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.
Is Jesus’ Good News Really Good?
John’s imprisonment is the starting gun for Jesus’ ministry. We know Jesus heard directly from the Father, but sometimes circumstances themselves mark out the path that must be followed. He proclaimed Good News. The Good News of God’s kingdom on Earth can only be good if the alternative is worse. The Jewish people had tied themselves up in religious laws and good behaviour. They didn’t have the special relationship for which they had been set apart. The coming near of God and the release from the system would have been good news. What about those who were religiously neutral? What about those people who think they are fine by themselves? The natural condition of the world is one of entropy, or decay. We have distanced ourselves and the Creation from God and so we make technological advances that mask our moral and ethical decline. Relationship with God sets the heart right and allows a person to enter into a new relationship with God that lasts forever.
Simon, Andrew, James and John illustrate a proper response to the kingdom. They walk away from their family business, probably held for generations, and they follow a different set of goals for their lives. The response is swift and complete. Time is not needed to make a change. It only takes time for a human to bring about change of self. God can, and often does, bring about complete change in a person with immediate affect.
Jesus, sometimes I really don’t want relationship with you or to follow you. I just want to be left alone. It is usually when I am tired. I lose sight of the chasm of hell that is life alone. We were not created for isolation and self-gratification. We were created to serve The Father and to serve other people. Our society has lied to us long enough about having it our way, doing it our way, and satiating our desires. They omit the break down in community, the collapse of society, and the damage we do morally and physically to ourselves and others. Help us to repent and establish the absolute authority of God in our lives. Help us to become better at relationships. Help us to sleep, eat well, and read scripture so that we will be more able to serve you and others.
- What event precipitated Jesus’ preaching?
- What was his message?
- What do you think Simon, Andrew, James, and John thought it meant?
- How does the gospel change every aspect of living in the 21st century?
- How do you respond daily to Jesus’ call to follow him?