Year A – Epiphany 3 – Matthew 4:12-23

Matthew 4:12–23 – Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

Summary – Christ fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 9 as he makes his “base of operations” Capernaum, since this place would be the first place enlightened by the ministry of Jesus. Jesus proclaimed repentance since the kingdom was drawing near in Himself. This passage also describes the call of several key apostles: Peter, Andrew, James and John. Jesus promised to make them fishers of men if they followed Him. This passage also reports the beginning of the healing ministry of Jesus. Jesus went throughout the area, ministering in the synagogues, proclaiming the news of the coming kingdom and “curing every disease and every sickness among the people.” This is the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus after His baptism and testing in the wilderness (Mt. 4:1-11).

Insight – It is interesting that the means God chose of sharing the good news of Christ was a dozen feeble disciples, several of whom were common fisherman. God did not have this news first announced in the centers of power in the world. There was an actual “evangelist” that announced in Rome the “good news” to the people, like an anchorman on the news today who would announce in the public square “news” worthy of proclamation. But the gospel of Jesus was not announced by such an evangelist. Rather, the first proclamation about Jesus after His resurrection was by one of these fishermen who had been given the Spirit and had walked with Jesus. It was Peter who would proclaim, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The effect of the Spirit was recognized: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Such is the work of God in us to take the ordinary and bring about an extraordinary transformation through His Spirit.

Discussion – What are some ways that God changed Peter in order to bring about his transformation to become the Pentecostal preacher and early church leader?

Prayer – O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP Epiphany)

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Year A – Second Sunday of Easter – 1 Peter 1:3-9

Second Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 1:3-9: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith-being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Summary – The apostle Peter writes that we have the blessing of new birth through the resurrection of Jesus. Because of this, we have an inheritance that is kept by the power of God. Through faith we lay claim to  this. Now we can endure trials and suffering for a “little while.” Trials and suffering bring out the preciousness and purity of our faith. It is like refining gold which will result in greater glory. Peter is writing to those as an eyewitness of the resurrection, but the people he’s writing to did not see Jesus themselves. Therefore he encourages them they that can share in the love, faith and joy of the eyewitnesses since they now share in the life of the resurrection.

Insight – The Epistle through Eastertide is from Peter’s first Epistle. He was an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus, despite the fact that Mary Magdalene was the first witness. In 1 Peter’s and indeed every recorded word from Peter (in Acts), he remembers the resurrection.  He summarizes the gospel this way: God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This is because new spiritual life comes as an installment of resurrection life. Christ’s resurrection brought this life into the world as the first fruits of the harvest. Believers are born of God, first, and then resurrected bodily at the Last Day. Christ’s resurrection made this possible. The fruits of a resurrection hope include perseverance in trials – “you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor.” Peter was also mindful, like Christ’s words to Thomas (John 20:29), that not everyone could be an eyewitness to the resurrection. But everyone could still believe in the resurrection based upon credible witnesses, like Peter, John, and even Mary. He says, “though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

Child’s Catechism – How does new life come to us? Through the resurrection of Jesus applied in our lives by faith.

Question to Consider – How does believing in the resurrection of Jesus help you deal with troubles, trials and problems?

Prayer – [Collect for Purity] Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.