The Right Time

Now after John was arrested, 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. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

St. Mark 1:14-20

Today’s gospel reading from St. Mark follows right after a messy situation that had gotten St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, arrested and eventually martyred at the hands of a tyrannical king. The gospel reading is also a turning point, a place marked in time and space (the right time) where a new king and a new kingdom, not of the world but of eternity, would rule.

On the heels of the arrest, the narrative immediately moves to Jesus proclaiming that the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. What time was fulfilled? I’m not very good at keeping track of time or details or calendars; I’m just not! I don’t believe that Christ was looking at a calendar or triggered by a timer when he made the statement to the disciples. The time he was referring to is called kairos, time measured according to God’s providence. According to chronological standards, the Roman Empire occupied the land of Israel and cruelly ruled over God’s people (Does this sound familiar to you?) Jesus was drawing his disciples’ attention away from chronological circumstances into kairos, into the kingdom of God. Jesus’ proclamation of God’s kingdom sounded nothing like their reality, but all who followed him began to see the possibilities of peace and contentment, forgiveness and healing, hope and mercy.

The gospel reading includes a detail that is a very Chronos thing to do, “…he saw James the son of Zebedee and John, his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.” Mending nets calls to mind the “the stuff of our ordinary and often disappointing human experience” that Eugene Peterson eloquently writes about in many of his books.

God’s Word reveals how the stuff of our ordinary and often disappointing human experience is the very stuff that God uses to create and save and give hope…nothing is unusable by God. The LORD uses everything and everybody as material for his work, which is the remaking of the mess we have made of our lives.

Just as Peter and Andrew and James and John lived in an appointed time and place, doing the stuff of the ordinary day-to-day life, Jesus comes to us with the same proclamation, “the time is fulfilled.” Sooner or later, we all become dissatisfied with an ordinary that is not united with God’s extraordinary Kingdom. Fulton Sheen wrote that,

“..all the human satisfaction of the cravings of the body and soul have one defect; they do not satisfy forever…[we] restrict ourselves to [ways and means] that will never completely satisfy.”

Jesus desires to withdraw us from the corruptible to the necessary–“the one thing”–the abundant life where worth and success aren’t measured by clocks and calendars. In telling the fledging disciples to leave everything that is under their control for he would make them fishers of men evokes the Kingdom of God’s law to love him with all our heart, mind, body, and strength and to love others as we love ourselves. It’s the abandoning of our self-control and our notions of satisfaction that draws us into the counterintuitive practice of detachment from all things to follow Jesus, our Savior, into our kairos identity.

Jesus calls his disciples to repent and believe in the gospel. Changing our minds about how we live in Chronos-time requires the power of the Holy Spirit rearranging our mindset. Perhaps you struggle to see the draw of following Christ as satisfying. Perhaps you enjoy mending nets far too much to think about the good Jesus has in store for you. Perhaps you don’t see the need to repent of anything.

Or perhaps your eyes are fixed on what is happening around you in society, and it causes you to fear. Maybe the thoughts about the trajectory of our government mess with your understanding and faith in the LORD’s providence. Perhaps the lackluster mending of nets causes you to doubt the LORD’s presence to you. Perhaps you haven’t repented of your emotions, and you can’t see how Jesus can satisfy you.

Jesus comes to each of us in the time and space we are in, and he asks us to follow him. The way we follow him makes all the difference. Whether we are satisfied with life or dissatisfied with life, Jesus aims to lead us to the Kingdom of God where satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment are out of this world!

Oh, Jesus, you know us; you created us. You know how taken up we can be by what is happening around us, whether we enjoy it so much that we ignore you or whether we fear it so much that we doubt you. LORD, would you draw us into your Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven?

We ask this in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen

Published by

The Maiden Warrior

Greetings, friend. "In silence and rest is your salvation" are words from the prophet Isaiah that echo the desire of my life. I've been following that desire my entire life as I seek to live and move and have my being in what the LORD desires for me. I'm still learning the beauty of silence and rest as my salvation, it's a long obedience in the right direction. This is my journey.

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