Translated by Allan Liang
This word incarnate, full of love and grace - our lord Jesus Christ, after receiving his baptism and enduring 40 days of Satanic temptation in the deserts, he set out to Galilee, beginning to preach of the good news of heaven. He proclaimed: “The time has come, the kingdom of heaven is near; repent and believe the good news.” Afterwards, Jesus began to call his disciples as he went along. Jesus first saw Simon and Andrew, however this was not his first encounter with them, as described in John 1:35-42. Why did Jesus call them? They had no special status in the world; they were mere fishermen. The first disciples Jesus called were all by trade, fishermen. He selected those very disciples not because they were particularly outstanding but rather because of what they would become and what they would do after being trained by Jesus. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Peter and Andrew were formerly disciples of John the Baptist and followed Jesus for a while, but soon returned to their trade of fishing. This time, Jesus called them for the second time, asking them to leave their work at hand and pursue a more worthy vocation, one of bringing people into the kingdom of God. The calling “come and follow me” implied that they were to become apostles of the Lord, and that they were to live with him, learning from his words and deeds, as was the rabanic tradition of the time. The two earliest disciples, as well as the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, responded to the call eagerly, choosing to follow Jesus with a steadfast heart. For these four fishermen, apart from fishing they had no other special skills, fishing was their one and only livelihood. Yet now, they were called to forsake all that which was familiar to them, as well as depart from their family and friends, beginning a new way of living and working that was without prior experience. One could only imagine what great costs and risks this following demanded. Though to man, such an act was risky and could hardly be understood, it was to God, an act of precious faith. Through this, we see the sovereignty of God in his act of choosing and as well, the sense of mission and responsibility in those who have been called. It is natural of man to “desire for fish '', that is, temporary riches, but God desires to make us the recipients of his grace. What is of most importance: for all who follow Jesus, let him become the Lord of your life, then and only then, will you be able to follow him with all of your heart, never to depart from him. Dear brothers and sisters, this is a time in which the world is enveloped by a pandemic, a time in which our lives are being affected greatly and in every regard. We are all facing a special time, but as children of God, the disciples of Christ, how are we to face this difficult time? How are we to trust in God’s outstretched arm, and often in quietness, draw near to the throne of God, take pleasure in the precious words of God, become enlightenment by the spirit and receive from God our heavenly sustenance? “You are to know, in the end times, dangerous days will arrive” (2 Timothy 3:1). In those times, society will unravel, morality will be corrupted, and falsehood will be heralded as truth. In these difficult times, the sources of our spiritual strength are: 1 True faith 2 The gifts of the spirit 3. The word of God 4. The grace of Christ 5. The sanctified life 6. Trust in God’s providence 7. Reliance on God’s faithfulness and power Brothers and sisters, in our times of weakness and despair, let the word of God sound by our ears: “Because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) Please meditate and pray about the following: As disciples of Christ, how great is our faith in God? God has given me life, what do I have to offer to the God who loves me dearly?