Christ Calling St. Peter and St. Andrew (1681)
from a series Signs of the Zodiac
by Diego Quispe Tito
public domain

Epiphany 3, Mark 1:14-20

Historical Background:

Diego Quispe Tito, a Peruvian painter, created a series of paintings, Signs of the Zodiac.  This series was based on Flemish engravings by Adriaen Collaert that joined each sign of the zodiac to an event in the life of Christ.  By recreating this series for display in Peru, Tito invites the viewer to worship Christ and his work instead of astrological powers.  In this painting for Pisces, a water sign, one sees a radically expansive vision of daily life over which the stars were thought to have influence.  There in the corner of the painting, however, Christ, the true Morning Star, does his work.  He enters into the daily life of Peter and Andrew and transforms it, bidding them to come and enter the kingdom of God.  This painting captures the way in which Christ enters into daily life and changes it, for him, for us, for ever.

Devotional Reflection:

What if the gospel reading for this Sunday went something like this . . .

“Jesus saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’  Then Peter responded, ‘Just a minute Lord, let me go ahead and drag these nets back onto the shore before we go.  We’ll fold up the nets and I’ll get a small boy to carry them back to my house.  I’ll also make sure he tells my family where we’re headed.  Do you know when we might be back, I don’t want to be too late for supper or the wife will worry?  Don’t worry though, this will just take a minute or two and then we can get on our way.’  So Jesus folded his hands together, politely smiled and said, ‘No problem, I understand.’  Then Jesus, afraid he may have inconvenienced Peter said, ‘Oh, I hope this isn’t too much of a bother.  I feel bad asking you to bring your nets back in after you just threw them out.  Would it be better for you if I just came back tomorrow or maybe we could find a time when you’re not too busy with fishing.’”

Needless to say, the above story is not recorded in any Bible I’ve ever heard of, however, it would be a more normal thing to hear.  The Bible’s version is very radical to say the least.  Jesus calls, the apostles obey, and they literally leave the net they just threw out in the water and walk away from it.  This is crazy stuff.  This is not how we normally live our lives.  There is no planning, there is no preparation, there is no discussion.  Christ calls, the apostle’s follow, and an old way of life is left behind.

Christ has called out to each and every one of us in baptism and through His Word to follow Him.  This calling does not always fit with our schedule.  This calling is rarely convenient.  This calling challenges us to drop things that we have carried for years or maybe our whole lives.  Following Jesus sometimes means trouble for our family or friends, it sometimes means our cherished lifestyles must be changed for a new “Christ-style.”  Christ’s call to us is nothing more than life changing.  Andrew and Peter could have told Jesus to wait, or to come back later, or to never come back at all.  But they didn’t.  They heeded Jesus’ call to have new lives led by Jesus, to live new lives guided by Jesus’ hand, to forfeit their own lives for this new life Jesus was promising them.  To follow Jesus can be frightening, it can be scary to watch Jesus to change our lives.  But who is better to guide our lives than the One who is able to not only guide us through both life and death and into a new eternal life?

<·· Previous
Next ··>