Follow Me: Mark 1:12-20


And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they immediately left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. He immediately called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.    

After St. John gets arrested, we see Jesus start proclaiming the gospel of God. Jesus’ message was: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  So…..just what is this gospel that Jesus proclaimed?

As we hear this word “gospel” today we tend to think of it as Jesus dying for our sin. This is indeed “good news” (that is what the word gospel means) but it wasn’t what Jesus was proclaiming here.

Before the “gospel” became the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, it was first and foremost the “good news” of Emmanuel (God with us). The kingdom of God is at hand and the King of this kingdom has indeed come to dwell with his people. His preaching and teaching about the grace and mercy of God had long been overlooked by the religious leaders. It had been replaced with judgemental legalism by these self-righteous “religious” of the day. Had the words of Hosea the prophet been forgotten? For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings. (6:6) Jesus even commands the leaders of his day to learn the meaning of these words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matt. 9:13)

Why is it so hard for us to “get”?! God is so desirous of us, that he pursues us! He humbled himself to become one of us, so we could live forever with him. The words of Zephaniah come to mind as I ponder this: The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (3:17) How wonderful that the Creator of the universe delights in me, rejoices over me. As I recognise his grace and mercy, I respond in obedience seeking the grace and mercy he offers.

Might this be the reason that Simon, Andrew, James and John responded immediately and left their nets and their father?

Who can describe the love of God when it is revealed to us? The “feeling” is indescribable, yet it can be seen. For his love calls us to act…immediately! Others may have said of these first disciples, “Thoes guys are crazy! They gave up their jobs and their families to follow some guy who is proclaiming ‘repentance and good news'”.

This week, let us ask ourselves, “Can people see the gospel in me?” As Jesus calls me to follow him, are my actions to obey that call or to turn the other way?

May we not preach the gospel of convience with our lives, but the gospel of obedience.

Amen.

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2 Responses

  1. thanks for the good words about the good news timglass.

    I once was in a Church were we were so comfortable, a friend of mine and i thought we would start a new church and name it the Church of Contentment. “Come in sit down relax, we will not provoke or convict you only give you peace and love for as long as you like. Now go home and relax, let God take care of the world.’

    Jesus did not just come here to have us feel comfortable.
    We have more to do than wait and relax in our knowledge of our own salvation.

    Oswald Chambers writes:

    SERVICE OF PASSIONATE DEVOTION

    “Lovest thou Me? . . . Feed My sheep.” John 21:16

    Jesus did not say – Make converts to your way of thinking, but look after My sheep, see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Me. We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or a creed. “If any man come to Me and hate not . . . , he cannot be My disciple.” There is no argument and no compulsion, but simply – If you would be My disciple, you must be devoted to Me. A man touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says – “Now I see Who Jesus is,” and that is the source of devotion.

    To-day we have substituted credal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes and so few devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of to-day that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade. Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat. The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness. It is like a corn of wheat, which falls into the ground and dies, but presently it will spring up and alter the whole landscape (John 12:24).

  2. Rigg,
    Thanks for your comment!
    You are right….it’s all about obedience to the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. If God is for us, who can be against us?

    By His grace and mercy, may we all persevere!

    Thanks again!

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