Turn in a New Direction

“… immediately they left their nets …” (Mark 1:18)

Jesus comes out of Mark’s abridged account of the temptation in the desert ready to begin his public ministry. Reminiscent of John, he initially calls for repentance. Certainly this implies a turning from sin. John the Baptist called for an abandonment of sin. The reading from Jonah tells of the people of Nineveh repenting of their sins and receiving God’s mercy. Now Jesus beckons us to repent because the time is ripe for the kingdom. A theme for this day could focus on giving up our sins for the sake of the kingdom. However, let us save that theme for Lent.

Mark implies a slightly different nuanced meaning of “repent.” The Greek word that Mark uses is metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind, to turn, to go in another direction. Jesus says “the time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15). The word used here for time is not chronos, meaning time on the clock or calendar in the sense of chronology. The word is kairos, meaning the right time. Jesus is saying that circumstances are converging to make this the urgent moment for the kingdom. As Jesus begins his public ministry, he is making a turn in his life. He repents, not from sin, but in the sense of going in a new direction. He then calls Simon, Andrew, James and John. They immediately follow him. They made a turn in their lives. This also was a form of repentance, a turning, a looking at things differently, a change of mind.

Mark says that the four fishermen followed Jesus immediately. There is a sense of urgency. He uses the word “immediately” 27 times. It is as if there is a window of opportunity. We move now, turn now, change our minds now (repent), or we miss it. Now is the time (kairos), the right moment. Jesus does not ask us to play it safe like “here’s an idea, but keep your day job just in case.” Jesus asks us to throw caution to the wind.

Look it Up

Using a concordance, look up the 27 times Mark uses the word “immediately” (eutheos). Note the urgency of the right time (kairos).

Think About It

Have there been times in our lives when God called us to tum in a new direction and we did or did not have a change of mind?


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