“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“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.” (Matthew 4:12 – 16)
There are so many things I want to “unpack” from this verses, I do not know where to start but I am eager to begin! John the Baptist we know had a completely different agenda from those around him. He dressed differently and acted differently, confronting both acquaintances and strangers with their sin and need to repent. He spoke of One greater than him, who he was preparing the way for, and of Whom he was not worthy to untie the sandal of. When he met the Person, he was humbled and astonished by the Magnitude of His Power. And that he, John, must decrease so this Other Person can increase. Who John spoke about was of course Jesus.
Jesus then fulfilled prophecy by moving to a place that formerly had a poor reputation, but by Jesus’ very presence became will known again and filled with Glory. And Jesus himself picked up the message that John the Baptist has started. But . . . . with one slight difference.
“From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Verse 17)
It was again, of course, Jesus’ presence that was bringing the Kingdom of Heaven.
“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. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Verses 18 – 20)
This is a slightly different telling of the calling of Simon Peter. And his brother. But there is the same immediacy of following and the same recognition that Jesus is something (or Someone) completely different that cannot and should not be ignored. I want to remind you, beloved reader, that when Simon Peter felt lost at Jesus’ death and news of resurrection – he picked up his net and went fishing. Again Peter was called away – that time to a whole new life, more different than he ever imagined. I am getting ahead of the present story. But I wanted to let you know that this was the beginning of that new life.
“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. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.” (Verses 21 – 22)
I cannot imagine, in just an instant, leaving family behind. No leave taking, just here and then gone! But we are told that is how the Rapture that signals the return of the Divine will be. People will be going along in their normal lives, and suddenly some will be taken while others will be left behind.
“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.” (Verse 23)
There is difference of opinion amongst people as to whether love “at first sight” really happens. Some believe that infatuation can happen when past experiences and emotions exert great influence on a present moment. Those people say that is not true love. Others disagree and say it is possible that you can fall instantly, genuinely, and permanently in love at first sight. If I were consider the question on just human terms, I would have to agree with those who say it is not possible. But . . . when I consider the question keeping in mind the instant devotion that people have had to the Divine, I might very well say it is possible.
I have heard it said that within every member of humanity there is a longing for the Divine. Some people when feeling it, deny it – to their loss. Other people grasp on to it – maybe not instantly but eventually. There is no doubt that the Light of the Divine puts our lives and the world in a whole new perspective. The question is, what does a person do about it?
John the Baptist ordered his life around it. The disciples rushed to it without much hesitation. I would invite and encourage to think about stories you have heard from believers in your faith circle. Or ask them! And think about your own story. And then consider . . . . are you staying faithful to that Light? Selah!