Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/26- Mark 1:14-18, Dropping our Nets

(William Borden- the heir who left it all to be a missionary)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

12/26- Mark 1:14-18 (Beginning of Jesus in the Gospels 7)
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Calvin abridged: John was thrown into prison for a reason (Luke 3:19; Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17). That is that Herod was fearing a popular insurrection so he shut up John in the castle of Macherus. It is well known that Herod, though he had been married to a daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia, fell in love with Herodias, his niece, and carried her off by fraud. [John rebuked such things and was imprisoned (cf. Josephus 18:4:6)]. History shows what sort of award awaits faithful and honest ministers when they rebuke vices, especially from tyrants. Pride of this sort is found in everyone, for scarcely one in a hundred handles being rebuked well. John is an illustrious example of that moral courage. All pious teachers ought not to hesitate to incur the wrath of the great and powerful. The one who accepted by everyone does not honestly serve God. Christ entered the exercise of his office when he arrived in Galilee. The summary of the teaching of Jesus is not different from what was taught by John: for it consisted in two parts
1) repentance and 2) the kingdom of God is at hand which is the announcement of grace and salvation. God sometimes invites us to repentance and nothing more. Later on it is clear that conversion and newness of life are the gifts of God (Rom. 6:4). This is intended to let us know that while our duty is commanded of us, the grace and power to obey are also offered at the same time. Repentance is connected with faith- not just for renewal but also that we might serve God in holiness and righteousness. There is a special relationship between faith and forgiveness, seen in the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 5:1). God offers to us a free salvation that we might turn to him and live to righteousness. Accordingly, he calls us to deny the flesh. “The kingdom of God” is the Gospel; for it is in the preaching of the Gospel that the kingdom is set up. In no other way does God reign among people. It is also evident, how horrible human life is without the Gospel.
Thoughts: John’s imprisonment set Jesus free to start preaching the same message, but even more powerfully. Sometimes when those we admire cannot work others take up their mantle even more powerfully. Peter and Andrew were disciples of John (John 1:40,41), but this is the instance in which they went from part-time disciples to full time leaders. They gave up their trade of bringing fish into the boat for bringing people into the kingdom. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Jesus needs the best people who are willing to sacrifice it all to follow him. I am reminded of William Borden, heir of the Borden dairy fortune- and a promising Yale graduate, who gave it all up to be a missionary to the people of Egypt, only to die there at twenty-five. Yet Borden’s last breath indicated he would have done it again. The inscription on his grave says, “Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life.” The world would have us cling to our nets and make bigger ones. Christ invites us to drop our simple nets that entangle us and invest ourselves in what is of eternal importance. While some are called full time into such great work, all of us are encouraged to do a little fishing for souls.

Prayer: Help us all to hear the call to care for the souls of others. Give us grace to quit going our own way to go yours.

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