[May 18]--A Few Good Men

Mark 1:14-20

Shortly after Jesus’ baptism, John the Baptist was arrested and put into prison, from which he would never leave alive. Once his cousin was imprisoned, Jesus apparently stepped up his ministry considerably. The “opening act” was heading off stage, so now was the time for the “main event” to take front and center. Here are some notes which I’ve gleaned:

• We have here the essence of the Good News of God: repent and believe. If anyone thought that Jesus’ message was “grace” while John’s was “law,” they were sadly mistaken. Now the wait was over. The object of millions of prayers over hundreds of years had arrived. When Jesus was talking about the “time” was here, he wasn’t just referring to a chronological time, like the time of an event. This is the time of decision. The time for fence-sitting was over.

• And what was this “Good News”? There’s no mention of a specific message in Jesus’ announcement. That’s because he is the Good News. It’s almost like he’s saying “We’ll fill in the details later. But for now, you need to know that the Good News is standing right in front of you!”

• Along with everything else, this apparently was the time to recruit brother fishing teams into his Kingdom work. He first called Andrew and Peter. Andrew was already a follower of John the Baptist, so it looks like he and his brother returned to fishing after John’s arrest. Then the Lord called James and John, later nicknamed “the sons of Thunder.” It’s interesting that they left not only their commercial business (like Andrew and Peter) but also their father behind. It’s difficult to overestimate how shocking this would be to people in that culture: To leave one’s own father and the family business on the word of some crazy Rabbi. And obviously it was pretty profitable, since they had “hired men” as well.

• If you’ve heard it from a sermon or elsewhere, then I apologize, but it’s worth repeating—Jesus’ calling was “Follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men.” If you aren’t fishing, then you aren’t following.

I think that it would be good to do a quick definition and study of this term “Kingdom of God,” which is repeatedly used in the Gospels, usually by Jesus. It’s a term for the rule of God on earth. There are three phases. First, the Kingdom appeared in the sense that the King was now present. He was the Kingdom Incarnate. Second phase is right now: As children and subjects of God’s Kingdom, we’re called to expand that Kingdom from Heaven down here to earth. You could say that everywhere Christians exist, a “colony” of Heaven is supposed to appear. And the final phase is when Christ appears at the end of history and sets up his Kingdom on earth.

So here are some possible applications for us from today’s passage. First, have you repented and believed in the Good News from God? Second, are you willing to leave behind family, your livelihood, and everything you’ve ever known, just on the word of Jesus? And third, have you been establishing a “colony of Heaven” in your home, your work, and in your circles of influence? If your answer is “Not as much as I should,” then join the club.

Lord Jesus, I know that I’m supposed to be planting your flag everywhere I go, but I don’t do that nearly often enough. Use me as your standard bearer, please.

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