The Gospel text appointed for this week has allusions to many, many stories throughout the Bible. We will not be able to do justice to them all. The Spirit who has just alighted on Jesus in the baptismal scene now leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days and forty nights. The wilderness, of course, was the arena of temptation of Israel of old. Even the numbers match up: Israel was in the wilderness for forty years. Moses is also attested to have spent forty days and forty nights being tested by God: Deuteronomy 9:6-12, Exodus 34:27-28.
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As Jesus calls his disciples it seems like he has a criterion for the people with which he wants to surround himself. It may not always be obvious in the Biblical account, but Jesus is careful to choose people who are really committed to his message. With their help, Jesus will be able to do more and spread the word about God farther.
There are always difficulties in Christian ministry, at whichever level you're involved in it, from church cleaner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. There's always someone who'll find fault, and if like the Archbishop, you're a subject of media interest, then I should imagine Christian ministry can be very difficult indeed and perhaps something of a burden.
In today's Gospel text, Jesus calls for repentance, expects Peter and Andrew to drop their nets and follow him, and calls James and John to leave their Father Zebedee in the boat without so much as a "So long, see you later."
My task today is to issue that same call to repentance, that same call to radical obedience and decisive discipleship. For that call is urgent and cries out to be issued in all of its majesty and might.