Monday, January 16, 2017

Church This Week

So here's what we're planning to talk about in church this week:

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali--to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

"Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles--
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living the in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned."

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called to them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

That's Matthew 4:12-25 from the New International Version, and here's that whole chapter from Biblica, the Colorado Springs-based publisher and copyright-holder of the NIV.


  1. It would be so great if Matthew 4:25 was the last sentence of the Bible.

  2. You know as I got into my 30's whenever I would read this I would start to think about what kind of a man would it be that could walk up to these guys and talk to them and convince them to give up everything they knew and follow him on this journey.

    I think about that Kate Bush line I love so much,

    Have you ever seen a picture
    Of Jesus laughing?
    Mmm, do you think
    He had a beautiful smile?
    A smile that healed

    As I got older this line made a lot of sense to me. His personality, his smile, etc. all of it must have made him an amazing person to be around.

  3. Yeah, I think that stuff is really fun to think about--the supernatural power of just being near Christ ... maybe the smile/personality that you and Kate Bush are talking about and then, too, stuff like the touching the hem, the spitting in the eyes, the ripping of the temple veil at his death on the cross, etc. In Mark and then Matthew, the gospel writers seem to indicate that Peter, Andrew, etc. were overtaken by this immediate compulsion to stop what they were doing and follow Christ--as though maybe they had never even met Jesus before the initial left-their-nets episode. In Luke and then John, the calling of the disciples seems to grow out of the context of a longer relationship among them and Jesus. It's interesting to think why the different gospel writers might've chosen to tell the story the ways that they did. But, whatever, throughout each of the books, there are moments that speak to the physicality of Christ. He left a mark. Just being around him was a meaningful experience--even from before his birth.

  4. The other thing I've often thought about as I've gotten older is why these particular men? What was it about these men that made Jesus choose them? One that has I've always believed to be the case is that he chose them, it was not the other way. Yes they had to choose to go with him, but you are under the impression that he specifically chose these individuals.

  5. Right ... in this Matthew section, it seems pretty clear that what the writer was saying is that Jesus was specifically calling Zebedee's sons and not Zebedee, for example.

  6. The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. VII. George Arthur Buttrick, ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1955) 276 ...

    "The call and the answer may not have been as sudden as the story seems to show. John 1:35 ff. may give us the prelude to this incident. What kind of men did Jesus summon to his kingdom-cause? They were not impoverished: they were busy fisherman, these four. They were average men. The Sanhedrin could ask with confidence, 'Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?' (John 7:48.) These four came from 'Main Street.' They had petty ambitions even when they had been with Jesus for many months. They quarreled. They were not outstandingly brave: at the Crucifixion they all forsook him and fled. It seems clear that Jesus could find many like them in our town. They were individual men, not twelve copies. They were representative. Peter was headstrong; Andrew was homespun and loyal, James and John were 'sons of thunder' (Mark 3:17). Each after his own kind was needed to enrich the kingdom-witness. Jesus did not obliterate their distinctiveness; he gathered their several gifts into an orchestra of praise. ...

  7. "They were friendly, honest, enthusiastic men. They were capable of leaving home and their accustomed life for a new cause. They kindled to a leader and a venture. Better still, they glowed to the purpose of God; they were reverent men. These Jesus chose in deliberate prayer, and counted them of such worth that he gave them the best of his time and thought. He set on them an ultimate trust. They were the 'light of the world' (5:14) and the 'salt of the earth' (5:13). He challenged them to risk all for God's kingdom in him. His words were, 'Here, after me!' in manly and divine appeal. We speak with some despair about the multiplication of the ordinary man. Jesus chose such to be his heralds and the builders of the new world. Now our best art and architecture honor them. But only because of Jesus."