You may have been following our series on Justice Theology that a friend of ours, J Foster has been writing for us over the last year. (If not, you can catch up with it here: www.soulaction.org/category/justice-theology). It has been great spending some time looking at the theology of justice and mission and how this is all tied up with worship.
Over the next few months, J is going to share some of his thoughts on the whole idea of discipleship… We’re really looking forward to working through this together. Hope you’ll join us!
Here goes… (by J Foster)
“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. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-18 NIV)
What was it like when you met Jesus?
Was it a dramatic event where you heard his voice or met him in some powerful and irreversible way? Or is your story more like mine… A gradual pursuit where it became more and more obvious that this was real and I had to give in to the embrace of a Father who loved me just as I was?
For Simon and Andrew it must have been the single greatest day of their lives – the increasingly famous rabbi who was making a real stir in the region wanted them to be his disciples!
We don’t really get the drama behind the calling because we don’t really understand the significance of being ‘called’ or of becoming a disciple. In First Century Israel only the best of the best amongst the young men would be invited to follow a rabbi. Only those who had invested years into memorising Scripture and wrestling with life’s great questions were chosen. Only those who had repeatedly proved themselves worthy from a young age made the cut.
By the time we meet Simon and Andrew they’ve long since been written off and sent back to learn their family’s trade…fishing.
They knew they weren’t the best of the best. Indeed if we were to look at Luke’s account of this story we see that they weren’t exactly the best of the best in the fishing department either.
They knew it. And Jesus knew it.
We’re going to spend the next little while following the relationship between Jesus and his disciples and seeing what we can learn from it and how that relationship is the one Jesus is beckoning us into. And it starts here with this odd little episode. Except it isn’t odd at all. It’s breath-taking and it shows us exactly what Jesus thinks of you and me.
Simon and Andrew weren’t the ones a teacher like Jesus would normally have chosen. In fact they were exactly the sort of people they would have avoided. They didn’t know the Bible inside-out. They were just getting on with life doing what they could do to make ends meet and be part of their family and community. I’m sure they observed the festivals and went to the synagogue but they were never going to set the world on fire…
How many of us feel like that?
Change the world? Me? What do I know?
Now you might be an amazing individual full of promise and drive; or you might be like me – someone who strives to be just slightly above-average. Or maybe you feel like you’re really nothing special at all. So let’s get this straight right now at the beginning. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Jesus isn’t recruiting people based upon their own opinions of themselves. He chooses the team and he’s picked you. Not because he had to or because you were the last one left. He has chosen you. He sees what you and he are capable of TOGETHER. Filled with the Holy Spirit you can do anything he wants you to do. Moses wasn’t able to part the Red Sea because he was really clever or particularly holy. All he did was hold a stick – God parted the waters. I don’t know about you but I reckon I could hold a stick. Do you see how the balance of the workload sits here?
The requirement upon us is not to do the spectacular but to do the mundane… Faithfulness, obedience, relationship. We’re called to follow. On the days when it’s exciting and the days when it’s not. On the days it seems like a good idea and the days when we’d rather be doing something else.
The path to discipleship starts there. Jesus is looking at you; straight in the eye, arm outstretched beckoning you and he’s saying to you today – “Come, follow me.”