Yesterday’s gospel lesson was Matthew 4:18-22:
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 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. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Hearing it threw me back in time about four years to when I was reading the Gospels for the first time in Nashville. I was taking part in a Bible study, and it was also a time of emotional turmoil. I had just gotten to know Jesus for the first time, while at the same time I was coming to realize that most of my formal education had been a waste of time and my research would be useless.
Two things stick out about this passage; stick out so much that it feels somewhat silly to point them out. First is the urgency with which the disciples act. Jesus asks them to follow and they literally drop everything and follow. No hesitation, no looking back, no second thoughts. Second is the fact that this was the start of something huge. We have here a bunch of humble fishermen, uneducated, poor, and with little worldly experience. Out of this ragtag group, Jesus fashioned the beginnings of the Church, which has now covered the world and brought in billions of souls and is still growing. This will always be among my favorite passages because the message is so simple, elegant, and true.
It will also be among my favorite passages because of the way it spoke to back then in Nashville. I had just been introduced to Jesus, and yet a few weeks later I really did drop everything and leave my life behind as I went to follow Jesus. And it was the best decision of my life.