CAPC Oakland

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Blogging Towards Sunday, January 25, 2015


Mark 1:14-20

The Calling of the First Disciples” – that’s the subtitle given by editors to this story in Mark. Yet it’s not just about them, then; it’s also about us now. How are we called to faith, to follow Christ? And what does that mean? Is it just a beginning event, or is it the whole journey?

Textual Notes:
These few verses are rich with ideas:

  • v15 “The time has come” is an proclamation that now is a different time, that history has changed…it’s not just minutes going by chronologically but a radical shift. In ancient Greek there are two words for time : chronos – which means time in the duration, as it flows, and kairos – which means an instant, a change, a particular time. Can you guess which word is used here?
  • v15 “The Kingdom of God” : this curious phrase punctuates the gospels. It’s how Jesus talks about what God is doing. It can be translated as a physical kingdom, or the time of a reign of God. Is it a place, or a time, somewhere else or right here?
  • v15 Repent: the word for this is metanoia – it means to turn around, to change direction, to change one’s life radically.
  • v15 Believe the good news [gospel] – It’s as if to believe (to put one’s trust, or endear one’s life to) is to leave one way of living behind to chose a new way. It’s the victorious
  • v17 “fishers of men [or people]” – is a curious wordplay in the text. In the Dead Sea Scrolls this term is used to describe those who fight against the enemies of God. Elsewhere in Jewish writings of this time it refers to those who fight Satan. Here it also refers to a transformation of the vocation practiced by the fishermen.
  • v18 & 20: in both stories of call the brothers only become subjects, acting on their own volition when they encounter and follow Jesus.

Theological Notes:
Today’s scripture has many implications: We – like theses disciples – don’t become subjects, or real people, or who we’re created to be, until we encounter and follow Jesus. Our calling in a sense is a rebirth, a baptism, a new creation. The reign of God is a radical change in the world, between what was and what is, between who ruled and who rules. The implication is that it’s not faraway in time or geography but right here and now – God reigns over all we do and everywhere we go. So how does that inform the way we live: our relationships, our choices, our actions?

Questions for going deeper:

  1. What grabs your attention in today’s selections?
  2. What does the story tell us about how we are called to live life? To live faith?
  3. How is this story gospel good news for you today?; for us as a church community?
  4. How is the Spirit calling us to act or be through this?

2 comments on “Blogging Towards Sunday, January 25, 2015

  1. gary and caroline
    January 24, 2015

    Amazing that the ministry of Jesus begins with the disappointing news that John the Baptist has just been arrested; at the darkest moment, the Kingdom of God is near…how could people have the courage to start their ministry (throw down their nets to follow Jesus) without the assurance of victory, other than that the Kingdom is near…

  2. Monte McClain
    January 28, 2015

    Interesting thoughts. I hadn’t considered that. It makes the whole word seem even more poignant today when choosing the way of faith can seem like such a daunting challenge.

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