Three weeks ago we heard the story of Jesus’ baptism by his cousin John. You probably remember that John was baptizing people in the Jordan River, and was known as “John the Baptist.” And as John spoke to people he preached: “There is one coming later who is greater than I… …I baptize you with water. But the one who is coming will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus came to the Jordan River from his hometown of Nazareth. When John baptised him,“The Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove. A voice came from heaven and said: ‘You are my Son and I love you. I am very pleased with you.’
This Sunday we will hear more about this story:
After Jesus left the Jordan River he went out into the desert. He was there for forty days and nights. The desert wilderness can be very dangerous, but The Bible tells us that “angels came and took care of Jesus.”
When he left the wilderness, Jesus heard that John the Baptist was in prison. John told his followers to go and follow Jesus. Jesus went into the land of Galilee and preached: “The right time has come. … Change your hearts and lives and [share the good news of God’s love.]”
One day, when Jesus was walking by Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and Simon’s brother, Andrew. They were fishermen and were throwing a net into the lake to catch fish. Jesus said to them, “Come and follow me. I will make you fish for people.” So Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him.
Jesus continued walking by Lake Galilee. He saw two more brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat, preparing their nets to catch fish. Their father Zebedee and the men who worked for him were in the boat with the two brothers. When Jesus saw the brothers, he called them to come with him. They left their father and followed Jesus. – – Mark 1: 12-20. – Adapted from The International Children’s Bible
What does it mean to “fish for people”? Fishermen know how to catch fish, and they know what the fish want: food! Jesus knew that people want to be loved. They want to be accepted just as they are; they want to be connected with others and to be part of a community. Jesus’ gave us two important commandments: he told us to love God, and to love our neighbors. Jesus asked us to be kind to others. Who is your neighbor? Your neighbor can be someone you know, a friend in school, or someone you meet in church. It can even be someone you’ve never met. If you are kind to all people you meet, if you care about others and treat them with respect, then you help create a community of caring.
If you look at the picture above, you can see Jesus welcoming his followers: his disciples. You can see seagulls flying around their fishing boats and can also see James or John waving goodbye to his father Zebedee. Imagine how hard it was for the first four disciples to leave everything they knew.
The Bible contains four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. Each of the Gospels tells Jesus’ story. They are each written by a different person – so they are all a little different. The story of Jesus meeting Simon, Andrew, James & John is an important story and the four Gospels tell more about all of the disciples. This song, Fishers of Men, is based on the story you just read, as it is told in the gospel of Matthew. Perhaps you can listen to it while you are coloring this picture or while you complete this maze which are also called “Fishers of Men.”
At the end of the opening prayer this Sunday Reverend Sue will lead us as we say:
“You call us to bring forward the best of who we are.
As we strive to follow You, help us to support each other
With patience, kindness and understanding,
To worship and serve together in love.”
That is one of the most important ways for us to love God and love our neighbors.
May love patience, kindness and understanding be with us all in the week ahead, as each of us follows our path.