Monday, August 14 - Fishing For Resistance
As he 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 he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately, they left their nets and followed him As he went from there, he saw two other brothers. James, son of Zeb'e-dee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zeb'e-dee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
I can't wait for you to (watch) this week's essay, a sermon by Terry Wilson. In it, she talks a little about this moment when Jesus calls the first disciples, and how odd it really is (you'll have to watch to understand what's so weird about it!). As I began to study for this devotional, however, I came across an interesting note in the scholarship around this verse: fishermen were despised. I knew tax collectors were not popular people, but I never knew that about fishermen.
It turns out that fishermen were part of a larger social and economic system that had deep ties to the Roman empire, a kinship-based guild of peasant workers, and employed a rough and tumble kind of skilled tradesmen. Fishermen worked at night, often swam with the fish they caught, and probably smelled really bad. But not only that -- their work supported a system that economically flowed up, supporting the elite class and feeding into their love of indulgence and opulence. This makes their call even that much more interesting, that Jesus would disrupt this economic and social system by pulling these men out of this empire system, and into his ministry. As we look at the scripture of their call and the beginning of Jesus's ministry this week, keep this question in mind: How do the very identities of Jesus' disciples subvert the evil empire?
In both instances, in the call of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and then the call of James and his brother John, the Rabbi calls and they immediately, without question, follow him. Was it raw magnetism of Jesus? Or had they heard of him, perhaps from his baptism, when John the Baptist saw the Spirit descend upon in? What do you think made them follow immediately, leaving behind everything they knew, including their membership in the family guild, and everything that meant economically for them?
What would it take for you to immediately turn and follow Jesus? What impact would that have on your everyday life?