Rev.  Jan Bihl
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Introduction to the Reading

At Sunday service in the church last week we had the experience of baptizing a beautiful baby girl – a sacrament in which we participated and felt the Holy Spirit’s Presence.

We heard the story of Jesus’ own baptism experience with water, the witness of Earth -  and with the Holy Spirit, the witness of Heaven, through which Jesus completely identified with our humanity.

This week we will hear about Jesus calling his first disciples. But some significant things happen before that. After his baptism, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit, to the desert, where he fully identified with us in facing temptations, those deceitful suggestions that try to distort our true vocation that is always in relationship with God as our true north.

Next, empowered through the baptism experience and tested, confirmed and strengthened through the temptation experience, Jesus gets ready to call disciples to join him in building a new, loving community in a conflicted and divided world. This will be a community that brings people to God, trusts God completely, and is committed to living from God’s word and not by bread alone.

And so, directly after the temptation in the desert, when Jesus finds that Herod has imprisoned John the Baptizer, he returns to live in Galilee, by a lake in an area that echoes the prophet Isaiah 9: 1-2:

 ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
   on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 
 the people who sat in darkness
   have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
   light has dawned.’ 

 This is the context and setting as Jesus begins his ministry, announcing the Kingdom Reign of Heaven in Matthew 4:17-22. How will we join him in our time and place?

 The following Scripture will be used  in our 10 am Worship Service Sunday January 22, 2017

Matthew 4:17-22

17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 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. 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 4:17 Or is at hand