Today I preached in the cathedral and tried to look at todays gospel reading by asking ‘why?’ Why did these people, who had work to do and businesses to run, just get up and go with Jesus, leaving everything behind to follow him.
We looked a bit at First Century life, taking in how disciples were trained and how rabbi’s selected their followers. Essentially, rabbis didn’t ask people to follow them, they relied on their reputation while expecting people to ask to follow them. Each rabbi would only be interested in taking the best and would grill them with questions looking to be impressed by them before allowing them to become a disciple. Many aspired to be disciples but few attained it, failing at a number of hurdles and so leaving school and returning to the family business … which is where we find these early disciples.
Todays reading shows Jesus turning that whole thing upside down. Jesus the rabbi calls people who are not expecting it. As a rabbi he wants the best. He looks at these men and says ‘I want you’ … i.e. you are the best! These guys had already failed in their quest to become disciples and yet now, Jesus calls them … no wonder they respond immediately!
I ended my talk today by remember ing that since becoming a Christian at the age of 17 I have heard over and over again that I need to have faith, that I need to believe in Jesus and so on and so on. I do. But, here, in this reading, today though we discover something different:
Jesus believes in us!
Jesus calls us because he believes in us.
These early disciples left because they heard the rabbi say ‘I believe in you’ … and Jesus says the same today!
I find that pretty cool!
(just found this from Abbotsford which takes the follow me theme in a different and interesting way)