“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ “ (Mark 1:14-15)
I don’t know how much theological proof there is to this, but one of my seminary professors said that it was only after/because of John’s arrest that the appointed came for Jesus to start his ministry. Biblical chronology tells us that John was put to death soon after his arrest. Or, it could just be that gospel ordered the story of Jesus so that his minister started after John’s arrest.
But I have serious doubts that that as John faded to background story, Jesus rise in prominence was just a coincidence or the story of it was a manufactured device. I think my seminary professor was very accurate and correct. John himself said that he must fade away so that Jesus can come forth at the appointed time. There is nothing that can stop this – it will happen. And the good news will be spread!
“As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-20)
There was something about Jesus that was very difficult to turn away from and deny – in person. Or at least that is what the bible tells us – that his disciples followed him without a second thought and the crowds thronged after him. He had his detractors however; those who would not see and refused to believe. Believer or non-believer, no one was “wishy-washy” when it came to Jesus; you believed in him as the Son of God or you did not. The power of his presence and the power of his preaching were just . . . Divine!
Our focus has been this week preaching and ministering for converting souls and spirit in an age when there is weak motivations to believe. In Corinthians we read that the appointed time is growing short and the present world will pass away. In Jonah we read that for Nineveh their destruction was close at hand but their salvation was the sincerity of their belief. Here in the gospel of Mark we read that Jesus said the time was “fulfilled” and the “kingdom of God” was near.
But here we are, 2000 year plus, and the world is still turning. And if we do not have the sense of timing to know when to act, the Divine ability to call people to discipleship, not to mention the Divine ability to preach for repentance – how are we to call people to faith? That seems to be a lingering question that grows heavier each day; especially with this year’s focus on renewal and recommitment to faith. There is one more day left in this week. Perhaps we will find the answer there.