The culture in which Jesus was raised saw children aged six start to learn the Torah, the ancient books of the Jewish law. They would learn these by heart. At 10 they would study the rest of the Old Testament which again, they were expected to know by heart.
At 14 the better students would find a rabbi under whom they would study. The rabbis would be looking to get the best student they could. The rest would return to work in the family business and continue to learn the family trade.
In the gospel of today we here Christ saying to Peter and Andrew ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’. The word follow is cruicial here. Christ did not say ‘come with me’ he distinctly said ‘Follow’ no translation of the Gospels has any other word at that point.
Jesus was not seen to come from great academic stock, he was a carpenter, the men he sought to follow him were of a similar ilk. None of them are recorded as having a great academic reputation. The lesson here is that anyone can follow Christ, having all the academic qualifications in the world will not make you a better Christian. An understanding and knowledge of Christ in your head is not Christianity. At a child’s baptism the parents are charged with raising us in the practice of the faith, not the acceptance, knowledge or even understanding of the faith but the practice, in essence, to follow Christ.
And following him does not mean making up your own rules, it does not mean promoting your own (convenient) understanding of Christ’s teaching, it means to do as he did and to be like him, the way I find best to do this is to hold him in my heart and remember I will be answerable to him one day. He will ask me why I treated others badly, he will ask me why I judged people to be unworthy of his love, so I have to remember to follow him.(oh my word is that the best he can do? The poor people in his parish who have to listen to this drivel)