Sunday 26 January: Matthew 4:18-21 Matthew 4:18-214:18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the sea with their net, for they were fishermen. 4:19 And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.' 4:20 And at once they left their nets and followed him. 4:21 Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. ContextJesus had gone from Galilee to John the Baptist to be baptised (3:13-17). After that he withdrew into the desert for forty days (4:1-11). When he ended his retreat in the desert he heard that John the Baptist had been arrested. For Jesus it is the sign to go back to Galilee (4:12). He settled in Capernaum beside the lake (the Gospel calls it ‘sea’) and started to preach (4:17): ‘Repent...’ Better translated, ‘Think differently. The kingdom of Heaven is near.’ InformationGalilee is in the north of Jesus’ country, Palestine. Almost sixty miles away from Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the religious centre. There stood the temple with its Jewish rituals, with the High Priest, the temple priests, the classes of Scribes, Elders and Sadducees. There was the seat of the Roman governor. And the palace of the Jewish vassal king Herod.Galilee was considered by all these persons as a heathen province. Surprising. Jesus doesn’t call his disciples from among the learned rabbi schools, but from among ordinary, simple people. Picture Meditation The artist composed the scene in a wide circle. In the foreground Jesus, in red, with his feet in the water, rising up high, his head into the light of heaven. With his left hand he invites the two fishermen to follow him. The left one, in blue, is Peter. According to tradition he had his hair and beard shaved in a circle. His hands seem to loosen the net already. His brother Andrew, in white and yellow, still grasps the net tightly. Both of them give the impression of being tired. Did the artist think of another text in the Gospel of Matthew (11:28): 'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest’? They are standing with their feet in the water as well. They don’t have a boat. Poor fishermen? Was I ever before in my life in a situation like theirs? With his left hand Jesus is pointing to the fishes: ‘I will make you fishers of people.’ These people are pictured all around the scene. What are they doing? Am I among them? Far away, above the house in the background (Jesus’ house?) and above the left arm of Jesus, I see soldiers... Why are they there? At the top left Jesus - with Peter and Andrew! - is calling the sons of Zebedee. They have a boat. Richer people. Their net touches the net of Peter and Andrew. The effect is that both nets at the left side of the picture seem to be on their way to catch the people around on the right side. With whom in the picture do I identify myself? For what reason? I have a talk with Peter and Andrew; with James and John; with their father Zebedee; with one or more people around; and at the end I have a talk with Jesus.