The gospel for this coming Sunday (Third Sunday after the Epiphany) is Mark 1:14–20. This text has two narratives: Jesus beginning his earthly ministry as John is arrested and Jesus calling his first disciples.
There are some common threads in the calling of his first disciples (Andrew, Peter, James, and John). He finds them alongside the Sea of Galilee. They were fishermen. He called them and they followed.
Jesus’ practice contrasts sharply with that of other rabbis who were chosen by those who wanted to follow their teaching. Jesus, however, chose those whom He wished to follow Him. (TLSB) Jesus makes this clear in John 15:16: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
When Jesus says, “I will make you,” it means “I will cause you to become.” The initiative for the action comes from the outside. It is all God’s work with nothing needed from us. I find this very comforting because if it were up to me, I probably would have messed it up.
He does it all as Ephesians 2:8–10 states. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God. Not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We are totally covered by his saving grace. We are specially handcrafted for what our Lord wants us to do. And when we walk around the opportunity set up for us, he forgives us and gives yet another possibility.
They complied immediately. This word occurs throughout Mark’s Gospel. He is an author whose writing expresses a real sense of urgency. He wants to get the Good News out quickly. What caused their immediate response? They had heard the Gospel of God. They knew the opportune time had come.
While we are not apostles, we too, have been called to be his disciples to share the saving news of Jesus’ salvation work. It isn’t always easy. These disciples were surrounded by unbelievers, and we too, live in an anti-God society. But, God has done it all for us and continues to be with us in every situation.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for calling me into your work of reconciliation. Help me to not shy away from your calling or even delay following your directives. Thank you for being my strength in all the situations into which you place me. Amen