.
They did not yet know what the Reign of God would mean but they trusted Jesus to guide them. This for them was the beginning of faith.
= = = = = = =
1. The time has come.
"Of course there are those for whom all this exuberant urgency is rather too much. We have become more or less content with the normal ways of marking time, of waiting out our lives. We postpone all our commitments supposing that it's not the right time. And so we make our peace with the way things are, with the mind-numbing tale of human inhumanity, of hope deferred and longing forgotten. And so we are likely to find all this joyous urgency rather suspect and more than a little annoying. And so long as this is true for us we can hear no gospel. Perhaps that is why the ones who most readily respond to this 'good news' are those who have nothing left to lose." [The Insurrrection of the Crucified: The "Gospel of Mark" as Theological Manifesto by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.]
Look around. Do you really have anything more to lose? The time has come!
2. Follow me! All well and good for me, but not so good for family and friends for whom my following is inexplicable.
Just as individuals need to come to terms with their usual living and a preferred future, so do families and nations. The more folks who are involved with wrestling with presents and futures the more difficult it is to change course. One person can do it, a family doesn't change quite so easily (just because one member breaks open the routine doesn't mean it is either easy or yet possible for a family system to shift gears), and when it comes to a nation we are talking major miracle to shift gears in a positive direction (seems we can devolve pretty quickly, but evolving takes more time).
3. Have you ever played the role of Zebedee and been abandoned by those you expected to be with you to the end? How was that for you? How did you shift gears to merely go on? It is easier to play the role of Simon and Andrew. How would you portray the countenance of Zebedee the day Simon and Andrew put down their nets? The following year? Would it change upon hearing of Jesus' crucifixion and you might expect the boys to have come to their senses and return?
Sermon Index | wesleyspace Home