2 January 2018

Hi, it’s Mick here and welcome to Tuesday’s Podcast. The reflections in this first week of 2018 are focused on our relationship with God – our personal walk with Jesus. Today’s Bible reading is Mark 1:16-34; you can hear our reading after the worship song but do read the whole passage some time today if you can. It’s so important to do this as it allows God to speak to us through his word in the Bible.

REFLECTION

If yesterday Jesus was saying ‘the time has come’, ‘the Kingdom of God is here’ in today’s reading he begins by offering an invitation to us. Verse 17 is our focus verse for the day:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

We read that Simon ((Peter) and his brother Andrew followed ‘immediately’ and a a few verses later they meet James and John who are offered the same invitation by Jesus and their response is the same. Jesus just doesn’t call them to follow he says this extraordinary thing that he will make them ‘fishers of people’. Their faith, their story, their very lives will become so attractive and inspiring that others will be drawn to them and through them to Jesus and this is the start of his world changing movement of forgiveness and love.

It all begins with four ordinary working men who make a decision to follow Jesus. These four men were the first of millions of men, women and children who since that day have decided to follow Jesus. If that includes you today, well done you made the right decision!

People are still attracted to Jesus, they just need someone to point them in his direction! I am a CofE vicar and I remember once being told as part of my ongoing training that the vicar needs to be the ‘theological resource for the parish’ which may include further academic study which would then equip you as the vicar to answer any difficult theological questions that may arise.

I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now! My answer then was the same as now – people with questions about life and faith don’t need ‘a resource’ about God, they need ‘a relationship’ with God! After over 27 years of ordained ministry, my experience is that people just simply need pointing to Jesus so they can hear him say to them ‘The time has come … follow me, here is a better way to live your life’. Our vision as a church at STC this year is simply that, inviting people to ‘Join us in Building Community’ – communities made up of ordinary people like me and you who are following Jesus; encouraging each other as we look to learn from him and live out his life of love, generosity and kindness – communities that make a difference in our society. If all of us in our nation who called ourselves Christian did just this, simply pointed others to Christ by the witness of our lives and our church, who knows what might happen!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me to follow you. I commit myself again today to this wonderful calling. Show me how, by my words, my actions, my community and my life I can offer your invitation to other to follow you also. Bless my day in your service. Amen.

READING: MARK 1:16-34

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. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay 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, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’

‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.’ News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all who were ill and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.