Lots happens in chapter 1 of Mark, and the words used to describe what happens show that they happen with speed and energy. Right away, immediately, suddenly – four fishermen leave their work to follow him, they all go to synagogue, a person with an unclean spirit screams at the sight of Jesus.
That escalated quickly. Will fishing for people always be so dramatic? Who is this guy? What have we gotten ourselves into, man?
In a time of both spiritual and material emergency, I wonder if we can take some solace in knowing the first disciples, despite being water-wise, had to immediately realize they were in over their heads. Suddenly they saw they were attached to someone unpredictable. Right away he was drawing attention; surely they had been seen with him?
The whole story of the disciples in Mark is about not understanding, asking the wrong questions, acting from wrongheaded impulses, and hiding from the truth.
But without being impulsive and a little boneheaded, I wonder if any of us would follow?
Holy One, help me see how I am like those first followers, and sweep me up with you immediately, suddenly, right away … before I can hide myself away. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Mark for Lent. Want to read along? I’m using the Common English Bible because it messes with my expectations of familiar passages. I am also referring to NRSV-based resources including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, as well as the online Greek interlinear Bible. Tomorrow I’ll be reading Mark 1:29-45. Full schedule can be found here.