Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our Saviour Calling

The Gospel reading from Mark was the focus for our Deacon's sermon today.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Mark 1:14-20

The subject of "the call," as presented in these verses, really does feel like a call from God. Imagine minding your own business, mending your nets, and up and leaving to follow some guy walking down the shoreline. That guy must be God...right?

Our Deacon presented various speculations as to whether or not Simon, Andrew, James and John already knew Jesus before He passed by, and I always worry when such speculations are presented in a sermon. Mark's version of the call does not seem to indicate a gradual decision on the part of the Disciples to follow Jesus or one that was made after a period of discernment, or after listening to Jesus preach, teach and perhaps even seeing him heal the sick. No, this call seems to be one of those slap in the head kind of things.

Is it so hard for us to believe that these things happened then?

Can they happen now?

Interestingly enough, on this day we were presented with an introductory letter from our future Priest-in-Charge who has accepted a call from the vestry to serve here for the next 2-3 years or longer (sort of a try before you buy deal). I was disappointed in the language of the letter which gave more emphasis on the call of family ties and pilgrimage than a "Sea of Galilee moment."

Maybe those types of calls don't happen anymore. 


  1. Oh, they happen.

    In my Baptist upbringing, where each of us comes forward to profess our faith, we are reminded that every person Jesus called, he called publicly. There comes a time when He calls you, and you say, "Yes, I go."

    Or you go back to your nets.


  2. Yes, Randall,

    At that time we acknowledge He who has saved, redeemed, won us. To him goes the glory, not some coincidence of geography which may have brought us to that place.

  3. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Sure, they do, UP.
    I have one of those callings.

    But back to Mark. I have no problem applying the chronology of John's Gospel first, then Mark's, when talking about where and when Andrew and Peter, especially, saw Jesus first.
    Just as Mark says, John B. got put in prison, THEN Jesus left to preach the Good News in the region of Galilee. So also, we can say, did Peter, Andrew, James and John leave the region of the Jordan following the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and go back home to the shores of Galilee. Mark picks up the story again in Galilee: Jesus is walking along, sees Peter and Andrew and "immediately", or "as soon as he sees them", or "without hesitation" - euthus - he calls them - kaleo - to follow him, these men whom he had previously met. And - euthus, without delay - they do.
    Point: How many people do you know of who have "met" Jesus somehow, but only later (like, WITH hesitation) decide to give it all up and follow him.
    In any case, there is no way around the immediacy of the Gospel text, and the call made. So, it should have been made clear by your deacon, as I did this morning, if you have only met Jesus, but not made your decision to answer the call to follow him and actually be a disciple, then (as Mark includes at the beginning of the Gospel lesson) THIS is the appointed time for YOU. Now. Do not hesitate; do not mull it over; in faith, repent, and receive the good news of Jesus Christ.

    BTW, I sent off a PM re: my post on the missing verses for today. Did you get that?

  4. Thanks Rob+,

    Agreed, the wonderful value of Mark's way of presenting the call is the immediacy of the moment.

    I think this is something that non-evangelicals tend to minimize to our detriment.

    BTW: I tried to answer that, but I guess my smart phone wasn't smart enough to send the call. Here is my thought:

    "In a way, it may be fortunate that the slave bit is not read in today's lesson. I can imagine how a revisionist priest might take that ball and run Paul into the ground so that the poor pew sitter would want to ignore Paul's teachings for the rest of their days."

  5. I think such immediate calls can happen. I liked what our priest said about Jesus' call to us. First off, Our God calls TO us. He mentioned that in first century Israel, students usually found their Rabbi. That in itself humbled me to think that our God calls US. WANTS us.
    Second that often the call is a process. He mentioned that the fishers of men phrase would be better translated- I will make you become fishers of men- implicating that this is a process and not a one time event. However, as Rob+ mentioned, a response is necessary. If any wants to read my comments, just visit my blog.

  6. 1dtr,

    I put a link to your pages on the blogroll. Keep up the good work!