Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus. That feast brought to a close the Christmas season and in doing so brought us to the edge of the path where the next phase of Jesus’ ministry would begin. When exactly did that happen? We don’t know, it might have been a number of days or even weeks or months until Jesus walked by road side or simply a place where he stopped to rest but it was the place and moment chosen by God for the disciple we call John the Baptist happened to be resting with some of his disciples. John happened to look up and watched Jesus walk by and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God”. Two of his disciples heard what he said and they got up and followed Jesus. And that my friends is what the first lines of today’s gospel tell of how the first disciples of Jesus responded to the call to follow the Lord.
What might seem like a minor detail is that one of the two who followed Jesus was named Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter and it was a little later that same day that Andrew told Simon Peter that they had found ‘the Messiah’. Andrew then brought Simon Peter to meet Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon Peter and called him Cephas… which is translated Peter. And these two brothers became the first disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, the work of Jesus wasn’t going to be accomplished all at once. When he would come upon a few or just one at a particular time, the one he called may or may not have responded to the call. That brings us to whether the call that Jesus makes to someone is heard and understood and then accepted or whether that moment is not the right moment for someone to respond and accept the call to follow him.
There is an ancient word from the Greek language, KAIROS, which means time but not time as we count, like the number of days or weeks. KAIROS refers to the ‘right time’ for a person to respond to a call to do something. It became a very important and necessary part of Jesus calling his disciples and the one called to understand the call and know that it is the right moment to accept the call and follow the one who would become the Master.
All of this took place during the first weeks and probably months of the time in Jesus’ life that we call his public ministry. It was a time perhaps of things happening rather slowly but it was a time when things happened according to the grace of the moment when the Spirit would touch the heart of those being called and this would result in a person moving, sometimes physically, and walking and following Jesus into a new mystery of grace and faith.
You know, all of us have been called by the Lord to be his disciples. How have we responded to the Lord’s call? Only each one of us can answer that question. And the Lord may call us more than once in our lifetime. Perhaps the Lord is calling us a new right now. What we must do is pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to encourage us to listen and answer the Lord.
Tomorrow is Martin Luther Kings Jr.’s Birthday. Let us remember him and all he did to promote and secure greater social justice in our land. Thanks be to God!