- Isaiah 9:1-4
- Psalm 27:1, 5-13
- 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
- Matthew 4:12-23
We begin to focus on mission, ministry, and discipleship in our readings during this season of Epiphany. Just as Jesus called his disciples (followers) who became apostles (ambassadors) after the resurrection, he calls men and women to be his followers. In our baptism we too are called by the Lord to point beyond ourselves to God’s eternal presence in creation. By our baptism we are called into discipleship.
Today’s Gospel is broken into three parts: the beginning of the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 4:12-17); the call of the first disciples (vv. 18-22); and a summary passage on the mission of Jesus (v. 23). Following his baptism and time of temptation in the wilderness, Jesus is filled with God’s Spirit and ready to begin his public ministry. He leaves his home in Nazareth and moves to Capernaum on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the synoptic gospels, all of Jesus’ ministry takes place in Galilee until he travels to Jerusalem for his final days, but Matthew mentions the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, fulfilling the prophecy we hear in today’s Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 9:1-2.
The expression to “fish for people” is unusual; it recalls Jeremiah 16:16, in which the prophet declares, “I am now sending many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them.” The response of Andrew and Simon are immediate – they leave what they are doing so that they may make haste to bring others to God; their new vocation is discipleship. A short time later, James and John join Jesus. It is interesting to note that their father, Zebedee is not included in Jesus’ invitation, or that he does not choose to follow with the others. H. King Oehmig (Understanding the Sunday Scriptures: Year A, 2007: ReadMarkPress) suggests that “God calls all to salvation, but often to different vocations. Zebedee and his crew are to go on securing food for others, which is a vital and honorable occupation. But James and John possess other capacities that Jesus will train and refine for God’s service.”
Questions for reflection:
- What are you doing in your daily life as a service to God?
- As disciples of Jesus today, what is our role in proclaiming the good news?
- What are some of the ways you are called to follow Jesus?
- Epiphany’s Epistle: 1 Corinthians (prayerbookguide.wordpress.com)