Summary: A sermon for the third Sunday after the Epiphany The call of the disciples
3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
"The call of the Fishermen"
12* Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee;
13* and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,
14* that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--
16* the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."
17* From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
18* As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19* And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20* Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
22* Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
23* And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Our gospel lesson this morning is the cll of the first four disciples. If you remember last Sunday we had John’s version of the call of the disciple and today we have Matthew’s version.
I would like to look at a few key words in our gospel lesson to understand this call of the fishermen.
Notice first that the men were going about they daily lives. They were doing what they had been trained to do catch fish. This was their livelihood. They weren’t casual fishermen, they were professional. They did this for a living.
Jesus called them from their comfortable life as fishermen. Jesus called them to leave everything behind to follow him.
I would like to have read the mind of say Peter when Jesus called him. maybe his thought process went something like this:
" Follow him, why not. I heard that he is a mighty preacher He is telling the people to repent of their sins. He said I am to follow him and he will make me fishers of men. How do you catch men? No mind, I will leave this fishing business and follow him"
The next key words I think is they immediately left their nets and followed him. There was not much thought process to this calling. Immediately, or at once, they left everything and followed him.
Immediately, they cast aside their profession and followed Jesus. Immediately they left their family and friends and followed Jesus. What inspired these fishermen to do this? What inspired them to leave family and friends to follow Jesus? What inspired them were the words of Jesus. Jesus simple but compelling words "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’
Jesus did not give them a sermon, but showed them his life. Follow me. Do as I do. Follow me and I will make you catch more men for this group of mine. Follow me. Simple words but all inspiring. Follow him. Do and I do.
These men did not have a lot of Jesus’ history to follow at that point as Jesus had just begun his public ministry. But it must have been enough. Jesus said the right words and they followed him.
I wonder if you or I would have been like these disciples, Peter, Andrew, James or John if we would have done something similar? Isn’t Jesus asking us to do that today? To surrender self, to be in the world but not of the world, to have childlike faith to follow Him and to be a light in the darkness of the world?
I often wonder what the disciples, maybe John, would of said to his father after he left and then came home for a brief visit. Maybe the conversation might have gone like this:
"Dad, I know I have an obligation to you and the family business. I know you don’t understand this sudden urge to follow Jesus around the countryside. To tell you the truth, I don’t fully understand it either Dad. All I know is, there is something special about Him, something that attracted me, something about him told me he was different from all those religious guys. You know, Dad, the priest at the temple doesn’t really go out of his way to be friendly to us because we are just fisherman. But, Jesus, Dad has been friendly, has been concerned about me. Why Dad, since I left you, Jesus has healed a man with an unclean spirit, while he was in the synagogue. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law, he healed a leper and he has been preaching to us and the crowds that God, God almighty loves us. Loves me, imagine that. So see Dad, why I can’t stay, why I have to go, I am so excited. I just have to be with Jesus’."