Sunday 25 January 2015

Bible Book:

“And immediately...” (v. 18)

Mark 1:14-20 Sunday 25 January 2015

Psalm: Psalm 62


Prior to these verses, in the 'prologue'section of Mark's Gospel, John the Baptist served as Jesus' warm-upact, preparing a way for the Lord. Now, after John's arrest fordaring to criticise the king's decision to take his brother's wifeas his own (see Mark 6:17-18), Jesus provides his ownintroduction to his ministry - "The time is fulfilled, and thekingdom of God has come near" (v. 15). This is the beginning of aministry (outlined in the first half of Mark's Gospel) in whichJesus demonstrates his authority over established laws andboundaries - the powers of sickness, demons and even nature itself.Before this first chapter draws to a close, Jesus will already have"cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out manydemons" (Mark 1:34) - actions that would serve as thegrand finale of any other story merit only a sentence in theopening chapter of Mark's breathless Gospel. The kingdom of God wassufficiently close at hand that Jesus was able to bring glimpses ofthe earth as it will be when creation is restored and death andcrying and pain are no more (see Revelation 21).

At the start of his ministry, Jesus relocates from the town ofNazareth in the hills to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, where hecalls four fishermen - the first of his disciples. Mark's Gospel isfamous for its urgency - when Jesus calls Simon (later renamedPeter by Jesus), Andrew, James and John, all respond "immediately".His call to "fish for people" (v. 17) is reminiscent of Jeremiah 16:15-17, where God calls for "manyfishermen" to catch God's beloved people who have strayed and begunto worship idols. The fishermen's task is urgent - God's peoplehave drifted away, but must hear the good news "immediately"because God's kingdom is at hand.

To Ponder

  • This week is Poverty & Homelessness Action Week. Howdoes a belief that "the kingdom of God has come near" (v. 15)influence our giving and our campaigning? How do you marry a senseof urgency with the need for security?
  • "Fishing for people" (v. 17) is perhaps a slightlyuncomfortable metaphor - fishing is very much a one-way process,and one on which the fish themselves aren't too keen! Why do youthink Jesus chose fishermen as his first disciples?


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