Weekly e-Devotion: January 24 Edition

 Matthew 4:12-23

Gospel Lesson for Sunday Jan 26 2020

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 
15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 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.” 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
 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 lake—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him.21As 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. 21Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

   Epiphany is about light penetrating darkness, realization replacing confusion, truth banishing lies. In this week’s gospel passage, Jesus, the great Light of the World, is gearing up to gather his band of brothers to penetrate the spiritual darkness all around him.
    I can imagine Jesus walking along the shore, leaving sandal prints in the sand to be washed away with the tide. We know it was still dark because Simon (Peter) and Andrew were just casting their nets when Jesus showed up and offered them a “new job.” Jesus’ spirit probably outshone the rising sun as he approached them so it would be no surprise to read that the responses to his offer included a repeated use of the word “immediately.” No returning home to discuss with family, no season of pondering pros and cons…just the immediate response to the great light that had dawned on them.
For whatever reason, Zebedee stayed in the boat as his sons, James and John, left to begin a brand-new journey.  It is intriguing that he didn’t join them and we have no idea why he didn’t. Whatever the reason, Matthew leaves Zebedee in the boat which suddenly, to me, seems like a perilous place to be. And yet, how many times have I chosen to stay in the boat, seasick as I might be, rather than dock the leaky boat of my selfish life, step out on terra firma and begin a journey of unknown dangers (and unknown joy) with God?
Discipleship is not something we can understand from the beginning.  It unfolds for each of us in a God-ordained way. If they had known “the end from the beginning,” who knows what they would have chosen. But Jesus’ beckoning must have been exactly what these men had been seeking.  Their immediate response is the essence of repentance, which is not necessarily an emotion of sorrow for sins as it is a decision to change our minds, hearts and life directions.
Being a fisher of men and women is not on a list of optional spiritual practices; it is the heart and soul of any disciple of Jesus Christ. And each one of us is worthy of that call, regardless of what we are doing when we hear it.  It doesn’t depend on our talents, our good looks, our bank account, or our current profession.  It depends on the grace of God and God’s desire that each of us abandons our leaky, self-driven boat and joins him on the most amazing journey there is. My prayer is that I will receive each day the strength of will to untangle myself from the things of this world—to leave my ensnaring nets—and experience the exhilaration of simply following the Lord out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
As with anyone who spends enough time with someone, the disciples began to take on the attributes of Jesus so that he could tell them (and us), “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).” What darkness is God calling you to pierce today?   

e-Devotion author: Nance Wabshaw.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan Hoeger at dhoeger@allsaintsphoenix.org or 602.866.9191.
The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website.


Heavenly Father, give us, each day, the strength of will to untangle ourselves from the things of this world and follow you out of darkness into your marvelous light. Amen.

Our pastors and other program directors are here to help nurture your faith journey anyway possible. Our staff can be reached by calling the church office at 602.866.9191.

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Jan 26
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
Click HERE to read
Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:1, 4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23 *

Feb 2
4th Sunday after Epiphany
Click HERE to read
Micah 6:1-8

Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

* eDevotion Bible text(s)




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