Sermons 2009
Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany 3B 2009                                                  Mark 1:14-20

 Jesus said to Simon and his brother Andrew, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  Immediately he called James and John and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Today’s gospel lesson is about Jesus’ calling of his first four disciples:  Simon, to be called Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  These four were the ones closest to him, the inner four of the twelve.  They were watermen, these four, from fisherfolk families of many generations.  It took something really significant for them to give up their boats, their nets, their families, their livelihood and their whole way of life immediately.  And to go trotting off – immediately – with this Jesus.

In this passage we get a sense of breathless urgency, of compelling immediacy, that typifies much of Saint Mark’s gospel.  And immediately….and immediately…..  This sense of powerful immediacy gives us also a sense of how powerful a person is this Jesus of ours, that he could compel in a short phrase these four rugged fishermen to leave everything immediately.  And they were off on the world’s greatest adventure:  becoming disciples of Jesus.  Becoming disciples is the key thing.  We are always becoming disciples.

There’s a story about a famous evangelist and preacher who was invited by the bishop of a large diocese to preach at the main Sunday service in the cathedral.  The evangelist was especially proud that his preaching drew large crowds.  Just before the processional the preacher looked around.  The large cathedral was full - - standing room only.

“Just look at these crowds,” said the preacher boastfully to the bishop.  And the added grandly, “Thousands of people to hear me preach.”  The bishop smiled and nodded quietly.

The preacher went on, ‘How many disciples do you think are here, bishop?”  The bishop was a saintly – and wise – man.  He answered quietly, “Maybe four or five.”

Becoming.  Becoming disciples.  All but four or five in that crowd were still becoming disciples and some would never make it.  But we can hope and pray that there were many, even most – who were there that day for a refreshment and refueling stop on the road, on their pilgrim journey to discipleship.

One commentator has observed that discipleship is the place God calls us to, and is the place where our deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. (1)  And another has noted that the most critical thing we can do on our pilgrim journey to discipleship “is to pour our lives into people. Making disciples is the most important task of the church. But it’s so easy to become distracted. Toilets overflow, roofs leak, computers crash, copiers breakdown.”  (2) Vandals break in, parish hall left unkempt – that which takes our energies and attention is numerous.


            For most of us our journey to discipleship doesn’t start as dramatically as it did for Peter and Andre, James and John.  Unlike Saint Paul, struck blind on the Damascus road, our road begins rather more quietly, rather more ordinarily.  Along this journey we may have had one or more mountaintop experiences in which we felt particularly close to the Lord who loves us.


            But most of the time we are ordinary people, ordinary pilgrims, who rise to the occasion when presented with extraordinary events that demand that we take on demanding tasks.  And so Free Health Clinics, Havens, Meals on Wheels, blood pressure clinics and parish nursing, community libraries, cancer support groups, and many such community services are established.  We become disciples who ser our Lord in our service to others and to our communities.


            It is in the ordinary routines of life that the pilgrim journey to discipleship might seem most difficult and most unending.  It is also the time when our pilgrim journey may be most important to our growth in faith and spirit and the practice of the Christian life.


            It is then that we need to be still and listen to the voice of Jesus calling us.  And immediately he called them – and immediately they followed him.






1.  Brent Porterfield and Brett Blair, Illustrations for Epiphany 3B,

            2.  Neal Sadler, When Jesus Calls Illustrations for Epiphany 3B,