Third Sunday of Epithany 26-01-20

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I WILL FOLLOW YOU – Matthew 4. 12 – 23

Matthew 4:12-23   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Jesus Begins His Ministry in Galilee

12 Now when Jesus[a] heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.’

17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’[b]

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Crowds of People

23 Jesus[c] went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news[d] of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

I WILL FOLLOW YOU – Matthew 4. 12 – 23

Jesus now shifts his base from Nazareth and now has begun to live in Capernaum. Capernaum is quite a business hub. There were lots of activity going on. There were the Roman soldiers camping there. It is also surrounded by fishing villages. There were oil presses extracting olive oil.

Jesus chooses to begin his work in this hub of people. The first thing he does according to Matthew is that he begins to preach. His proclamation was – ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

The second thing he does is something special. He goes to Lake of Galilee and he calls fishermen to follow him. Simon and Andrew and James and John. It is very interesting to note that Simon and Andrew are now beginning their work – Jesus calls them. James and John have finished their work and are mending their nets so to say they were doing routine maintenance job and Jesus calls them.

Their response seem to be instantaneous as they leave their boats and begin to follow Jesus.

This event brings to our attention something very special. We ask the question, why Jesus would need these people. He is going to preach, he is going to heal and he is going to exorcize and he is going face the Pharisees.

God works with people and through people. God calls Moses, Joshua, Judges of the Bible, the prophets, even Kings like David and others.

This is the mystery that we realise today and that explains why we are here. We are called by Jesus that he may be with us and also work through us.

To follow Jesus would mean to simply turn to him and move in the direction that he leads us.

To be a disciple is special, there were many people who were looking for Jesus but the disciples are those whom Jesus was looking for.

It was indeed God wanting Simon, Andrew, James and John and you and me. Saying follow me, I will make you a fisher of people.

We remember the beautiful chorus, I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back and we say I will follow you Jesus all the days of my life.