IN those days, as Jesus walked 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. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. As He went from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.
The first four disciples whom Christ called to follow Him, as we can see, were simply fishermen. And by simply I mean that they were uneducated and illiterate both in religion and in general studies.
It is possible that they had already heard the preaching of John the Baptist, hence they were prepared to accept Christ and His preaching immediately. After all, John's task, as the Forerunner, was exactly this - prepare people for Christ.
Even though, they were prepared by John the Baptist, and even though they were not that learned, Peter, Andrew, James, and John still do something extraordinary - they leave everything behind and follow this Man, Whom they barely know, Who has no power, no money, and even no house. They left their jobs, they left their families, and their hometowns.
Recall last Sunday in the Gospel reading Christ tells us that whoever loves their family and friends more than Him, is not worthy of Him. This coming Sunday we see the first-called disciples act this out. And once again, they do this way-way before they are able to comprehend and realize just Who they are following.
To these illiterate and uneducated men is given the most important task ever given to any person - "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe" everything that Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
These unlearned men, on Pentecost were revealed to be the wisest of all. Christ calls all of us to follow Him, and if we are too attached to anyone or anything, then we are not worthy of Him. Just to be clear, this does not mean that the Lord wants us to abandon our families. He never says that. But if He is our God and Lord and Savior, then He will be more important to us then anyone or anything.
Perhaps some of us are not like these fishermen, meaning, there are those among us who are not uneducated. It's true, there are a lot of very smart and educated Christians in this world. But the call to follow Christ is still the same. Every person that is baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is called to do the same thing - make disciples of all nations, baptize, and teach (that's exactly the Gospel reading for Baptism service).
Just a few more words on what it means to follow Christ. First of all, it means that we acknowledge and confess Him as our Lord and Savior. There is no point in doing anything in Christian Faith if we can't confess Christ as our Savior. Second, accepting His call with humility. Every single one of us has been called to be His disciples. That's why we are baptized - our baptism is a response to this call. As Christ Himself tells us, "You did not choose Me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last" (John 15:16). Third, live a life worthy of this calling, live a life that is a reflection of this calling.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest
29 Weaver Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424
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