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Laity Reflection: A Disciple: Continuing Jesus’ Way

January 10, 2019
Northern-Sun Print
As I write the date for today’s reflection, I’m reminded that January 6th (besides being our older son’s birthday) is the 12th day of Christmas and Epiphany. It is the day we celebrate the coming of the Magi, the wise men, who paid homage to the recently born Jesus. Epiphany is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the manifestation (revealing) of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.” Some references suggest these men may have been Jewish, but most feel they were from countries east of Israel and of other beliefs. That was an “epiphany” (a moment of sudden revelation or insight) to me, because I had not thought of it that way before. Even at the beginning of Jesus’ life his glory was being revealed far beyond the local Jewish population. This was just the beginning of Jesus reaching out to all those, who came into contact with him. When he was only 12 he was already learning from and asking questions of the teachers in the temple in Jerusalem. After his baptism and temptation by the devil in the wilderness he began his ministry by teaching in the synagogues and healing many. Then came the time for him to invite others to join him in this ministry. We read about his call of the first disciples in each of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Today’s scripture comes from Matthew 4:18-22: 18  While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[a] 20  Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21  And 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, and he called them. 22  Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Footnotes: [a] Matthew 4:19 The Greek word anthropoi refers here to both men and women (ESV) Disciple means “follower” and “learner”. These first twelve disciples, whom Jesus first invited, spent their days with Jesus watching and hearing all he did and said. But many others also joined in his care and ministry to others. In this respect and through all the disciples that have followed over the last 2000 plus years, this also has meaning for you and me. Jesus is still inviting us to be disciples as well. Even today in the midst of our busy day-to-day lives, Jesus comes looking for us and inviting us to come with him to be fishers of men. When we look at those first disciples, we may think that they weren’t anyone with special training, with extra learning or they may not even have been able to read or write! We would be correct, and what a comfort that is to us. We fit right in. We only possess the few things we have learned over the years, perhaps in Sunday School or church or perhaps from a pastor, friend or book. Aren’t we blessed to know that Jesus invites us just as we are and promises to transform us into what he envisions us to be! In the Bible we read the instructions Jesus gave to those disciples after his death and resurrection. As he was preparing to ascend into heaven, his words from Matt 28:18-20 were: 18  So he came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me. 19  So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20  Teach them to obey everything that I have told you to do. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” (ERV) Jesus didn’t say, “Go to school and learn all you need to do to be a preacher.” or “Learn all the Jewish scriptures and laws by heart in case you need to use them to invite others.” All that we need to follow Jesus’ directions is to be willing to follow his example. We have to put on the boldness that Jesus will give us and leave our timid feelings behind. We are not chosen for our strength, but rely on Jesus power. We read that in the last part of verse 20. Jesus will be with us always. Because each of us is uniquely made with different gifts and skills. Jesus will use us in different ways to get his message out to others. What we can do in the meantime is learn as much about Jesus’ life and teachings as we can. The best source is the Bible and an excellent way to learn is with a small group of other disciples, who are searching to know him better! My prayer for you this week is that you will accept that invitation from Jesus in Matthew’s gospel and join a group of others who are listening for where Jesus wants them to serve him. Some of the ideas for today’s reflection were encouraged by the lesson, “Jesus Calls the Disciples (and You) from the Sunday School curriculum on Rotation.org

In the grace, Spirit and love of Christ, Carolyn Moe

 
 

 

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