Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
-Matthew 4:20
Peter and Andrew are fishing when Jesus calls them. They leave their nets and follow him...immediately! I would imagine with most people, assuming they were inclined to accept Jesus' call to follow him, would say something like, "OK, fishers of men, that sounds good. We'll be done here about five..." But, no, Peter and Andrew followed immediately. They left their nets even. Did they even take the time to haul them in and put them away? The text makes it sound like not. It's quite remarkable.

Chapter one of Genesis tells us God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Jesus' calling of Peter and Andrew is like that.

In Pia Desideria, Philip Jacob Spener reflects that the Jews of his time couldn't believe that the Christians really thought Jesus was God because the Christians did not obey Jesus' commandments. It's a very profound insight. The Jews obey God's commandments because they are God's commandments. Christians....? Jesus himself asked, "Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, but don't do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)

Is it because we have some uncertainty about who Jesus is? Protestants often approach the question of obedience to God's commandments from the perspective of debating what we are required to do. But if Jesus is who we say he is, and here I don't simply mean "if he is God" but rather "if he is the Good Shepherd who calls to all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens promising them rest"...if that's who Jesus is, why would we hesitate to do everything he says. I think, for me at least, it's because I'm afraid to give up control like that. I'm afraid it won't be as good as what I would choose for myself. I know that's ridiculous, but that's the way the human mind works, isn't it?

In the prologue to his Rule, St. Benedict says, "Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love."

Lord, grant me that kind of faith!

No comments: