Mark 1:14-20: Seeing people.

“14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’  16 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. 17 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.  19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” NIV UK

‘God had one Son, and He made Him a preacher.’                                                                      ‘’After John was put in prison…’’ it could have been easier for Jesus to keep a low profile for a time, but Jesus moved in the Father’s timing. Someone said that what we know about Jesus would lead us to believe that He was always prayerful, waiting on God for direction. However God also speaks through circumstances, and it was no doubt obvious that if there was to be no lull in the Kingdom movement, Jesus should now take the baton from the hand of John. There should be a seamless continuity.                                              ‘’As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew…When he had gone a little farther, he saw James…’’ As we go about our daily business, doing what we have to do, do we ‘see’ people? I mean, really ‘see’ them? Do we see and understand where they are? Do we ‘get’ their circumstances; the lives they lead? Furthermore, do we see their potential – what they might become by God’s calling and enabling? Do we see their talents, skills and gifts and how these might be used for Kingdom purposes? Jesus still comes to people where they are, and He calls them. Sometimes He speaks to them directly; at other times He may use the likes of you and me. He regularly uses the lives and lips of His people to speak to others.What an adventure can begin when someone hears the Lord Jesus say, ‘’Come, follow me…and I will make you…’’ We surely hear echoes of the larger Bible story about God’s people in these incidents. Are we not taken back to Genesis 12 and the call of Abraham? ‘’Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’’

 In that country and culture, a small family business could be handed on not only through generations but also through centuries. It must have cost these men to leave it all behind. The call of the Kingdom is not only into something, but it is also away from certain things. At its most basic level, there is the call to ‘’Repent’’ – to leave behind sin – to turn away from a self-centred way of life in order to trust Jesus. To enter into all the good of Kingdom life, we have to leave behind the bad of personal sin. We also may have to, repeatedly, through the course of our lives, turn from things which are not intrinsically wrong, but would impede us in the life of discipleship.

Just over a year ago, when Jilly and I were travelling, we noticed something about ourselves. We could start to feel quite attached to a lovely place and not want to leave. However, in the moving on, we found ourselves in other delightful settings we would not have missed by choice. If we hadn’t been willing to accept the pain of leaving behind, we would not have experienced those new joys. It made me realise that the Christian life is a journey in which we have to leave behind and move on time and again; and there can be no embracing the new without forsaking the old

Thought: What ‘nets’ do I need to leave behind today?

PRAYER: Lord, I want to be ready to follow you fully – wherever the path may take me. Help me Lord Jesus, please. My life is yours. Do with me as you will.