The “Second Week”: Week Fifteen/Session Three.
Theme: The Call of Christ, Our King.
Our reading for today: Matthew 4: 12-25.
When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, He returned to Galilee…He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s Kingdom is here.” Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with Me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.
From there He went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s Kingdom was His theme—that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4: 12, 17-25 MsgB)
For my wife and I, there’s nothing quite better than that first cup of hot flavorful coffee, made from freshly ground Colombian beans. The rich cream swirling on the top of the caramel color as this heavenly aroma whiffs to my senses. It’s this first cup of coffee that Sandy so graciously brings to me that serves as my morning wakeup call. As I sit in my armchair, opening up my computer, readying myself to write yet another morning blog, that cup of coffee calls me to awaken once more to yet another wonderful opportunity to sit before God’s Word, pondering its’ powerful meanings, applying its’ amazing truth to my broken and scattered life.
As I see it, so it is with Jesus and His invitation into the in-breaking Kingdom of God!
You see, when Jesus begins calling men and women into His Kingdom ministry, as He is found doing here in today’s passage in Matthew, all heaven begins breaking out around them! People begin being healed and delivered. Crowds begin gathering to be close the Master. Good news of hope and deliverance is brought to those who have only been hearing bad. And God’s love and salvation is brought to a dark and dying world.
To Jesus, an invitation into God’s Kingdom is like walking through an open-door that leads to God’s in-breaking power. It’s an invite to experience God’s heaven and all of its’ power and glory here and now. Heaven intersecting earth. God’s light breaking-in on this world of darkness. The future glory of God’s eternal rule and reign, stepping out of the future and crashing in on today’s dullness and despair.
And it’s apparent from this Gospel text that for those who were awake enough to accept Jesus’ invitation, they were about to experience the ride of a lifetime. A journey so dramatic that everything about these guys and gals, inside and out, would radically change. Some will go from being fishers of fish to becoming fishers of men. Others would walk away from a life of tax-collecting to collecting souls for God. For some, even their names would change (i.e. Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul) as they all walked out their response to Jesus’ personal invitation to “Come, follow Me.”
In other words, just as a cup of rich, embodied coffee offers a vibrant, wake-up call to a sleepy, drowsy man, so Jesus’ invitation into God’s in-breaking Kingdom brings life where there was once only death.
“Change your life. God’s Kingdom is here.”
Hmm. Amazing how one short phrase like this, when spoken by the King of Kings, can be used so radically by the hand of God to transform a man or woman from the inside out!
My prayer: Jesus, awaken me to the unique Kingdom invitation You are extending to me right now. There is a job to be done across the earth and now is the time for that job to be attended to. You have died on the cross for the ultimate victory. Now that I know this, how can I sit still waiting for something more before I rise up and walk, following You and Your Kingdom, for Your name’s sake? Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where has drowsiness and sleepy attitudes kept me from the Kingdom task at hand? How am I ignoring the unique time I live in, deferring to others my job of being a Kingdom-based believer? What pro-active Kingdom-glorifying task is Jesus awakening me to? How can I act on that assignment today?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.
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