Sunday 21 January 2024

Bible Book:

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.' (vs 14-15)

Mark 1:14-20 Sunday 21 January 2024

Psalm 62


Mark’s Gospel dives straight into the central issues of Jesus’s significance and of the key issues of his time. It begins with John the Baptist appearing in the wilderness calling people to prepare. John challenges the populace and the authorities, partly by his appearance, but mainly through witnessing to a higher authority than their ruler King Herod. He points people towards Jesus, whose sandals he says he is “not worthy to untie”. He baptises Jesus (see Mark 1:9-11) which feels like a high point, coming right at the beginning of the gospel.

Today's passage opens with “Now after John was arrested”  (v. 14)  which crashes us back to earth. What happened to the energy, the hope? We live in a time of many challenges – wars, nationalism and populism, climate change and species loss.  Is hope crushed so quickly?

I am a hospital chaplain and I frequently work with patients and relatives who are at their lowest points. Chaplains are accompaniers; we are fellow travellers at times of illness and loss. We witness the brokenness of people, but also often their recovery. Encouraging people to tell their stories at their own speed can be very healing. For some, referring to their faith and finding there themes of healing and resurrection can be very profound.

John the Baptist's arrest doesn’t put a check on the energy of God’s kingdom. We read that Jesus proclaims the good news in Galilee. God's kingdom is near and there is good news to discover.

I think of the many who campaign for the environment, who risk jobs and comfort to challenge our short sightedness and I am so thankful and inspired. Jesus speaks of good news first , reminding us of the reasons for hope, even though there seem to be so many reasons to despair.

Like John, Jesus calls us to repentance – to change, to turn. He has come out from temptation and the wilderness, the company of wild beasts and angels. Is it that time of reflection that inspires Jesus? 

His message of good news catches the imagination of Simon and Andrew, the first disciples, who become fishers for people. They reach out to the depths to declare the closeness of the kingdom of God.


To Ponder:

  • Have there been points when your life has changed from despair to good news?
  •  Have you got a sense of where the kingdom of God is near? Do you know places where the kingdom of God seems near? What is special about those places?


We hold before God those who are suffering, who have lost hope or the vision of a new world. In places where sickness or fear seem to triumph, strengthen all who respond with kindness and courage.Through Christ our Lord, Amen. 

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