Something to Talk About
April 16, 2016
-by David Creech
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 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 good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
The disciple’s response to Jesus’ call has always kind of puzzled me. To this point there is no indication as to why they would respond so quickly and so completely to Jesus’ invitation. Sure, you and I as readers know that Jesus is special but how do these brothers know? Moreover, how is it that they found the call to “fish for people” more compelling than the economic security that fishing for… um… fish would bring? For James and John, not only do they abandon their economic security, they also leaver their father. How are we to understand this odd encounter?
For one, the announcement that the brothers with “fish for people” is a pretty clear echo of Jeremiah 16:16 that speaks to a time when God will restore Israel. These men are not being recruited to snare men and women but to announce the coming of God’s Kingdom. And in the verses that follow the call we get a glimpse of that kingdom.
What is commonly forgotten about the term “good news” is that it was originally a political term. The good news would be about the emperor and his successes. In the context of Matthew, the good news speaks to Jesus’ announcement of God’s reign. And what does this look like? Those who are oppressed, marginalized, infirmed, and otherwise disenfranchised are healed and empowered. The politics of Jesus are about resurrection life here and now.
Back quickly to the first followers of Jesus—they left everything to participate in this inauguration of God’s Kingdom. The hope and promise of the good news about the restoration of the people of God was indeed something to talk about. How might the good news be proclaimed by us today?
Where do you see God’s kingdom? Take a picture of it and share using the hashtag #SomethingToTalkAbout