In the current issue of The Upper Room

The Upper RoomExplore the January - April 2019 issue of The Upper Room

If you want to read an extract from The Upper Room, go to Read a sample.

The Upper Room is a unique publication which has a worldwide readership of some three million, with over 70 different editions in 40 languages. Unlike most Bible Reading Notes, the readings and reflections in The Upper Room are written exclusively by the readers themselves who seek to share the insights of their faith with others.

Each day's reading contains a Bible passage to read (you will need to use a Bible), a reflection on the passage and prayer followed by a Thought for the Day and a suggested Prayer Focus for the day. There is also a set of small group questions provided each week to fuel discussions within your house group, with a prayer partner or just with friends in Church.

The Editor writes

In Mark's gospel, we read the short account of Jesus calling his first disciples (Mark 1:16-20). Jesus walks beside the Sea of Galilee, where he sees fishermen Simon and Andrew casting a net into the lake, and he invites them to follow him. A little further on, Jesus sees James and John preparing their nets aboard their boat, and asks the same of them. In each case, the two sets of brothers leave their nets and follow Jesus. James and John also leave their father Zebedee behind in the boat with the other men who work for them.
I wonder what sort of day that was. Was the lakeside noisy, crowded with busy people? Did the sunshine sparkle on the water, so that Jesus had to shade his eyes to see the men clearly? It is interesting to note that all four men leave everything behind 'at once' and 'without delay', presumably with no second thoughts. Had they seen Jesus before this day? Perhaps the four men had listened to Jesus' preaching (see v. 14) and had already warmed to him, so much so that when Jesus invited them to follow him and work with him, they did not hesitate.
For me, the most important detail in these short verses is that Jesus calls the disciples exactly where they are: at work, performing tasks that were part of their daily lives. He did not wait for them to attend the synagogue to see if they were worthy people to join him; he was not interested in their past; he did not look for character references from other people.
How about us? Do we think we need special qualifications before we can be Jesus' disciples: many years' attendance at church, for example, and reading our Bible each day? Jesus might be glad that we do these things, but I think he is more interested in us now, just as we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses. When we have listened to his voice and heard his call, all he wants from us is a positive 'Yes'. Jesus knew the disciples' potential. They were slow to learn, sometimes quarrelsome and prone to letting him down, but Jesus knew what they would become. And he knows the same about us.
The disciples left their nets and former lives behind that day for the biggest adventure of their lives. In this new year, are we ready to do the same?

Susan Hibbins UK Editor

Share this: