31 December 2015Mark 1:14-20
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (v. 15)
Psalm: Psalm 150
But, at the other end of the country from John's baptism site, in the North, the stranger reappears. He was a Northerner, but no one knew who he was, where he came from or what was special about him, until they met him. His name was Jesus, and he probably had olive skin, was mid-height with dark hair, a warm smile (except when callousness and inhumanity made him really angry) and a twinkle in his eyes. He started preaching in the Northern towns:
don't worry about religion
or the temple.
Meet God for yourself.
God is interested in you.
God is close,
God is opportunity,
you're looked down on by the sophisticated Southerners, the religious elite.
They despise and exploit you, calling you,
peasants, roughnecks, 'ethnically mixed',
multicultural misfits, coarse Northerners.
God is including you now,
it's not about power and priesthood.
You don't feel welcome in the city,
but God welcomes you.
You could see that he really meant it in his eyes, his smile, his body language, his arms open wide, his heart full of love.
He began collecting the working class as his followers - fishermen, farmers and a freedom fighter (not a good idea). He walked up to the fishermen, as if he was going to buy some fish, and said, 'Drop your nets! Fish with me!' He said it gently and didn't even wait for an answer. They dropped the lot. He walked up to the next group and said the same thing. They abandoned everything, they didn't even say goodbye to their father.
- What does the gospel (good news of Jesus) sound like to you? Who is it for?
- What does it mean to you to 'follow' Jesus