Lessons: Matthew 4:12-23
The Bible is full of scary stories. Stories full of violence, intrigue, betrayal, generally despicable behavior; stuff we rarely read in church and with good reason. When I hear someone’s planning to read the entire Bible cover to cover, I often quote Mark Twain. Responding to a letter suggesting that Huckleberry Finn belonged in the children’s section of the library, Twain wrote, “I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn for adults exclusively, and it always distresses me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean; I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again this side of the grave.”
Of all the Bible’s scary stories, perhaps this morning’s text in Matthew’s Gospel is more disturbing, more terrifying, to the average Christian sitting in the pew than any of them. I’ve always wondered what Zebedee said to his wife when he got home from work that day.
Zebedee trudges into the house, shouting his usual, “Honey, I’m home!”
His wife shouts from the kitchen, “Oh, hey, Zeb; dinner’s almost ready.” She looks up and does a double take. “Wait a second. Where are the boys?”
“Um ….” How did he explain to her that they jumped up and left him in the boat to follow Jesus, the carpenter’s son? How did he explain that they seem to have left the family business? How does he explain that they won’t be home for dinner, and he’s not sure when – or if – they’ll be home at all? Read more →