Midweek Minute in Mark
Today’s reading is Mark 1:16-28.
Can I confess that I have always had a slight apprehension about pushes from the pulpit to invite people to church? To be clear, it’s never been the practice in itself that gives me pause. Inviting others to join us is in fact a good thing and I’m glad we do that at Trinity. However, it’s been a deeper motivation for this invitation that I have sensed in the past. At times it has felt like people should invite their friends to church to make sure they hear the story of Jesus from the experts, those of us trained in the Bible and religious studies, so it’s done “correctly.”
The emphasis of today’s reading, as Mark starts to get into the details of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, paints a very different emphasis. First, Jesus invites four teenage fishermen to be his apprentices. These boys would have dropped out of rabbinical school to work in the family business and yet they dropped everything to follow Jesus. Second, it’s important to note that Jesus’ background himself is compared, not to the rabbis (“one who had authority”), but instead to a scribe. Jesus’ culturally religious education would have been more similar to the fishermen than to the religious leaders of the time, and yet he spoke with a greater authority that amazed everyone. And then he obviously backed that up with action by rebuking an unclean spirit.
There is no question that Mark is making very clear that the ministry and work of Christ was going to come about in a very different way from the cultural standards of the time.
I hope you do invite others to join us as we gather together, but I hope that is not a replacement of the personal ministry that Jesus has invited you into for your own home, neighborhood, office, or friend group. That invitation from Jesus to Simon, Andrew, James, and John is the same for you today: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” (NRSV)
What is it that Christ could be inviting you into today for the sake of others?
Grace & Peace