Posted by on Jan 24, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Called to Follow

Dear Lord….speak to us today. You call us to be your disciples. You call us, just as you called your disciples, to follow you. Please strengthen us as we move through some uncomfortable times that we may always remember you call us and we promise to follow you.

The gospel lesson for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany is from Mark 1:14-20. In this passage, we see Jesus beginning to call those who will follow Him and learn from Him in preparation for his resurrection.

Jesus had followed John the Baptist as John was speaking to the people who were wanting to hear his message. It could be said that John was acting as a mentor to Jesus. John knew what Jesus would be doing…as did Jesus. John helped inaugurate Jesus into his own mission by showing him how to speak to people and work with him.

At this point in our gospel lesson, John the Baptist has been killed by Herod. Jesus is now on his own to bring the gospel message…the message of hope and life to people. He did realize that he needed to have more people working with him and following him to expand His message to more people.

Jesus began his ministry with the words, “The time has come, the Kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe in the good news.” (v. 14) He announced the beginning of his ministry here on earth. He is actually calling for a change in the nation. You ask, what does that mean? Well…the people in Israel have always been looking for a physical relationship, such as a relationship with Abraham…where they could see him. They were looking for a physical relationship with the promised Kingdom of God. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus WAS that physical relationship…but the leaders ultimately refused to acknowledge that.

Jesus was calling the people to turn from one position in their life to another more fulfilling. He was calling them to repent. We have discussed this concept earlier this month. Remember that repentance is more than being sorry for actions. True repentance is ordering one’s life in a way to be acceptable to God. This requires words AND deeds in making changes.

So, Jesus begins to recruit followers to learn about speaking to the people they would encounter. He is teaching them about the Gospel…that is a proclamation announcing God’s rule and asks the listeners to place their loyalty in God and make changes in their lives….or repent from their previous actions.

Jesus then begins to call the disciples…or followers while he is teaching them. Notice that the disciples are called from beside the Sea of Galilee, while they are fishing. In fact, it is specifically stated that James and John were in their boat mending their nets.

Mark probably stated this fact for two reasons. The first reason would have been that the men had been fishing during the night and it was now morning. Their fishing was done either in the early morning or in the evening. There were enough fish that were caught that the nets needed

repair. Fishing also took place in the months between March and September while the crops they had planted were maturing. Does this sound familiar? Yes…it does to me.

The second reason for this statement is much more subtle. These two men didn’t think twice about leaving their father with the hired men to continue the mending, etc. In Israel this just was not done. The sons did not break with the family and leave the parents with hired help. Families tended to stay together. But in making this statement, Mark wanted people to realize that when Jesus called someone, they left without a problem and followed Him.

It can be assumed that these men who Jesus was calling had heard from friends about Jesus as well as about the work John had been doing. They were excited to follow and “fish for men”.
There was NO hesitation in their decision.

Now…let’s look at the concept of “following”. For these disciples, following Jesus for them meant they would help Jesus in the proclamation of the arrival of the Kingdom of God and the need for repentance and belief in the good news. It also included assisting Jesus in the healing work they would be experiencing.

This concept of “following” changed when Jesus was crucified and was resurrected. After these events, following meant that a person who gave their lives to God and to the teaching of Jesus Christ, it would mean a change in their way of life. It is this concept of “following” that we experience every day as Jesus’ disciples in our day and age.

You have all heard Jesus call to you at some time in your life. He has called all of us to be His disciples. We have accepted that call and are following Him every day. The call to help others may change, but Jesus knows us and knows our talents and when He needs us to spread the word to the “wider audience”.

We are asked many times in our life to answer Jesus’ call and to follow Him. We WILL continue to hear Jesus’ call and to continue to follow Him…and help out other people who are searching.


January 2021


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