In Mark’s Gospel, right after his baptism by John and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus heads to the area of Galilee and calls his first four disciples. They are fishermen.
But hear how it goes. He approaches, say “Follow me and I will make you fish for people” and IMMEDIATELY they leave what they are doing and follow him. Perfectly good nets, left on the shore. A father of two of them, left standing in the boat with only a couple of hired hands.
Honestly, I when I read this I have to ask myself. “Are these guys nuts?” This guy comes and says, follow me and leave your job behind. And you IMMEDIATELY leave it and follow him.
Is this some kind holy version of the Jedi mind trick? There must be more to this. Did they already know him or about him? Yet, when I read the Mark’s gospel, we are given nothing more about the encounter or any previous relationship.
What we do have is the two verses just before this story. In which our gospel writer sets the both the scene and in fact, the whole gospel of Mark. He writes in verses 14 and 15:
“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.”” (Mark1:14-15 NRSV)
You see, the time was right. The situation in Jesus’ community and in the nation were ripe for change and the ancient prophecies were the only hope left in the hearts of the people that a change would happen.
Think about it, as we have watched and continue to watch the people of nations stand up against ruling governments in mass protests, often in the face of violence and even death. Someone had to have invited them to come. And that someone probably had offered no promise of safety or success. But so deep was the desire for change, so strong was the hope for better, that that person left behind what they were doing and followed.
For us today, I am left with the question, what would the situation need to be like around you, for you to imagine doing what these four fellows in our gospel did? Or what those men, women, young, and old have done in streets around the world?