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Mark’s first-century biography – page 3

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he (Jesus, c. AD 27) 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. 

These two brothers are the very first men whom Jesus called – personally called – to follow him. Mark doesn’t record any prior meeting with Jesus. But they had probably heard him speak and heard about John the Baptist saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” But why follow immediately – just like that? 

Simon and Andrew were getting fish out of the sea with a net. Their livelihood was to take out of the sea as much as they could. To follow Jesus meant that, instead, they would become those who would rescue men and women out of the sea. The sea of life? Or something else?

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.

Again, two brothers are called by Jesus. Interestingly they’re making their nets “fit for purpose” - the getting of fish from the sea to sell to others. But they leave nets, boat, employees - and father - behind. They are to go on the same roadway as Jesus and so become those who rescue others out of the sea.  

‘When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.’ (From an ancient poem in the Hebrew Scriptures) 
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

The five men went into Capernaum. For four of them this was their fishing village on the shore of Lake Galilee. On the Sabbath this man Jesus takes them to the synagogue - the village meeting place for reading aloud and teaching the Jewish Scriptures. 

Everyone is “knocked out” (the literal meaning of the Greek word translated “astonished”) by the teaching of Jesus. The teaching? Yes. Why? He is teaching them their Scriptures as though he had written them – as the “author” of those ancient words.

And immediately 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.” 

Maybe you’ve been in a meeting place – a lecture room, a church – full of respectable people? What happens when one of those respectable people goes bananas? This man in the Capernaum meting place talks about himself in the plural – “us” – as well as the singular. His main obsession is that Jesus has come to that place “to destroy us” – to destroy me.

The man identifies this authoritative “knock-out” teacher as “the Holy one of God”. Has he, in fact, come to destroy the man and all life within the man? Can’t be, surely? That wouldn’t fit with him wanting to make his followers into “fishers of men”. 

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 

Something was dreadfully wrong inside this AD 27 synagogue-goer. He feared being hurt and destroyed by Jesus and resisted with violent shouting. Fortunately for him, his internal “problems” obeyed Jesus and left him.  

‘When you feel my heat, look into my eyes/ It's where my demons hide, it's where my demons hide/ Don't get too close, it's dark inside/ It's where my demons hide, it's where my demons hide.’ (Song released 2012 by Imagine Dragons) 
And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Sinner Syvret

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