Following: kingdom

Calling disciples23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.  24 His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25 And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him. Continue reading

Following: fishing

Calling disciplesFishing – Clearly Jesus is calling the disciples to a life with him.  But every “calling to” is by default a “calling from” in some sense. Fishing was not as easy as getting a boat and having at it. Fishing was controlled by the “powers that be” in two ways. (1) Commercial fishermen worked for the royal family or wealthy landlords who contracted with them to provide a specific amount of fish at a certain time. They were paid either with cash or with fish. (2) Fishermen leased their fishing rights from persons called “toll collectors” in the NT for a percentage of the catch. The “tax” could be as much as 40% (see Malina & Rohrbach, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, p. 44). Continue reading

Following: calling

Calling disciplesCalling the Disciples – From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The very wording of the passage indicates a fresh start, a new phase of Jesus’ activity. At the heart of this new ministry is the proclamation of a message identical with that of John the Baptist (3:2), and later to be echoed by Jesus’ disciples (10:7). Jesus calls for a decisive response to a new situation, the arrival in his ministry of the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading

Following: context

Calling disciples12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” 17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. 23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.  Continue reading

Fishing: context

Fishers-of-men-icon1 While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” 9 For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, 10 and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. Continue reading

Fishers of men

Jesus-boat-storm2Two weeks ago we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, when our gospel has that great image of Jesus plunging into the waters of the Jordan, into the water of Baptism, plunging into the midst of our lives, all-in, showing us he belongs to us in his full humanity – and to show us a life with a higher purpose – fulfilling the deepest desire of God: that all might be saved. Continue reading

Come after me: follow

Jesus-boat-storm2Fishers of Men. As the first act of the Galilean mission Mark reports the calling of Simon and Andrew to be fishers of men. Jesus found these brothers working as fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, elsewhere designated the Lake of Gennesaret or the Sea of Tiberias. The inland sea, which was twelve miles in length and six miles across at its widest point, provided a point of access between Galilee and Perea. There were many towns and fishing villages especially on the western and northern shores. The waters teemed with life, and when Jesus summoned the brothers they were casting their nets into the sea. Continue reading

Come after me: context

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

Mark 1:14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. 20 Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

The Bigger Picture. The first major section of Mark’s Gospel extends from 1:14 to 3:6, and describes the initial phase of the Galilean ministry. Within this section the evangelist records the calling of the first disciples (1:16–20; 2:14), Jesus’ ministry in and around Capernaum (1:21–34), and a series of controversies (2:1–3:6) which are climaxed by the decision to seek Jesus’ death (3:6). Continue reading

Calling Disciples: the kingdom of heaven

Calling disciplesThe Kingdom of Heaven. 21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. 23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

“The kingdom of heaven” is uniquely Matthew’s phrase. He often uses it in place of Mark’s “kingdom of God.” Perhaps, if we assume a Jewish background for Matthew, it is a way of avoiding saying and thus possibly misusing the name of God.

Basileia can refer to the area ruled by a king; or it can refer to the power or authority to rule as king. We probably shouldn’t interpret the “kingdom of heaven” as a place — such as the place we go when we die; but as the ruling power that emanates from heaven. One commentator translates the phrase: “heaven rules”. Continue reading