Pastor's Pen
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May 26, 2016, 9:19 AM

"Make Judea Great Again"


“Make Judea Great Again”

Mark 1:14-20


   For some of us, the conditions in the Gospel of Mark are somewhat analogous to the current political situation in the United States as different presidential candidates debate one another, offer new plans, and present competing visions in seeking our votes in the Democratic and Republican primaries. Imagine someone in Jesus’ day wearing a hat that reads, “Make Judea Great Again!” Well, just a thought.

   Have you ever known anyone who didn’t carry on the family business? I mean someone who went to college and decided not to come home and go to work in the family store.  We have no idea how many generations the Zebedee Family had been fishing on the Sea of Galilee, but it was quite likely a lot more than four. In that culture and country, like in many today, a small family business can be handed on not only through generations, but through centuries. It’s safe and secure; people know what they’re doing. If times are hard, the usual answer is simply to work a bit harder.

   But then along came the young prophet-type from Nazareth, and told James and John, and their neighbors Peter and Andrew, to drop it all and follow Him. And they did. Imagine, walking by the seashore and asking fishermen to drop it all … leave the family business and follow a totally different track.

   Only when you think a bit about the sort of life Peter, Andrew, James and John had had, and the totally unknown future Jesus was inviting them into, do you understand just how earth-shattering this little story was and is. Leave everything you’ve known, all your security, your family (the family solidarity was hugely important in that culture), and follow Jesus.

   I want to suggest that the way Mark tells the story sends echoes ringing back through the Scriptures, the larger narrative of God’s people. “Leave your country and your father’s house,” said God to Abraham, “and go to the land I will show you.”  Abraham, like Peter and the others, did what he was told, and went where he was sent. Mark is hinting to his readers that the old family business of the people of God is taking a new turn, and is calling a new people to a new adventure. And the name of this new adventure is “The Kingdom of God.” To be continued. 05.22.2016

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:



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