18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
In the midst of their work, inherited from their father, Peter and Andrew encountered Jesus, who invited them to follow him. They had come behind their father and the tradition of family and its trade, but Jesus invited them to come behind Him, into a new uncertain future, trusting that Jesus would go before them.
- When have you experienced the invitation of Jesus into an unknown future? How did you respond?
- Are there patterns of stuckness you are in because you find security in the unpredictable?
- How does it feel to know that Jesus has gone before you, inviting you to a place that may be unfamiliar to you?
Gracious God, in this world there is much uncertainty and with comes fear and a desire to control our environment with the status quo. But you invite us out of the unpredictability of the status quo to follow you, trusting that you have gone before us, creating a way open and promising to never leave us. Show us where you want to lead us and give us the courage and trust to take the first step. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
Jesus engages these two disciples with a question, what are you looking for? When they ask him where he is staying, rather than answering, Jesus invites them to “come and see.” We too are invited to engage with Jesus with our questions as we follow him by faith, trusting that the answers are often found in the journey.
- How would you answer the question, “What are you looking for?” today?
- Is there something you want certainty around before you move forward?
- What is in in Jesus’ invitation to “come and see” that speaks to you at this moment?
Gracious God, thank you for the invitation to follow you that encompasses not just our minds, but our wills, bodies, and spirits as well. Help us to trust you with our questions and faithfully follow you before we have the answers. Thank you for your invitation to be in relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
What a wonderful invitation from Jesus! We all feel weary and are carrying burdens in some way. We are barraged with new information and the anxiety of the unknown and perhaps in an effort to make meaning, we take on responsibilities that are not ours to bear. Into our weariness and heavy burdens, Jesus invites us to rest. And to take his yoke upon us. We still have things to do, people to keep in touch with, prayers to offer, but as we look for guidance from our gentle leader, Jesus, we find that what is ours to do fits us well.
- What are your heavy burdens today? What does Jesus’ invitation to rest look like as you name them?
- Who are you listening to as you discern what expectations and responsibilities are yours?
- What is yours to do today? How can you bring a sense of rest into your work?
Gracious God – Thank you that you understand that we carry heavy burdens and that we are weary. We see it all around us. Give us the capacity to hear your voice and to discern what is ours to do today. Replace the anxiety of our hearts with your rest and help us to share that rest with those we interact with today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them, and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.
The disciples had gone fishing after Jesus’ crucifixion, doing what was familiar as they pondered the future. Jesus met them there and gave them, experienced fishermen, advice on how to pull in more fish. And it worked. And when they came ashore, they saw that Jesus, their Master, already had fish ready for them to eat. What they brought was a contribution to what was already in place.
- As you ponder this story, what is Jesus already doing in your context that he is inviting you to join?
- Are there people that God is trying to speak to you through that you are resisting because you feel more qualified?
- What can you do this week that would be a step into what God is already doing in the world?
Gracious God, thank you for your boundless wisdom and work in the world. Thank you that just because we don’t understand, you are engaged and already at work, and invite us into what you are already doing. Invite us again to join you and remind us that it is your work that has gone before us and will continue after us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
Have you ever been surprised that someone knows your name? It can feel sometimes like we are anonymous, and our circumstances are unseen by others, especially when they are difficult. But God promises His people, those He created and formed, that they are safe, known, identified as His, and accompanied by Him through “hell and high water.” It is a comfort that invites us to let our trust in God out-sing our fear.
- What causes you fear?
- Which of these promises in this passage cause you most hope? Which is the most difficult to believe?
- How would your life look different if you lived with more trust and less fear?
Gracious God, it is difficult to comprehend that the Creator has His watchful eye and loving hand on our lives. Thank you that you do not make false promises - like we will never pass through high water or fire - but you do promise your presence will be with us as One who knows us and identifies us as His own. Help us to lean into that promise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.