"CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP AND APOSTLESHIP"
Text - MARK 1:14--20
GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOR - JESUS THE CHRIST.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee… Following Jesus' Baptism, His 40 days in the wilderness and temptation by Satan, Jesus returned to The Galilee and moved His home from Nazareth to Capernaum where He established His headquarters. John the Baptist had proclaimed The Messiah's coming, John's work was done and John was arrested.
Now Jesus came preaching The Gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in The Gospel." "The time is fulfilled” -The Messiah promised over all the centuries and pointed out by John the Baptist is here. “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” - God has arrived as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ to redeem us. “Repent” – totally alter your lifestyle and follow Jesus. “Believe in The Gospel” – live by God-given Faith.
Capernaum - today a series of ruins visited by pilgrims and tourists fewer in number by far than those who visit Nazareth - nevertheless, was even more important than Nazareth to God as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ.
Everyone living in Capernaum earned their living in the fishing industry including Simon, Andrew, James and John and even Matthew the tax collector heavily taxing those who worked on the sea.
First, of course, there were the fishermen who spent every night from late November to April on the sea earning one-third of their catch each night. Winter was the fishing season and night was when the fish were biting.
Second, there were the people who owned and maintained the boats which they leased to the fishermen for one-third of the night's catch.
The final third went to the people who owned and maintained the nets which they leased to the fishermen.
South and west around the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum – in those ruins where trees now stand on the shore - the cannery was located in the village of Magdala. Here people earned their living by salting and canning the Sea of Galilee fish and selling them locally and throughout the world.
The busiest time on the shore was sunrise when the boats returned, fish were sorted and distributed and then prepared for sale and shipping. One such morning Jesus, passing along by the Sea of Galilee, saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending their nets … in the boat with the hired servants.
Our text paints quite a picture of these four fishermen and their families. James and John were in their boat mending their nets and the Zebedee family had hired servants meaning their business was not a one boat operation but a fishing fleet.
In another text where John and Peter were admitted to the High Priest's courtyard during Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin, we discover the reason John was recognized and admitted by the staff was because of the fish he had been selling to them. Hired servants, a fleet of boats, nets to use and to rent and all four fishing the lake – then canning, selling and shipping – this was a 1st Century conglomerate.
There were lots of profits to attract the four fishermen and lots of responsibilities to command their attention in their fishing business. Jesus was asking a lot from Simon, Andrew, James and John when He said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately - without a moment's hesitation - they radically altered their priorities in life and followed Jesus. Simon followed so faithfully that Jesus changed later his name to Peter – the Rock.
Jesus called these four men to be His disciples. That meant they were committing themselves to learning everything Jesus had come to teach them. They would hear His every word and carefully watch His every action. They would ask Him seemingly endless questions. They would spend countless hours dialoguing with Him and with each other about Him. Jesus would be The Teacher and The Subject in their newly prioritized lives.
We, like those fishermen, are called to that discipleship. We are called by Jesus to daily reading THE HOLY BIBLE and to hearing God's Word read and preached at every opportunity - prayerfully and expectantly. Jesus calls us to be His disciples just as surely as he called Simon, Andrew, James, and John - and, not merely coincidentally, their powerful tax collector neighbor Matthew.
The Good News we learn from Jesus is not something that can merely lie fallow in our lives. God’s Word needs to be lived and shared. Jesus told the four fishermen that He wanted them to trade fishing on the Sea of Galilee for fishing in the sea of humanity. "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." Remember Jesus did not call the four fishermen to become fishers of men after He called them to be disciples. It was all the same faith and lifestyle. Sharing Jesus is central to the discipleship to which Jesus calls those four titans of the fishing industry and you and me.
What Jesus gives to all of us as His disciples is not to be experienced and lived in a vacuum but to be shared. It is such Gospel - such Good News - that once it grabs hold of us we feel the need to share it. And, as we share The Gospel with others, we find ourselves growing in The Gospel as well. What Jesus calls us to is a living relationship with Christ and, in His Love, with others.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS - OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR AND TEACHER. AMEN.
Third Sunday Of The Epiphany Season
January 21, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio