I've always really liked the individual callings of Jesus' disciples callings to join him, and Jesus has always really liked to these exchanges to inspire, convict, and motivate me. Most likely they knew of Jesus when they were called, surely news had spread of the radical man stirring up trouble and preaching ridiculous parables. But each story gives the impression that they did not by any means know him personally. Yet they would drop everything--their means of living, family, friends, and...everything to follow this man who promised a different life? a different way to live life, more accurately.
I am soundly ashamed after reading the callings of the first disciples, every single time. Perhaps we all should. While I was in Romania, I poured over anything about the apostles, trying to learn more about their journeys. It wasn't like I was anywhere near being a disciple myself while I was in Europe this summer, but as the Lord refined me, and called me away from many things I was attached to, I was motivated by the obedience of the twelve disciples in their immediate response. I didn't want to gnash my teeth and wail--which I was--, I wanted to be more like them, and taste a bit of the radical living that accompanies us when we're walking in the Lord's set path for our life.
Today, however, as I read over the same passages, I got something so different out of it.
Let me set the scene: Not many people moved around in those days ("those days" meaning before A.D.), and usually the village you lived in had also been home to a huge chunk of your families lineage. But not just you lived in this village. So did your entire family (extended a lot of times, too), and friends. And acquaintances. And oh yes, the pesky neighbors who there was no chance of leaving since they had been there for a hundred more years than your own family. Darn. They didn't switch jobs like we do now, they learned a skill at a young age and stuck with it. They didn't get divorced, either; so unless your spouse randomly died, that arrangement wouldn't change either.
Can't you just imagine what it would have been like to be Simon or Andrew? They went to school together every morning, which was at the synagogue. Then they graduated once they were like, what? fifteen? sixteen? They were then apprenticed in catching fish (if you can even be an apprentice in that skill), and soon enough had their own small boat and crew. They lived in the same village their entire life, and probably from their childhood days had learned all the shortcuts and alleyways during games with the other village boys. Their routines probably stayed the same everyday, from their house to the docks, and back. Maybe a stop here and there to talk to an old friend of the family, or off to the markets to sell their days' catch. A lot of people would know them, if not by name, by sight. But everyone knew everyone back in "those days" in those small villages (you can thank the bored, gossipy wives and those pesky neighbors whom will never move for that). Things probably never changed in a drastic way for either brother, and if life had went on in that way, it never would.
It didn't go on that way, though. On one day, just like all the others, while walking the very same streets they did nearly everyday (except the Sabbath), Jesus literally got in the way. They had an encounter...with God's Son made flesh. (Wait, wait, it gets crazier.) And oh yeah, he wanted to talk to them.
As I saw all of this for the first time, this, this unpredictability of Christ and the way he moved, I became so...excited. Maybe that's too understated... Invigorated is closer to it. Yes, invigorated. Here were these two men, just going through the motions of a day that would be exactly like the one before and the one to come. Just walking down the same streets they always did, and then they encountered the Son of God, or the Son of Man as he preferred.
If Simon and Andrew could have such an encounter with Jesus on their way to do what? Catch FISH? How else might God show Himself to us when we least expect it? I can't wipe the smile off my face as I now realize that whenever I step out the door, maybe to go babysit or drive with my dad ("drive" = nearly head-on hit a Jeep and then tree simultaneously; it's not pretty), or go shopping, or play practice, or something just as day-to-day...I could experience God in the flesh. It's kinda radical.