Mark 1: 14-20
In today’s passage, someone they had never seen before in their lives said, “Follow me,” and they did, made a huge choice by leaving their families, their jobs, and their homes behind in order to go with Jesus.
In Jesus’s time, no Rabbi would ever have gone out to recruit his own followers, and if he had, he would not have picked the four disciples in the passage. However, Jesus set himself apart from the other teachers of his time. Jesus alone walked out among ordinary working people and chose them, without a single question or interview, to be his disciples and friends.
In fact, that is not the strange thing I’d like to point out. The strange thing was that the disciples went along with Jesus. What strength, what courage, what faith those four must have had to do what they did, sacrificing everything they had to go after Jesus.
They would not have described themselves as religious types, but they took one look at Jesus, and that was that. No torn hearts, no backward glances. They just dropped what was in their hands and went after Jesus, without saying a single word. It was more like something happened to them, something beyond their control.
If you ask me, this is not a decision or a choice story they made, but a holy-miracle-story, as full of God’s power as the feeding of the five thousand or the raising of the dead.
That is a story about God, and about God’s ability not only to call us but also to create us as people who are able to follow. This is a story about the power of God—to walk right up to a poor and ordinary fisherman and offer a miracle, creating faith where there was no faith, creating disciples where there were none just a moment before.
What I’d like to pose on each of us is that their minds were not on what they were leaving
but on whom they were joining. Their hearts did not stick to what was falling from their hands
but to what they were reaching out to find. This was the moment of their turning to follow,
and the miracle occurred; their lives flowed in the same direction as God’s life.
I believe we often read today’s story too narrowly. I am not sure that following Jesus is
always a matter of leaving everything behind. That is what it meant for the first four disciples.
That is what following meant in their particular lives. But, if the story is about being swept into the flow of God’s will and giving ourselves over to it, then, it seems to me that it will be a different story for every one of us in our own particular lives.
The possibilities for following Jesus seem endless to us. What is clear to follow Jesus Christ is that it would be a mistake if we focus too hard on our own parts in the miracle of discipleship. The God who created and called us can be counted on to make us as disciples who are able to follow, not only from our choices.
Thanks be to God.