Jesus returns from the desert to proclaim the central message of His ministry: “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”
For centuries the Jewish people waited for a great king, The Messiah. He would lead their nation to a glory surpassing the days of Solomon. The words of the prophets would be fulfilled; a new age of justice and peace would unfold. All this would happen when the Messiah came.
Jesus proclaims that someday is now. The promises have been fulfilled; the reign of God is beginning now. “Repent,” He says, “and believe the good news.”
Jesus not only proclaims the good news, He is the good news. Wherever He appears, evil and death flee like shadows before light. People are overwhelmed by His power and authority; a tremendous excitement sweeps the countryside as crowds come to follow Him.
Amid all this excitement, Mark tells us about the call of his first disciples. Mark places this event even before the first miracle. It is a hint of a theme that will dominate his gospel: the kingdom of God is not just miracles and wonders, but a call to abandon all else for the sake of Jesus Christ. That is truly what it means to “Repent, and believe the good news.”
As Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John, He offered them the opportunity to be part of this Kingdom of God. He called them to offer their lives for the work of bringing God’s plan for the world to completion. Their response was immediate, selfless and total.
We have also been called by Jesus to follow Him. We are called to make a decision, to accept His invitation to leave behind our old lives, to be taught by Jesus, and to participate in bringing God’s reign to fulfillment. How blessed we are to be called by Jesus.