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Jesus' compelling call

July 14, 2023

Daily Scripture

Mark 1:16-20, Matthew 4:18-22

Mark 1
16 As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 18 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 19 After going a little farther, he saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons, in their boat repairing the fishing nets. 20 At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers.

Matthew 4
18 As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 20 Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 21 Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and 22 immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Many people really like fishing today, but in most areas, there are fewer who make a living from it. When Jesus spoke of “fishing for people,” that image made a lot of sense to many of the people who heard him. “The abundance of fish in the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee resulted in the fishing industry being a primary source of income for Galileans…. Fishermen from Capernaum were among the first to become followers of Jesus (Matt 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20).” *

  • The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said God would send fishermen to bring back his exiled people (cf. Jeremiah 16:14-16). If we don’t know much about the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), we often miss how much of Jesus’ teaching was rooted in the prophets, the Psalms and other sacred writings. Do you know a lot or just a little about fishing? What parallels can you think of between catching fish and drawing wary or indifferent people to follow Jesus?
  • As we study Jesus’ ministry, we find that he called people to change their work (as in today’s reading), their habits, their attitudes or beliefs, their relationships, even their understanding of life’s ultimate purpose. Is there any part of your life where you believe God is calling you to change something, maybe even “right away”? If so, how much are you responding as the men in this story did?

Lord Jesus, sometimes I’d rather not hear your call. But I have a sense that it’s a bigger risk to miss your call—so keep my ears and my heart open to you and your calling on my life. Amen.

GPS Insights

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Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

This year, I had the incredible privilege to travel to the Holy Land with some of the greatest humans I get to know. Every single moment of it was precious and will forever be treasured deep in my heart, but one of my favorite stops was at the Sea of Galilee, the setting of this week’s sermon and scripture.

Having grown up in the church, I’ve read the gospels many times. I’ve read this specific Scripture many times. Often, I read it without giving it a lot of thought. I likely thought, “Good job, guys. Right choice.” Like it was easy, like it was a small thing.

This trip wholly changed me. When I left for this trip, I was broken, lost, and desperate for Jesus. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, and so many others who were such an integral part of this Great Story, breathed new life into my weary soul and began to piece me back together. As I’ve worked to re-construct, I have found that I have always tended to define myself by my work and the things that I do. I orient myself around work and doing. I think Simon, Andrew, James, and John were likely similar. They were fishermen and this is how both Matthew and Mark described them: “As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen.” Being a fisherman is one of the hardest, most physical jobs there is. It takes all that you have and it’s likely all these men knew. Their lives were oriented around the sea. Can you imagine being asked to just simply drop all of that and walk away? To reorient around a man you don’t yet know? To trust someone so fully? It seems ridiculous.

Work is good and we are called to work. However, when we allow work to define who we are as humans, we are missing out on the unimaginable magnitude of all that God made us to be. As I walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee and the roads of Jerusalem and the trails of Mount Arbel and the hills of the Judean Wilderness, I felt God calling me to soften. I felt Him calling to drop my definitions and my to do lists and follow Him. I felt Him calling me to let Him and others in. And I felt Him telling me that I am worth knowing—all the parts. This was terrifying as it felt like being asked to drop everything and to drop the armor of protection and control I had in knowing exactly who I was and what I was doing. Since then, though, I’ve gotten to know Jesus even better and have grown to trust him more than I could have imagined. He has shown me who I can be and the joy that he has put inside and all around me.

You are made up of a million little sparkles, each one intentionally placed in you to make you who you are, and you are called to follow Jesus. In that, you can use those sparkles to do great things for and with him. Let others see all the sparkles and call out others’ sparkle. Together, we can shine a bright light in the darkness and it is always worth the risk.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* J. Carl Laney, article “Galilee” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.