Wednesday, September 14, 2011

saying yes to Jesus

In the New Testament Reading today for Morning Prayer we read about Jesus' calling of the first disciples. I've sometimes heard that passage preached about as if he just appeared on the scene, gave them a shout, & they at once followed ... without question, without thought. Up they get from their work, their families, their responsibilities ... and go.

That's a hard act to follow. But I'm not sure that's how it happened. We know that Jesus had begun his ministry before he called his disciples. And we know that the gospels by their nature often compress events. It seems much more likely that Jesus was a familiar figure to his first disciples, someone they had already heard preaching, someone whose teaching they already found compelling. so that when he said to them 'lads, I'd like you to come with me' they were able to say 'yes' knowing full well what they were getting themselves into.

It gives a far more hopeful picture, I think, for those of us who want others to follow Jesus today. We're not trying to persuade them to make some blind leap of faith. We instead want them to listen to what he has to say; we want him to become someone who is a familiar figure in their lives. So that rather than us telling them he is someone they must follow, the day will come when they hear that call for themselves. And it is something they can say yes to.

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