Praying the Message of Jesus

Daily devotions and thoughts from Eugene Peterson

January 1

Family Tree

 

The family tree of Jesus Christ, David's son, Abraham's son.  MATTHEW 1:1

 

Three names mark key points in God's salvation work: Abraham, father of the faithful; David, the man after God's own heart; Jesus, the Son of God, who summed up Abraham and David and revealed all that God is for us.

 

Why are ancestors important?

 

You come, Jesus, out of a history thick with names. Names-not dates, not events-signal the junctures in which you single out me and others for personal love and responsibility. Named, I now name your name in trust and grateful­ness: Jesus. Amen. 

January 2

...Who Gave Birth To Jesus

 

Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, Jacob had Judah and his brothers, Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar), Perez had Hezron, Hezron had Aram, Aram had Amminadab, Am­minadab had Nahshon ... Eliud had Eleazar, Eleazar had Matthan, Matthan had Jacob, Jacob had Joseph, Mary's husband, the Mary who gave birth to Jesus, the Jesus who was called Christ. There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, another four­teen from David to the Babylonian exile, and yet another fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Christ. MATTHEW 1:2-4, 15-17

 

The biblical fondness for genealogical lists is not dull obscurantism, it is an insistence on the primacy and continuity of people. Each name is a burnished link connecting God's promises to his fulfillments in the chain of people who are the story of God's mercy.

 

Which of these names stands out for you?

 

Some of these names I don't recognize at all, God. And that is reassuring! I don't have to be an Abraham or a David to be included in this salvation litany. My ordinariness is as essential as another's extraordinariness. Thank you. Amen. 

January 3

By Tamar

 

Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar), Perez had Hezron, Hezron had Aram ... Salmon had Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Boaz had Obed (Ruth was the mother), Obed had Jesse, Jesse had David, and David became king. David had Solomon (Uriah's wife was the mother). MATTHEW 1:3, 5-6

 

Four names in the list are a surprise: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba). Each of these names represents a person who was exploited, or downtrodden, or an outsider-the misused, the immoral, the foreign. Jesus' genealogy doesn't prove racial or moral purity, but redemp­tive range. God's salvation work is inclusive, not exclusive.

 

What do you know of each of these women?

 

Do I have enough confidence, Lord, in your inventive and incorporative will, to believe that you will use unattractive, immoral, and unlovely people as well as the glamorous and virtuous and admirable? That is hard to believe, but the evidence is impressive. Help my unbelief Amen. 

January 4

Forty-Two Generations

 

Jacob had Joseph, Mary's husband, the Mary who gave birth to Jesus, the Jesus who was called Christ. There were fourteen gen­erations from Abraham to David, another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and yet another fourteen from the Babylo-nian exile to Christ. MATTHEW 1:16-17

 

The list concludes with a name (Jesus) plus a title (Christ). The forty-two generations conclude with Jesus, who is given the title Christ (in Hebrew, Messiah), the person whom God anoints to accomplish our salvation. The final name is simultaneously a human life and a divine work.

 

What does the name Jesus Christ mean to you?

 

I see, Father, that you do not simply permit names to accumulate at random, but that you shape lives. There is a design, and there is a goal. Enter my earth­-conditioned existence and shape eternity in me. Amen. 

January 5

The Birth of Jesus

 

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was en­gaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) MATTHEW 1:18

 

There is a combination of old and new in this birth story: traditional angels, visions, prophecies; there is also the miraculously innovative divine Spirit. There are historical data; there is also virginal conception.

 

Why is the virgin birth significant?

 

I am not satisfied with reading about your birth, Lord, I want to be in on it. Take the ancient history of my childhood and religion and put it to use. Make the birth of Christ as vivid and actual in me as it was in Mary. Amen. 

January 6

Joseph, A Noble Man

 

Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant." MATTHEW 1:19-20

 

Joseph thought that "noble" involved doing the proper thing; he was about to find out that it was also being the right person. The word "noble" changes meaning in this event, a change from loyalty to a moral tradition to obedience to a divine person. Faith crowds out duty and wisdom as the dynamic of the "noble man."

 

How would you describe a noble person?

 

Father, there is no way I can respond appropriately to your presence unless you break into my imagination in a dream. I will pray expectantly, open to your vision. How else will I receive guidance for becoming a noble person? Amen. 

January 7

Name Him Jesus

 

"She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus- 'God saves' - because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term. MATTHEW 1:21-22

 

Mary's work was giving birth; Joseph's work was naming. Much attention has been given, appropriately enough, to Mary. But why the avoidance of Joseph? He was set apart for the priestly-poetic task of naming a character and defining a destiny.

 

What does the name Jesus mean?

 

Jesus, your name defines the gospel: not a model that I can admire and fallow, but a Savior entering the world of my troubled heart and doing something­saving me. Amen. 

January 8

The Prophet's Embryonic Sermon

 

This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term: "Watch for this -a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for 'God is with us')." MATTHEW 1:22-23

 

A deep, contrapuntal resonance reverberates between Isaiah's proph­ecy and Mary's pregnancy. Half-formed expectations take shape embryoni­cally. Obscurely imagined messianic hopes get a character and a name.

 

Read and compare Isaiah 7:1-14.

 

There are promises and longjngs out of my past, my infancy and childhood, 0 God, that you fulfill in the birth of Jesus in my life. Complete the fulfill­ment, being with me in your fullness. Amen. 

January 9

He Did...

 

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel com­manded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consum­mate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. MATTHEW 1:24-25 

 

It is one thing to have dreams, another thing to act on them. Joseph both dreamed and acted-a perfect model of obedience. He affirmed the action of the Holy Spirit in his closest personal relationship, he refrained from interfering in the divine process, and he did what he was told.

 

Why is Joseph important in your life?

 

When I observe the action of this mature, free man, Lord-the reckless involvement, the disciplined restraint, the plain obedience, and all of it woven together in one coherent righteous action-I know that I too, can live in daring obedience before you. Amen. 

January 10

Jesus/Herod

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory-this was during Herod's kingship-a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East.  MATTHEW 2:1 
 

The two names, Jesus and Herod, are in contrast. The general (" during Herod's kingship") gives way to the particular ("Jesus was born"). Kingship comes into focus. Rule is personalized. Geography and politics slip into mere background as Jesus centers all history.

 

What are you most interested in?

 

God, when I see how kings and nations slip into the shadows at Jesus' birth, I see that I will do well not to become engrossed in either of them. It will not be by excavating Bethlehem or by analyzing Herod, but by worshiping you that my life will find center and purpose. Amen. 

January 11

A Band of Scholars

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory -this was during Herod's kingship-a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We ob­served a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him." MATTHEW 2:1-2

 

A band of scholars were experts in the movement of the stars and signs in the heavens. Their inquiry thrust the provincial village into a cosmic concern. It was not scientific data they were searching out, but a person to worship. True wisdom is not gathering information; it is adoration of God's revealed truth.

 

What is your favorite story of these scholars?

 

Teach me this wisdom, Lord: I often treat worship as a means to some other end, intellectual or material. But these men didn't come to the Christ as schol­ars to learn more, or as wealthy tycoons to amass more plunder; they came to worship. Amen. 

January 12

He Was Terrified

 

When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified-and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?" They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly." MATTHEW 2:3-5

 

While the magi approached the birth of Jesus with reverential awe, Herod, hearing the news, was full of dread. It is possible to fashion values and goals so defiant of God that any rumor of his reality shakes our foundation.

 

What are your values?

 

Prevent, O God, the Herodian spirit from filtering into my life; the spirit that uses religion to protect itself, and is jealous of any hint of rivalry, responds to your Spirit only with suspicious fear. Amen. 

January 13

No Longer Bringing Up The Rear

 

They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly: 'It's you, Bethlehem, in Judah's land, no longer bringing up the rear. From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel."' MATTHEW 2:5-6

 

Even obscure items of geography-little Bethlehem, for instance-by prophetic designation play their part in the messianic history. The village is now one of the best known on earth. Significance comes not from size but from the Savior.

 

Where is Bethlehem?

 

"O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; 0 come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel. " Amen. 

January 14

Leave No Stone Unturned

 

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I'll join you at once in your worship." MATTHEW 2:7-8

 

Herod, impressive and fearful to his contemporaries, looks merely ridicu­lous to us. His secret, lying intrigues are useless before the ingenuous, unarmed invasion of history in Jesus at Bethlehem.

 

Who, to you, is the most impressive person in current history?

 

I am so used to being intimidated by conspiratorial evil, God, that I lose touch with the reality that your will is done, that your kingdom comes, and that the rulers of this world have very little to say about it, one way or the other. All praise to your omnipotent grace, your eternal love. Amen. 

January 15

The Place of the Child


Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly con­tain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! MATTHEW 2:9-10


The dogma of the astrologer is that stars are impersonal cosmic arrange­ments that determine personal fate; the gospel is that stars are in God's services to "mark seasons and days and years" (Genesis 1:14). This star signals not our fate, but our freedom.


Why were the magi glad?


'I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky­jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro­self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?" (Psalm 8:3-4). Amen. 

January 16

Kneeled and Worshiped

 

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. MATTHEW 2:11

 

The first thing that wise people do in the presence ofJesus is worship: not congratulate themselves on having found him, not ask him questions, not attempt to gee something from him, but offer up themselves to him.

 

How do you worship?

 

In your presence, Lord Jesus, I want my life to be changed from getting things, to giving of myself, so that I may grow into wholeness. Amen. 

January 17

Warned in a Dream

 

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. MATTHEW 2:12

 

A meeting with Herod would have been highly dramatic, just the kind of encounter that journalists delight in covering. Yee there is to be no dissipa­tion of the act of worship in satisfying a king's curiosity, but an immediate return to everyday living in "their own country."

 

What are some results of worship?

 

God, connect the deepening and centering of life that I experience in moments of worship with the routines and duties of my weekday hours so that all of life will be glorified by your presence. Amen. 

January 18

Flee to Egypt

 

After the scholars were gone, God's angel showed up again in Joseph's dream and commanded, "Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him." Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod's death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: "I called my son out of Egypt." MATTHEW 2:13-15

 

Herod's threat, which seems so ominous, was scarcely more than a pretext for accomplishing God's will. The flight into Egypt, retracing the ancient route of redemption, was part of a finely wrought salvation history.

 

What associations does Egypt have for you?

 

Lord, I see that Herod is real enough: He opens scenes, he triggers sequences, but he doesn't cawe anything. Evil can't. Only you, God, cawe, and what you cause is salvation, through Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen. 

January 19

Rachel Weeping

 

Rachel Weeping Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he'd gotten from the scholars.) That's when Jeremiah's sermon was fulfilled: "A sound was heard in Ramah, weeping and much lament. Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace, her children gone, dead and buried." MATTHEW 2:16-18

 

The slaughtered children participated in the messianic birth pangs: Christ entered a world flailing in rebellion. Herod, in a tantrum, hysterically tried to hold on to his kingdom. The voice in Ramah reverberates in history's echo chambers and gets louder every year.

 

What is the worst crime you are aware of?

 

Dear God, so much weeping! Such a burden of lamentation! I will not gloss over the terrible pain and sorrow that comes from vanity and anger but neither will I forget the final word of resurrection. Amen. 

January 20

Herod Died

 

Later, when Herod died, God's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead." Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, "He shall be called a Nazarene." MATTHEW 2:19-23

 

Jesus' life began with men seeking to kill him; it ended in a similar atmo­sphere of conspiracy and violence. But the violence and plotting were as ineffective at the beginning as at the end. The holy family entered the holy land. Salvation gathered to full expression in a nuclear family in a provin­cial land.

 

How many dreams has Joseph had?

 

I trace out of my memory, 0 God, stories that have been fashioned on this old road between Egypt and Israel: stories of Abraham, and of Joseph and Moses; stories of faith and blessing and salvation. Thank you for including me in the stories. Amen. 

January 21

In the Desert ...

 

Preaching While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called "the Baptizer," was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: "Change your life. God's kingdom is here." John and his message were authorized by Isaiah's prophecy: "Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God's arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!" MATTHEW 3:1-3

 

The ancient Judean desert was the site of John's Messiah-readiness preach­mg. Everything is stark in the desert: the life-and-death contrasts, the vividness of minute details, the absence of the superfluous, the emptiness. "Shall we never permit our hands to be empty so we may grasp what only empty hands can grasp?"

 

What does "at hand" mean?

 

In this moment of silence and emptiness, 0 God, I wait and listen. Purge my spiri of sloth and train it in alert, messianic expectation. "In the deserts of the heart let the healing fountains start." Amen. 

January 22

John

 

John dressed in a camel-hair habit tied at the waist by a leather strap. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild field honey. People poured out of Jerusalem, Judea, and the Jordanian countryside to hear and see him in action. There at the Jordan River those who came to confess their sins were baptized into a changed life. MATTHEW 3:4-6

 

John's food and clothing defied fashion. He found his identity not among market-oriented contemporaries, but among God-oriented prophets. John's single-mindedness proceeded from a deep immersion in the prophetic imagination and spirit.

 

Compare John with Elijah the Tishbite (2 Kings 1:8).

 

Lord, are there ways in which I can take the daily necessities of food and cloth­ing and use them to complement and reinforce my relation with you? I will begin by giving thanks for them, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

January 23

Slithering Down to the River

 

When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: "Brood of snakes! What do you think you're doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any differ­ence? It's your life that must change, not Y.our skin! And don't think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it's deadwood, it goes on the fire." MATTHEW 3:7-10

 

Fleeing from wrath is not a gospel. The base lives and cowardly souls of the "brood of snakes" rushed to the Jordan for rescue. But John did not indulge their escapism; he called them to responsible action: "It's your life that must change, not your skin!"

 

What does repentance mean?

 

I am more comfortable, Father, with an image of you as a gentleman farmer, pruning an occasional branch and raking up a few leaves. But you go to the root. I submit myself to your surgery and hope in your salvation. Amen. 

January 24

Ignite the Kingdom Life


"I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama-compared to him I'm a mere stagehand-will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He's going to clean house - make a clec!n sweep of your lives. He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he'll put out with the trash to be burned." MATTHEW 3:11-12


Two aspects of Jesus' baptism are described under the images of wind and fire. The wind brings something to us (the very breath of God), the fire takes something away from us (our worthless sins). Cleaning house is not always pleasant business. But the results are good. Who wants to be mixed with sin forever?


Has your life been swept clean?


I am grateful, God, that you take me with such seriousness and labor over me with such care. I now see myself sifted and cleansed by the wind of your Spirit, ready for use in your kingdom. Amen. 

January 25

Baptized

 

Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. John objected, "I'm the one who needs to be baptized, not you!" But Jesus insisted. "Do it. God's work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism." So John did it. The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit-it looked like a dove-descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life." MATTHEW 3:13-17

 

Baptism personalizes the primordial Genesis beginnings. Just as the Spirit brooded birdlike over the ancient ocean deeps, so the Spirit descending "like a dove" is poised over the baptismal waters. The "it was good" of creation (Genesis 1:10) is completed by Christ as the "delight of my life."

 

What does your baptism mean?

 

I praise you, Almighty God, for speaking creative and eternity-shaping words over me, for showing me the goodness of your creation, and blessing me with the peace of your acceptance in Christ. Amen. 

January 26

He Fasted Forty Days

 

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prayed for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger ... MATTHEW 4:1-2

 

Moses was forty days on the mountain, in preparation for God's revelation; Elijah was forty days in the desert, in preparation for God's still small voice; Jesus was forty days in the wilderness, in preparation for the testing that would qualify him for the work of salvation.

 

What is the purpose of fasting?

 

What testing will you lead me into today, Lord? Prepare my heart so that I will hear your word and be led by your Spirit. Show me how to meet each test with energy and faith, trusting your victory in Christ. Amen. 

January 27

Loaves of Bread

 

... which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread." Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth." MATTHEW 4:3-4

 

Bread, necessary though it is, is not primary: God is primary. Jesus will let nothing, not even necessary things, interfere with that primacy. Jesus will not use God to get what he wants; he submits himself to being what God wants.

 

How do you face this temptation?

 

Not what I want, but what you want, 0 God. Guard me from all temptations to use you to satisjj my earthly appetites. What I want most is to acquire new appetites, a hunger for righteousness, that will be satisfied by your Word. Amen. 

January 28

Top of the Temple

 

For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, "Since you are God's Son, jump." The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: "He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone." Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: "Don't you dare test the Lord your God." MATTHEW 4:5-7

 

Miracles, attractive as they are, are not primary: God is primary. Jesus will not engage in a miracle-making that dazzles and entertains. Jesus will not use God as a means of showing off or attracting admirers. He has far more important things to do, working love and salvation.

 

How do you face this temptation? 

 

Lord, protect me from being distracted by the sensational, from being diverted by the extraordinary. Keep me faithful in the daily round, attending to the common details of mercy and holiness. Amen. 

January 29

The Peak of a Huge Mountain

 

For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth's kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, "They're yours - lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they're yours." Jesus' refusal was curt: "Beat it, Satan!" He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness." MATTHEW 4:8-10

 

Power, important as it is, is not primary: God is primary. Jesus will not negotiate for power, even though he would be able to use the power benevolently. Goodness must not be compelled; love may not be coerced. The kingdom will "only come about through my Spirit" (Zechariah 4:6).

 

How do you face this temptation?

 

Lord, how often I face this temptation, the temptation to make people be good, to force them into the ways of righteousness. I always know so well what is good for others! Forgive me, Father, and give me the quiet, determined patience to love in mercy, to wait in hope. Amen. 

January 30

Jesus Started Preaching

 

The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus' needs. When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah's sermon: "Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, road to the sea, over Jordan, Galilee, crossroads for the nations. People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up." This Isaiah­prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: "Change your life. God's kingdom is here." MATTHEW 4:11-17

 

Thoroughly prepared by the temptations, Jesus began his ministry. Isaiah provided the text, Capernaum the pulpit. The message called everyone to alert response: God was at hand doing the work of making his will a pres­ent reality in salvation.

 

Compare Jesus' sermon with John the Baptist's (in Matthew 3).

 

What power, God, in these words! What life-changing truth, what mercy­releasing grace. I live in your presence, not in the hope of your presence; I participate in what is happening even now, not in what I wish would happen. Amen. 

January 31

As He Walked by the Lake


Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throw­ing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee's sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mend­ing their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father. MATTHEW 4:18-22


Jesus began his work along Lake Galilee, not at the Jerusalem Temple. The world of common work, not the world of religious ritual, was where disci­pleship started. And fishermen, not priests, were the first disciples. Jesus comes to us, where we are, and initiates the work of kingdom-making.


From what does Jesus call you?


As you speak your commands to me, 0 Christ, complete your will in me. Convert me from a way of life bound to things to a life related to persons. The nets have absorbed my attention long enough; lead me into your way of being human. Amen.