Blessed… But What About Zebedee

As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him (Matthew 4:18-22, Common English Bible).

Until I read this lesson in preparing for this post I had never given much thought to Zebedee, the father of James and John. Losing his primary help, his two sons, had to be a crushing blow to his fishing business. Imagine losing two-thirds of your working ability. Beyond that, Zebedee was not a young man. He had two grown sons. By New Testament standards, that would mean Zebedee was not a young man. His ability to put in a hard day’s work fishing would be severely limited. At best his income would be less. Probably less desirable, he might have been forced into retirement, unable to do the work by himself and unable to afford the cost of hiring additional labor.

That really isn’t what I was thinking about with this story. No where in this reading, or any of the other Gospel accounts does Jesus invite Zebedee to join them on this new adventure. Did Jesus not think he would be a good disciple? Did James and John not want their father tagging along? Was Zebedee too old? Or, is this a case where all Jesus’ words were not recorded by the Gospel writers?

My personal thought is the latter. It makes since that none of the Gospel writers would write down everything that was said and everything that happened over Jesus’ three year ministry. I just can’t see Jesus leaving someone behind who really wanted to go and yet, Matthew’s Gospel, in our lesson for today, clearly says, “…they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Here is the thing. No matter what we do, there will always be someone who chooses not to follow in the way of Jesus. It is unfortunate, but it is also reality. We share. We do what we can. But, in the end, we must respond to the call that Jesus makes on our lives. It may mean we have to walk away.

Though the text doesn’t say this either, I would like to think that James and John maintained contact with their father. I would hope they kept going back and telling him all they saw occur and Jesus’ hand. Then, when the time was right, Zebedee decided to follow Jesus too.

As I see the story playing out in my mind’s eye, Jesus comes and challenges the family to follow him. James and John respond positively but Zebedee stays behind, perhaps even begging his sons to stay with him, he needed them. They recognized their call and walked away to follow Jesus. As time passed, when Jesus and the disciples were at their base of operations in Capernaum they went back to visit their father. He listened as they told him about Jesus turning water into wine. He heard the story of Peter walking on the water. He learned of the many Jesus healed. And in the end, Zebedee accepted the faith and joined into the work his sons had previously accepted.

I realize this isn’t in the story. It is an idea that is purely from my head. But, my understanding is also based on personal experience. When I experienced my call to ministry, my father thought I had lost my mind. I know he did because he told me so. As time went on, however, my Dad came to realize ministry was where I was supposed to be. My dad accepted my call and I believe his acceptance also strengthened his own faith.

When Jesus calls, it makes a difference.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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