Jesus Called And They Followed

As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. After going a little farther, he saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons, in their boat repairing the fishing nets. At that very moment he called the. They followed him. Leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers.
~ Mark 1:16-20

They didn’t ask questions. That’s what always astonishes and terrifies me about this story from Mark. Jesus shows up by the Sea of Galilee, calls out to Simon Peter and Andrew, tells them he’s going to upend their lives and give them a new vocation, then commands them to follow him without a backward glance or a thought for the family fishing business. Mark records no questions asked by either of the fishermen. In space of one more sentence, Jesus issues the call to James and John with the same results. In a flash they’re out of the boat and following Jesus.
~ Cynthia Anderson

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
~ John Bell

What do you suppose the families of these men thought when they went off to follow Jesus? Without a backward glance they left their boats and their means of livelihood. Is this what Jesus expects of us? But notice that Jesus called these men by name. How do you think that happened?

In scripture, God’s call is often dramatic or sudden. But for most of us, God’s call comes in quieter ways and simpler situations. We can hear God’s call if we believe we are worthy of such. God’s call can happen over and over again, for as our lives change so do our calls. God is calling us to be loving and caring persons; to offer hospitality to strangers, to show compassion to the oppressed, to be revolutionaries who assist in turning the world upside down advocating for justice and peace. What is your call? What is your answer?

Would I have answered when you called, “Come, follow, follow me?”
Would I at once have left behind both work and family?
Or would the old, familiar round have held me by its claim
and kept the spark within my heart from bursting into flame?
~ Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward, except that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Ignatius of Loyola

God of grace and God of power,
grant us in this burning hour
grace to ask these gifts of thee,
daring hearts and spirits free.
God of love and God of power,
thou hast called us for this hour.
~ Gerald H. Kennedy

These reflections are for use during the week of January 24-30, 2021 and based on the lectionary for January 24.

Joyce D. Sohl


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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