Sunday Readings: Isaiah 8.23-9.3; 1 Corinthians 1.10-13, 17; Matthew 4.12-23
From the time John the Baptist’s arrest, Jesus began to proclaim, “Reform your lives! The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As Jesus walked along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon known as Peter, and his brother Andrew, who were casting a net into the sea. They fished for a living. Jesus said to them, “Come after me. I want you to fish for people. Peter and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him. Jesus walked along farther and saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father to follow him.” – Matthew 4.18-22
From the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus gathers companions. Peter, Andrew, James, and John respond to Jesus’ call. They abandon their boats and nets for a new vocation, a fishing for people.
Many Christians today may wonder why the four so unhesitatingly follow a man who just comes walking along the lake shore. The gospel writer Matthew is telling the story of the first disciples’ call more than 50 years later. Their initial response expresses the full commitment they grow into by participating in Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, they give their lives wholeheartedly to spreading the good news.of his new life.
Responding to Jesus’ friendship changes the lives of his disciples. It redirects them from casting nets for fish to gathering people into the Christian community. They follow Jesus as he preaches God’s nearness in their local synagogues and brings God near in healing the sick.
Who has called you to minister? How have you responded? How has your response changed your life?
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