URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 16th January 2024

Tuesday 16th January 2024
 
St Mark 1: 14 – 28

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.  Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit,  and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’  And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’  At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Reflection

I love the concise nature of Mark’s Gospel, and the speed in which he sketches out the important aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry.  It is a whistle stop tour of the revelation of Jesus’ divine nature, and human journey, where God is revealed to people in their normal day to day life.  Jesus begins his ministry and comes to this lakeside to call some disciples, which allows each person, who met him, or heard his message, directly, or indirectly to be able to respond to this unique preacher, teacher and healer. The kingdom of God was present in and through Jesus, “repent and receive the good news.”  Here, in this man, Jesus, who has come to show us the likeness and priorities of God. It begins with making relationships.  The fishermen hear Jesus calling them to follow him and immediately leave everything; their livelihood; family and security behind, in favour of an unknown future, walking with Jesus.  Wow! What a start to Jesus’ ministry. 

Next, we observe them in a synagogue in Capernaum; worshipping, and Jesus is astounding people with his teaching, about God, with authority, which appears new and fresh to those gathered. Jesus calls out the unclean spirit and heals the man. Astonished, they begin to tell of this event, a living example of God’s kingdom coming near, in their own experience. Jesus’ ministry is not like the teachings of the synagogue leaders.  This is fresh and new and accessible. The work of the kingdom, is to transform people, and everyday life, so God has the glory and lives are forever changed. God’s kingdom is here and now!  What transformations are we experiencing, in our own lives, families, our church families and our communities?  May God bless us with a fresh vision of faith and purpose for our time.  Walking with Jesus and being transformed daily, for the sake of God’s kingdom.  Amen.
 
Prayer

Lord Jesus, walk into our lives, and reveal yourself to us, afresh.
Take our preconceived ideas and shatter them,
So that we can truly see you as you are!
In glory, and majesty and awe.
Show us now, the life of God’s kingdom and the transforming power of God.
Reshape us and make us new.  Amen.

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Sue Chapman, retired Minister and member of St Martin’s Saltdean, East Sussex

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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