Our Gospel this week is Mark 1:14-20, taken today from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—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 is sometimes called the “immediate” Gospel because the term is used frequently in its record of the Good News. It occurs twice in this short passage. Other translations use “right away”, “at once” and “without delay”.
All of these phrases indicate the importance of hearing Jesus call on our lives and not letting anything interfere. This lesson says the first disciples left their work, their homes and their families to follow Him. Does Jesus call us to do the same?
Sometimes the answer is “yes”. Most of us know or know of someone who went to serve as a missionary or aid worker in some far flung land. Some are called to this kind of ministry. However, for most of us the call is to give up our old ways and those connections that distract us from Christ’s purpose, living a new life in Him. We must “immediately” answer His call, placing our connection with God above all else.
Loving Lord, You came to save us from our sin and show us the joy of a relationship with You. Help us to give up the ways of the world that we may follow You. Amen.