Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 1:14-20 bible study (August 15, 2023)
Updated: Oct 4
May the provision of God surround you this day and always. Please remember, how difficult things in this life can get, the promise of Christ is to always be with us until the end of the age bringing God's abundant Grace to us again and again and again. Please keep the Wright family in your prayers for John's care to provide the healing that he needs, and for Sarah (our Parish Nurse) and Barrett, who remain here in Tucson holding down their home, and for Barrett, working hard at his school every day. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them with the loss of John's income for the next four to six weeks. Click the link to connect to it.
Today we move more deeply into the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark bible study. In the first of our verses for today we find Mark's very brief accounting of Jesus' early ministry which, according to Mark, starts after the arrest of John the Baptist. In these two verses, 14 and 15, we hear of the "Good News" that Jesus has come to preach and teach, informing the people that the promised Messiah has come. The Kingdom of God has come into their midst. "Good News" is often written as The Gospel, and in the Greek is euaggelion. This is God's message of Truth. This is not the type which we find ourselves polarized over in politics today. This is God's Truth, and it is fully contained in the 10 Commandments. Their first message is that we are in a mutual relationship with our God. "I am your God, and you will be my people if you obey my law". The law of God is Love. Love of God, and the love of our neighbor as we love ourselves. But that is not the full extent of this. With the coming of Jesus, God has brought to all of His creation a bridge which bears all who believe in the Son into the righteousness of the Father, bringing to us forgiveness for our sins, which without Christ, would separate us from the Love of God. This Good News brings us hope in the face of the uncertainty which all people knew before the coming of the Holy One of God, The Christ. Another of the gifts of the Good News is that in our journey in life as saints in Christ who live at the same time as sinners in the world, we can finally know peace, the peace which passes all understanding. The Good News also provides us with God's promise to not separate Himself from us. Jesus always makes that very clear. He is here for us, and in His presence we have the fullness of God's promise that we are set free from the burden of our sin. Another revelation of the Good News is that we have, in Christ, immortality. No longer is life a journey to an eternity of darkness, an end. In Christ, the Good News tells us that death is the gate to eternal life, new life with the God who loves us. The Good News, God's Truth, also brings to us the gift of Salvation, so that we can live knowing the victory over sin and death is already ours in Christ. We are the unworthy winners of the greatest prize of all time. The wealth of the Good News is unsurpassed by anything in this world.
In the next passage for today we find Jesus choosing His first disciples, who come from the men working hard as fisherman to provide for themselves and their families. It is when we get to this part of Mark that we discover that the other three Gospels all have similar passages about the calling of the first disciples. (Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11, and John 1:35-51.) I would like to think that Jesus was just out for a morning stroll along Galilee because I have lived near Lake Michigan and White Lake, and have truly enjoyed the solitude of early morning on the water, just birds and jumping fish, turtles and nesting animals. However, that is just my meanderings. Jesus was acting with intent. He knew, at this very beginning, that He would need to have those around Him who would carry the Gospel into the world, when He was gone. So who did Jesus call to join Him? They were not educated in universities, they lived with vocations in which their families had worked for generations. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, at any time a person could find up to 300 boats plying the waters of Galilee to catch fish. These men were also not the wealthy of Christ's day. They were hard-working. They were not Jewish theologians either, though they were men who had been raised in their faith. These first disciples were just like any of us who sit in the pews on a Sunday morning, and like us, I suspect that on their Sabbath, Saturday) they often rested, or breaking Jewish law, worked to get the business ready for the coming week. Abraham Lincoln once said, "God must love the common people - He made so many of them." For Christ it was these common people working on Galilee who would be consumed by this Good News. In Christ's call to these men there was no expansive conversation with them to tell them all that lay behind what was coming in the Messiah. Jesus simply said, "Follow Me", and they did. We can only imagine the power of Christ's determined presence, in his fullness in the duality of being fully human and fully divine. There would have been no missing Christ's authority!
Jesus also told these newest disciples that they would be working hard at their new task. With Christ their lives were not to be lives of ease and wealth, rather they would live humbly by the support of those who came to be faithful in their teacher and master, experiencing the wonder of the only begotten Son of God. If these men were at all cynical, like many of us, they might have asked, "What's in it for me?". There is only one answer to this, "EVERYTHING".
You have my love for your commitment to learning more and more about Mark's Gospel. I will be back with you next Monday as we delve into Mark 1:21 and ff. God bless and keep you throughout every day.
In Christ, Pastor Kim