Markby Robert M. Solomon
Baptised into His mission and victorious over temptation, Jesus began His public ministry. He came into prominence as John, having been arrested, receded into the shadows (v. 14).
Jesus started preaching the good news, which was from Him and about Him. His opening words indicated several truths. His appearing was timely (the Greek word indicates an opportune and right time). The kingdom of God had come near (v. 15), it was not far away or just a philosophical idea. It was near because God, in Christ, had come near. There is a two-fold response God expects of us: repentance and belief. To repent is to change direction (away from sin and toward God), without which one cannot enter the kingdom. To believe is to entrust one's life to God; more than intellectual knowledge, it is a relationship that is centred on personal trust. Jesus ushered in His kingdom, which one enters by repenting of one's sins and in which one remains by continuing to trust Him (v. 15). He is the good news.
Jesus then chose four disciples (two sets of brothers). They were simple fishermen; God often chooses what in the eyes of the world is foolish, weak, and lowly (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)-He will accomplish His purposes through His own grace and power. He graciously invites us to participate in His mission. ″Come, follow me″ (v. 17) is the primary task of the disciple. Put away all other things of value and return to this simplest and deepest call to follow Jesus. We must keep returning to Him as we are easily distracted and drift away. We must keep following Him-not the crowd, nor our own heart.
To follow Jesus is to let Him lead us and being willing to leave everything to do so. Nothing is so precious or important that it cannot be left behind to follow Jesus. ″At once″ the disciples ″left their nets and followed him″ (v. 18). Two of them even ″left their father″ (v. 20).
″I will make you . . .″ (v. 17, ESV). It is Jesus who makes us fishers of men, or anything else He wants us to be. He enables us and it is often an ongoing process. We must remember that all our competence comes from God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
Reflect on Christ's call to repent and believe. How have you experienced this? Is the Lord speaking to you today about repenting and believing?
Jesus called fishermen to be fishers of men, just as he called Moses, who was working as a shepherd, to shepherd His people out of Egypt. Nothing is wasted in God's economy. In what way do you see your past training and experiences being relevant to your present ministry for the Lord?