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Thursday, May 20, 2010

5/21/10- Mark 1: 16-20 Calling of the Disciples

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

(Calling of the Disciples Domenico Ghirlandaio c. 1480)
John Calvin: "Sea of Galilee"- Luke calls it "the lake" some called it Gennesaret (Hebrew Chennasareth)- and the bank of the Sea was Tiberias.  Luke relates this calling after the miraculous catch of many fish at the listening of Jesus' request to cast their nets on the other side. The allusion which Christ made to fishing, when he spoke of the preaching of the Gospel, was appropriate because people stray and wander in the world, as in a great and troubled sea, until they are gathered by the Gospel. When Christ called them two things stood out- 1) the power of Christ's voice.  It is not that his voice alone is so powerful to our hearts that is as important as that if the Lord is pleased to lead and draw someone they are inwardly addressed by His Spirit, that they may obey his voice.  2) The disciples quick obedience show that they preferred the call of Christ to worldly affairs.  The ministers of the Word ought to be directed by this example to lay aside all other occupations and to devote themselves unreservedly to the Church to which they are appointed. 
Thoughts: Jesus calls all of us to an eternal purpose- to be fishers of people.  In America we are so occupied with fishing for fish (earning money and spending it) that we have little room in our lives to fish for people, and it is so secondary that many perceive the Gospel of Christ really means little to us.  A recession could be the perfect opportunity for some to see how transient and fickle giving ourselves to this world is.  I know many who worked hard, but lost their jobs.  But losing our earthly jobs does not take away from our heavenly one- to care for people.  There are some in our culture who cannot elevate human beings as more important than fish.  Jesus draws a distinction that we should notice, and that makes sense. Luke's story of the calling (Luke 5) and miraculous catch shows that Jesus was Lord over fish and people, and calls us to care for people more.  I used to work for Dunlop Sports Company making golf balls and golf clubs.  We used to joke that some people spent their whole lives living and dying for a little white ball.  But it wasn't the ball as much as the money that was earned by it- both of which will not last. 

Prayer: O Lord, when your voice calls to me, give me grace to drop what I am doing and respond.  Help me not to clinch the world, but to be able to let go for you.

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