Repent, Believe, and Follow (Mk 1:14-20)

Meditating on Mark in Lent — Mark 1:14-20

I’m reading slowly through the book of Mark during Lent this year, seeking what I can learn about God and what I can learn about being a follower of Jesus from each passage. I’m also letting my imagination get involved and trying to crawl into each story, to let it speak to me as it will and to respond from inside. I’ve decided to share some of them here as I go along and would love to hear your comments and reflections on the same scriptures.

See, Love, Follow

Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.                                                                                                               (vv 14-18) English Standard Version

I try to read the gospels with a particular perspective. I want to learn more about my Father God by learning more about Jesus — his motives, his actions, his heart, his desires, his habits, his commands, etc. I want to know the Father better because of what see in Jesus in the gospels. And I want to ask myself, “So, what?” What does what I learn have to do with me? How does it affect me and the way I think and live? 

I don’t want just head knowledge of the stories; I want to be changed by them.

Part of this kind of reading is that I like to observe what Jesus asked of people when he was here. What did he require of the men and women who came to hear him preach?How did he call them to live? In this passage, we see three things Jesus asked of people around him. Jesus called the people of Galilee to the first two in verse 15: “repent and believe the good news.” Because the time had come and the kingdom of God had come near, he told the people to repent and believe.

Repentance, it seems, is a laying down of our own ways and a turning toward God. And the good news at this point in the story seems to be that the kingdom of God had come near. It was at hand. He wanted them to lay down their earthly thinking and turn toward God expectantly. That’s about all they had for now. They didn’t know much about this man Jesus. The rest of the story was yet to unfold. But he called them to turn and watch expectantly. Something big was about to happen!

Then, in verse seven, Jesus simply says, “Follow me.” That’s it. That’s all he asked. The rest of the sentence is what he planned to do for those who followed.

Pretty simple, so far. Repent, believe, follow. Just start there. The rest will unfold; it will make more sense later. For now, repent, believe, follow. I like it. It’s simple enough for me. I can do this much. And I will do it with my eyes on Jesus, watching and listening and receiving and responding. 

I’ll do it, Jesus! I do it now. I lay down my earthly wisdom, my worldly pursuits, my own ways, and I turn to you in the belief that you have something big in store. I will follow you. I want to see you at work and do what you do. I want to learn from you — learn about the Father from you, learn your ways and learn his ways. I want to be changed by you.

Father, as I move on through my reading of Mark and the life of Jesus, allow me to get to know you better. Teach me what it means to be a follower of Christ. Teach me, lead me, shape me, and send me out to “fish” for people.  Amen


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