Begin at the Beginning
The text for this week is Matthew 4: 12-23. This is the passage that marks the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry and the call of the first apostles. Jesus chooses to begin His ministry in Galilee. In fact, He is returning to Galilee after the execution of John the Baptist. Jesus sets up camp at Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. This allows the author of Matthew to place Jesus within the Jewish prophetic tradition (Verses 14-16) that is so important for this author to do.
He begins to travel within a day’s walk of Capernaum to spread the word. This is a break from the tradition that saw rabbis set up in one place and wait for people to come to them. In this, as in so many ways large and small, Jesus breaks tradition. This is a ministry that will seek out those thirsty for Good News and proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven (God). It should give us all hope to remember that ours is a God that is seeking us.
I Mean Right Now
Jesus then calls His first two followers. These are the two brothers, Simon and Andrew. They are fishermen and Jesus offers them the opportunity to fish for people. The first response by those called is to act out of complete faith. The two brothers walk away from their means of sustenance and their livelihood and follow Jesus. They understood that the call of Jesus is an immediate one.
They soon come upon two more brothers who are fishing, and Jesus calls out to them. They too act out of a stunning level of faith and drop everything to follow Jesus. Not only that, but they left their boat and their father to follow Jesus. No cheap grace for these two. This shows that Jesus is calling not just these early followers to an immediate response, but He is calling us to such an immediate response.
We too are to trust that in answering the call we will be able to meet the challenge. The clear lesson for us today is to answer right now. However we are called to serve and respond to the faith God has given us is to begin immediately, if not sooner. We have in many ways a great deal more resources available to us today to proclaim the word. Resources not only to amplify our voices, in a way which would have stunned anyone in 1st. century Palestine, but also more resources to sustain us while we go about spreading the word.
One note, our savior is a practical savior. Jesus was smart enough to hook up with fishermen who had boats and the skill to use them. This allowed for travel all about the Sea of Galilee to spread the word. Never let it be said that Jesus did not have a method to His madness.
So, the takeaway here is to trust God that He has given us the means to proclaim the message. He has also given us tremendous examples of ordinary people called to do extraordinary things. Doing extraordinary things that is if we, like those first called, simply believe, then obey.
Praise Be to God