Monday after the Second Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Matthew 4:18-25 (NKJV)
4:18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 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. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
In the first half of today’s gospel text we witness the beginning of the New Testament church with the divine calling to faith by grace of its first members and seminarians. For at this place in time the fishermen being addressed are being called to be disciples of Christ who will be made fishers of men. They are not yet apostles or even disciples in the true sense of these titles, but hearers who are being called to become true disciples (copies of the Master) who are yet to become apostles (sent ones). They will spend several years being graciously blessed by the Word and built up in the faith as Christ prepares them for the God given tasks that lie ahead in His vineyard.
In verses 23 through 25 we see this training of soul and body begin and start to bear fruit as the Lord proclaims the gospel to ever greater numbers of people through both word and deed. Great crowds start to follow Jesus about the countryside, but not all who flock to this miracle worker necessarily see Him as their Lord and Redeemer. This is a sad reality of the Christian church which continues today with not all who flock to the assembly necessarily having the faith to be disciples. Some come only seeking temporal benefits or not willing to pick up their cross and follow the Master where He leads.
Lord of all power and might, create in us a love of Your Word and will, nourishing us through Your holy Means of Grace that we may crave to be true disciples serving only You now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.