The Call

Mark 1: 14-20
Heb 1: 1-6 / Psa 97

“The time has come, He said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the Gospel!”
(Mark 1: 15)

In spreading God’s Word to others
May we find our life’s fulfillment;
In His work nothing else matters
But the souls for which we are sent.

After John was put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God. “The time has come,” He said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the Gospel!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him. He walked along a little farther and saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, mending their nets. He called them too, and they left their father in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. (Mark 1:14-20)

Reflection

For hundreds of years, the Jews had been waiting for the fulfillment of salvation that Yahweh God had promised through the patriarchs and the prophets. Israel had been a great nation from the time Moses brought it to the promised land, conquering all of its former inhabitants, up to the reign of King David and King Solomon. But because of its infidelities to Yahweh, Israel was in turn subjugated by successive nations, like the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and up to the time of Jesus, by the Romans. Under the yoke of this mighty nation, the Jewish people had long been pining for the promised Messiah, so that when Jesus proclaimed that “the time has come” and “the kingdom of God is near,” the first four disciples responded in earnest immediately.

It took a while before the apostles realized that the call to serve in the kingdom of God did not mean being drafted for political or military service. It meant a higher calling of reorienting their whole being in order to spread the Gospel of salvation – salvation not in this world but in the next. It meant sacrificing everything: their livelihoods, their family, and even their lives. Relationships would be compromised — “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name” (Mark 13:12-13) – but only because one’s true family in the kingdom of God would be all who consider themselves as God’s children. As Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt. 12:50).

The time has indeed come to repent of our sins and orient our lives along the values laid out by our Lord Jesus in the Gospel. Unless we heed His call, we will never be able to redeem ourselves from the yoke of sin and the frivolous concerns of this world. Yes, the kingdom of God is here. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you.” It is within every one of us who regards others as his brothers and sisters; it is in the hearts of all who are willing to sacrifice an amount of their time, privilege, abilities and resources so that others who have less in life may learn to have hope in God and His kingdom because of their example. Jesus is calling us to a different kind of fishing expedition; pray we do not ignore this divine opportunity.

Lord, in our hearts we hear Your call, and surrender to Your will. Grant that we may have the confidence and courage to set aside the comforts of home, relationships, and privilege as we strive to become “fishers of men” for Your kingdom. Help us to bring Your message of salvation to our marketplaces, and win our marketplaces for You. Amen.

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