Lesson 3

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel."

1:16 Passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea, for they were fishermen. 1:17 Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you into fishers for men."

1:18 Immediately they left their nets, and followed him. 1:19 Going on a little further from there, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 1:20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him.

Today's Lesson 

After His baptism in the river Jordan by John, Jesus went into the wilderness for a time of fasting and preparation. There He was tempted by the devil and was ministered to by angels. Today's Scripture tells us that during this time John the Baptist was taken into custody. Though Mark does not go into detail about why this occurred, we know the reason from other sources.


John was imprisoned because he spoke up against Herod, who had been set up as tetrarch by the Romans over the Jews. Herod had divorced his wife and married his own niece, Herodias. Herodias had been married to Herod's brother, Philip. Under Mosaic Law, a man could not marry the wife of his brother as long as his brother was alive. So, when John began to speak out about Herod taking his brother's wife, Herod had John arrested.


After John was arrested, Jesus began His ministry by announcing the Kingdom of God in Galilee. "The Kingdom of God is at hand!" He called men to repent just as John had done. But, Jesus also called on men to believe in the good news of the Kingdom. But, what does Jesus mean by the Kingdom of God? God's Kingdom, God's sovereign rule was at hand. There is a very real sense in which God's Kingdom is everywhere. But, Jesus was saying that the Kingdom of God that was at hand was to be different in some way than what had gone before. God would be intervening in the affairs of the world in a new way.


By way of illustration, Jesus goes to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and finds Simon Peter and Andrew casting their nets in the sea. He tells them, "Come after me, and I will make you into fishers for men." The Kingdom of God intruded itself into the lives of Peter and Andrew and in God's Kingdom they changed from fishermen to fishers of men. Likewise, the Kingdom comes to James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They leave their father's boat and enter the Kingdom.


The message of Christ is still valid today. "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel." Wherever the voice of Christ is heard today, the message goes out. Wherever the call of Christ enters the lives of people, God's rule and dominion arrive. Wherever men and women drop their former lives and respond to the call of Christ, people enter the Kingdom of God.


God's Kingdom comes abruptly into our lives and what we used to be is swept away. The Kingdom exists in the presence of the King, Jesus Christ. Wherever Christ exists, the world is changed by His presence. Those who see and believe the call of the King will leave everything that they have and follow the King. If the ruler of your country appears at your door and says that there is something that your country needs, most people will follow and listen. So it is with those who chose to follow Christ. Christ is calling all the time. Finally we hear and see Him, as though awakening from a stupor, and we turn and follow.


Have you heard the call of the Kingdom? Have you left your nets and followed the King?


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