According to Matthew, after Jesus learned that John the Waymaker had been arrested, He withdrew to Galilee, but then left Nazareth to go live in Capernaum by the sea, where He began to preach and proclaim, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
We don’t know how long Jesus lived was living in Capernaum before He began to call His disciples, but we can speculate with certainty that He didn’t move into town and immediately start calling people to leave their job to follow Him, because, again, the text informs us that the first thing He did when He moved into town was begin preaching and proclaiming, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
We can also speculate with a high degree of certainty that Jesus had some foreknowledge of the first four Apostles, and they of Him, before He called them. We know this because the Gospel of John, tells us that Andrew went home one day “and told his brother Simon that, “We have found the Messiah.” Therefore, if the Johannine narrative isn’t a contradiction, we must believe that there was a grace working in the hearts of the first disciples to seek and find the Messiah, and this grace was also at work in Christ Jesus to seek and find His chosen ones in Capernaum. This grace motivated seeking is affirmed by Andrew’s use of the word ‘we’ in “We have found the Messiah,” which easily infers to us that he, along with a number of others, had been actively looking for the Messiah prior to finding Him.
At some point in time after Jesus had been in Capernaum awhile; preaching and proclaiming, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” He decided to walk past the Sea of Galilee. It was there that He saw two fishermen, who were also brothers (Simon and Andrew), to whom He made an offer that they seemingly could not refuse, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus then walked a little further down the lakeshore and spied two more fishermen, who were also brothers (James and John), whom He also invited to become little, and they also subsequently left their father behind in the boat to follow the Rabbi. Whereas the former group of brothers was casting their nets into the sea, the latter two were in the boat mending their nets with their father.
At the Lord’s call these men got up and walked away from the life that they and probably many other people in their community expected them to be in until their death. This tells us that they knew that being fishers of fish was not their true calling in life, and how could they not know that after the desire of their hearts had been fulfilled at finding the Messiah who they had long been seeking? Their hearts had been instantly snatched by Jesus. It was love at first sight. Sure, they were free to tell the Lord ‘No, that they would not follow Him’, but how could they? They had encountered He who is the Truth, and the truth had set them free from all of their worldly desires and ambitions. For the first time in their life they felt truly alive, and they knew if they did not leave everything behind and follow Jesus they would have died on the inside.
Indeed, this same Jesus who intentionally walked into the lives of Andrew, Peter, James, and John, also intentionally walks into our lives every day. He invites us into a personal encounter with Him that will destined to set us free. He calls us to follow Him where He wants to lead us. He invites us to leave behind all of our worldly ambition, personal desires, and fears, so that we might take up our cross and follow Him alone. He promises us that if we do follow Him that His burden will light and that His yoke will be easy.
Of all the invitations that get from ordinary people throughout our ordinary day, why not take up this one extraordinary invitation from an extraordinary God to follow Him wheresoever He might want to lead you? Of all the ordinary encounters we have with ordinary people, why not seek out a extraordinary encounter with Jesus? Perhaps the Holy Eucharist would be a wonderful place to seek out such a personal encounter!
I don’t know where God may lead you, but I promise you that if you truly do give Him the wheel, your life will become what it was always meant to be. This too I promise; that the ending will make the beginning very worthwhile! Let us begin this journey every day we wake up and continue to throughout the day!
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.