What is My Excuse?

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, 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.

When he had gone a little father, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Mark 1:14-20 (NIV)

This was the topic of the Bible study that I attended yesterday. Do you attend a weekly study? If you don’t – do it! It’s the best medicine, spa treatment, and workout that you can invest your time.

One of the characteristics of Mark’s gospel version is his use of the word ‘immediate’. Mark, showing maybe a side of his youth, is always having people move quickly. The very style of his gospel is brief and to the point. This is no leisurely ‘Emmaus walk’ gospel!

Notice that it says that Jesus proclaims God’s Good News. He says that ‘the time’, the fulfillment of all that God has been promising has come. God’s Kingdom is about to manifest itself in Him, the perfect atonement and the Living Word. As a disciple I am to 1) Receive that the time is now and His Kingdom is here, 2) Repent! and 3) Believe!

Did you notice that Jesus said that He would make me into a fisher of men. I’m not sure about that. Maybe He is assuring the disciples that HE has the plan and the all that is needed for the plan to be successful. He knows the fish. He knows how to fish. Jesus knows the fishermen. Am I willing?

And then here is where we see Mark’s ‘immediate’ and ‘at once’. Jesus calls. Peter and Andrew, James and John go. There is no thinking it over by either party. There are no questions like “Where are we going?” or “What are we going to do?” Jesus knows who He wants. He knows what He is going to teach them. He knows the plan.

The disciples followed Him. They followed Him and did what He did. They didn’t learn Jesus’ lessons and then try to improve on it. They didn’t make it into a program. They did what Jesus told them to do. They had a personal relationship with Him and that is what they taught. They kept it simple. It was and is the Good News of God.

What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (NIV)

The Kingdom of God is here. What is your excuse?

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