9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
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.
“Where do you want to go eat?” is always a question I have a direct answer to. If I’m with a group and this question arises, I can always be counted on to give a direct answer. The Gospel of Mark cannot be described as being indirect. Words are not wasted. In fact, in some cases, we might wish there were more words. What was Jesus like as a kid? What does Jesus’ family tree look like? What were the circumstances around his birth? There are three more gospels with more of God’s word for us to understand the answers to these questions and more words for us to begin to grasp God’s great love for us through the sending of his only begotten Son.
Mark introduces Jesus to us as an adult. To say Mark introduces Jesus is an overstatement because it’s all movement and action at this stage. Later on, it’ll be important for us to pay attention to what Mark slows down to share with us. Jesus is identified as the one John has been preparing the way for. He comes to be baptized and as he comes up out of the water we witness one of the few times in all of scripture where the Persons of the Holy Trinity are explicitly identified at the same time. We profess and believe God is 3 in 1. Three Persons of the same essence. A holy mystery. United inseparably together as one God. We are given insight into this mystery here as the Son is being baptized and the Holy Spirit descends on him while the voice of the Father speaks. The Father speaks direct words that no parent should grow tired of sharing with their children: “You are mine. I love you. I’m so proud of you” (my modern paraphrase).
Jesus then, at once, is led into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan. He is embodying the history of Israel and overcoming what they couldn’t, namely, sin. John is arrested so now is the time for Jesus to step out and proclaim the kingdom of God has come near! Andrew and Peter and the brothers Zebedee are called to follow and immediately leave everything behind including dad in the boat with the hired workers for the day.
Think about the people in your life who you would do anything for. What is your history with them? Imagine how good the good news is for these young men with their whole lives ahead of them to leave it all behind and follow Jesus! Suddenly, without any history or relationship, they go. Sometimes we need to move and we need to move now. No explanations or descriptions or details needed...because it’s Jesus calling.
Is there something you’ve been putting off that God is calling you to immediately take care of? Are there people in your life with whom you need to be more direct? Where is God calling you to move right now without explanation? Are you willing to go there?
Holy God, we believe in you. Help our unbelief. Increase our faith so we pray believing for mountains to be moved and thrown into the sea. Remove from us the crippling doubt of the enemy who seeks to keep us from your love. We are believing for miracles. We are believing for deliverance. We are believing for healing now in Jesus’ name. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. (taken from Mark 11:22-26).
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.