Immediately they left…


Matthew 4:18 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. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 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. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. 

I’m struck today by the immediacy of the disciples response to Jesus’ invitation. In the cases of both sets of brothers we are told they “immediately” left their nets/boat/family to follow Jesus. My initial inclination is to perceive this response as demonstrating remarkable faith, but the more I think about it the more complicated things appear.

One of the commandments is “honor your father and mother”. These disciples would have certainly left father, mother, siblings, spouse, children. Their departure would likely have created some hardship for their families. How does that square with the commandment?

Of course, the invitation was no ordinary invitation. It was an invitation to follow the very Son of God. It’s also clear that Jesus had particular charisma to draw people to himself, people with “ears to hear”. It’s another instance in which Jesus’ teaching/action defied convention.

Lord Jesus, teach us to follow you when you call. Amen.

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