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The Authentic Jesus | News Announcer
January 22, 2023
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
16Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 96:1-10
1Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8Ascribe to the Lord, the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Summary and Connection
For the past few weeks, we have been looking at select New Testament passages in order to discover Jesus as he is presented in the Bible. The series is aptly titled, The Authentic Jesus. So far in our discovery of the authentic Jesus, we have learned that Jesus is the scandalizer—the Savior who is to be worshiped as he is and not according to our imagination. We have also discovered Jesus as the myth buster—his life, death, and resurrection are not fanciful myths, but undeniable facts that compel us to submit to him for who he is and to follow him as the Savior of the world.
In this study based on Mark 1:14-20, we will discover Jesus as the announcer of the good news. The Gospel of Mark emphasizes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), and the Son of God. In Mark’s gospel—the shortest of all four gospels—we see Jesus announcing the kingdom of God, healing the sick, and dying on the cross as a ransom for sinners. Mark sets forth the essence of God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ—to restore and reconcile sinners to himself. In Mark 1:14-15, we see Jesus begin his ministry around the time when John is imprisoned. The content of Jesus’ message included reminding people of his arrival as the long awaited Messiah, ushering in the kingdom of God by proclamation of the gospel—a call to repentance and faith. The word “gospel” in Greek means “good news.” For Mark, the advent of Jesus is the “good news” as it fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah—proclamation of peace and an end to the oppression of sin. Jesus is not merely a prophet among many prophets, but the Son of God himself who proclaimed his arrival as the Messiah.
In verses 16-20, we see Jesus calling his first four disciples. Mark, after presenting Jesus as the long awaited Messiah who is none other than the Son of God, now presents Jesus as a Rabbinic figure. Rabbis (Mishnaic Hebrew word for Master or Teacher) in Jesus’ day chose their disciples themselves. As respected religious figures, Rabbis did not go to the people to choose their disciples, rather people went to Rabbis with hopes of becoming disciples. Jesus is unlike the Jewish Rabbis of his day. He goes into the world himself to choose his disciples. Unlike the Jewish Rabbis who chose the cultured and the educated, Jesus chose common men with unspectacular pedigree as his disciples. In this passage we see Jesus choose two sets of brothers—all fishermen, as his followers. Jesus calls them to be his disciples, and offers them a promotion in their job status—from fishermen to fishers of men. However, to follow Jesus meant that they leave the security of their present vocation and even the beloved family.
1. Looking at the Bible
What does the text say? What according to you is the theme of this passage?
- Why was John arrested? Why does Mark specify the beginning of Jesus ministry in light of John’s arrest?
- In verses 14 and 15 we read about Jesus’ proclamation of the gospel message, and the content of the gospel message. What is the meaning of the word ‘gospel?’ In your own words, describe the gospel message.
- What did Jesus intend to communicate through his message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.”
2. Looking at Jesus
At Central we believe that all of Scripture points to Jesus. In other words, Jesus is the theological center of the Bible. Every passage not only points to Jesus, but the grand narrative of the Bible also finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus.
- In verse 14 we read about John’s arrest. Jesus begins his ministry around the time of John’s arrest. Like John, Jesus proclaimed repentance and faith. What can we learn about the nature of Jesus’ ministry from his message in verse 15?
- What can we learn about the character of Jesus from the manner in which he called his first disciples?
3. Looking at Our Hearts
- What can we learn about the cost of following Jesus from this passage?
- In your experience as a Christian, what have you left behind to follow Jesus? Or what is God calling you to let go in order to fully experience the blessings of following the authentic Jesus?
4. Looking at Our World
- How is this passage hopeful for us as Christians living in a culture where authority is frowned upon and devotion to an authority figure is considered as a sign of gullibility?
God’s word is a lamp to our feet. Christ’s teachings are a light to our path. May God’s word take root in our lives. May Christ’s love nourish and sustain us. Amen.
View Study Guide Notes
Question 1: John was an important prophetic figure in the proclamation of the arrival of the Messiah. John was called the Forerunner of Jesus. John proclaimed the arrival of the Messiah, and the impending judgment. John called for repentance and he baptized the repentant people. However, his convicting message did not sit well with religious and political leaders of his day. John was put in prison for his prophetic Messianic message. Mark specifically mentions the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in light of John’s arrest for two reasons. First, for the readers to acknowledge the fulfillment of John’s prophecy in Jesus, and secondly, to indicate the completion of John’s role as the forerunner of Jesus.
According to Mark, Jesus proclaimed the gospel of God. The word ‘Gospel,’ in Greek means ‘good news.’ In other words, according to Mark, the gospel is the good news on several levels—the incarnation of Jesus is the good news as it fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. Secondly, the content of the message that Jesus proclaimed is the good news. Furthermore, the work of Christ on earth—in his ministry, and on the cross is the good news that redeems, justifies, and reconciles the sinners to God.
Jesus arrives in Galilee proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.” In his earthly ministry, Jesus fulfilled the role of a prophet, priest, and king. When Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled,” he indicated that the words of the prophets, most specifically Isaiah, who wrote about the coming of the Messiah, had been fulfilled by his arrival.
Furthermore, by proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand, Jesus ushered in, or inaugurated the kingdom of God, with his arrival as the Messianic king. The kingdom of God signified the sovereign reign, presence, and power of God on earth. Jesus ushered in and advanced the kingdom of God on earth, and as followers of Jesus we join in working for the kingdom of God.
Finally, how do we acknowledge and receive the good news of the gospel? We receive it by repentance and faith—we turn away from our sins, by putting our faith in the gospel, the person and work of Jesus Christ. Both our repentance and faith are the work of the Holy Spirit. We are saved by the grace of God, and not by virtue of our moral record, or commitment to follow Jesus.
Question 2: As discussed in the previous section, we know that John was arrested for preaching repentance and faith in the coming Messiah—Jesus. The religious leaders despised John as his message did not align with their false teaching. John was imprisoned and later killed for his message. Jesus comes proclaiming the gospel of God. The content of the gospel was redemptive—Jesus restored the sick and needy and reconciled the sinners to God; however, the condition of the gospel was repentance and faith. Jesus’ message and ministry were deeply offensive to the Jewish religious leaders. Both the Jews, and the Pharisees anticipated the Messiah to overthrow the oppressive Roman regime, and establish a geo-political kingdom; however, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God—a spiritual kingdom that can only be entered by repentance and faith in the person and work of Jesus. In this passage we see the dedication of Jesus to his Father’s mission—to accomplish the redemption of sinners by sacrificing himself as the lamb of atonement on the cross.
Mark presents Jesus not only as the Messiah, and the Son of God, but also as a Rabbi. As mentioned in the summary above, Rabbis (Mishnaic Hebrew word for Master or Teacher) in Jesus’ day chose their disciples themselves. As respected religious figures, Rabbis did not go to the people to select their disciples, rather people went to Rabbis with hopes of becoming disciples. Jesus is unlike the Jewish Rabbis of his day. He goes into the world himself to choose his disciples. Unlike the Jewish Rabbis who chose the cultured and the educated, Jesus chose common men with unspectacular pedigree as his disciples. While the Rabbis demanded respect, and chose the disciples based on external appearances and achievements, Jesus—although being the Son of God—humbled himself to dwell among sinful people. Jesus did not demand honor, rather he chose to be called a friend of sinners. He called the fishermen and tax collectors his disciples, he dined with people who were regarded as moral failures, he touched and healed the lepers, and he restored dignity to the marginalized like the Samaritan woman.
Question 3: Jesus called the disciples to follow him, and they all followed Jesus by leaving behind their jobs and families. To be a disciple of Jesus means to wholeheartedly submit to the claims of Jesus. As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus demands our utmost obedience and devotion to him. As we see in the passage, devotion to Jesus ought to take precedence over our jobs and relationships. Use this opportunity to ask your group about their functional heart idols. Encourage the group about the importance of cherishing Jesus as our treasure—if Jesus is our treasured possession, our hearts will indeed be devoted to him (Luke 12:34).
Question 4: In our sermon series we are learning about the authentic Jesus. As we have seen, the authentic Jesus scandalizes both the religious and the irreligious alike. For the irreligious, particularly in a city like New York, the claims of Jesus are deeply offensive as Jesus not only offers redemption, love and mercy, but he also demands utmost devotion. To follow Jesus involves examining our hearts to avoid creating Jesus of our own imagination and to wholeheartedly submit to Jesus for who he is. This passage shows us that following Jesus has immense implications—the disciples left their families and their jobs; however, following Jesus has eternal consequences as well—the disciples were not only redeemed from their sins, but they were also used as instruments of grace in the kingdom of God.
This passage provides us hope and confidence as Christians living in New York City. If Jesus is the Savior as he claims to be, then following him is the only way to experience authentic life on earth. Following Jesus no doubt means sacrifice and leading a radically different lifestyle. However, the beauty of following Jesus is that we enjoy the assurance of salvation and also have the privilege to be employed as God’s instruments of grace—the fishers of men—in a city that desperately needs to hear the good news.