Sunday

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’” (v. 14)

Mark 1:14-20 Sunday 21 January 2018

Psalm: Psalm 62


Background

It is commonplace in today’s world to read about a satellite navigation system sending a credulous driver down a very unsuitable road. Sooner or later a change of mind, a change of direction, is the only option open – only sometimes it isn’t an easy option at all. Costly machinery has to be called in to extricate people from the folly of taking their satnav directions without due care.

Today’s passage brings us back to language we can understand. Repentance may be a word that is unfamiliar in our world, but the idea behind it is certainly accessible. If we head down the wrong road, the best thing to do is to repent – change mind, change plan, change direction, and go a different way.

The narrative goes on to record the occasion when Jesus summoned four fishermen to change the direction of their lives entirely. The way this story is told invites us to believe that this meeting was the first between Jesus and this little group of fishermen. Some scholars suspect, however, that behind this episode lies a growing friendship and perhaps even a prearranged plan; perhaps this call was an awaited signal that the time had come for action, turning the plan into reality.

Whichever interpretation we find more persuasive, there is a reminder that our lives, the life of our church and even the life our nation can sometimes need a mid-course correction. Such a change may be dictated by simple prudence that resonates easily with human wisdom. But sometimes the change called for is dramatic and challenging, imbued rather with the voice of courage and daring. Follow me!

In a somewhat different way, Psalm 62 drives us further along the same road: learn to see the world, its ‘celebs’ and its incessant tremors of anxiety, as with the eyes of God. It’s a radical challenge for us.


To Ponder

  • Those first disciples appeared to be free to respond to Jesus instantly, setting other obligations to one side. In today’s world, it is much harder to respond in such a radical way. How can you still respond to the summons of the kingdom?
  • Psalm 62 refers to the ways in which humans regard one another as of high or low estate, contrasting the kingdom view which urges us not to think in that sort of way. How do you respond?
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