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FOLLOWING JESUS

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

Introduction

Last Sunday, John the Baptist intro­duced Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. With such present­a­tion, this Sunday Gos­pel read­ing presents Jesus as offi­cially com­men­cing his mis­sion. Since John the Baptist has been arres­ted (by Herod Anti­pas, one of the sons of Herod the Great), which auto­mat­ic­ally marks the con­clu­sion of his mis­sion, Jesus can now com­mence his pro­claim­ing of the Good News, which will lead to the tak­ing away of that sin of the world as announced by John the Baptist. How else could the sin of the world be taken away if not through the mis­sion of the Son of Man? Hav­ing com­pleted the pre­par­a­tions for his mis­sion (cf. Matt 4:1–11), John the Baptist whose mis­sion it was to pre­pare the way for he who was to come after him, can now give way, so that Jesus can begin his mis­sion. Wheth­er John the Baptist was arres­ted or not, the main point is that he must dis­ap­pear from the scene so that Jesus can appear. “From that time on, Jesus began to pro­claim say­ing, repent, for the king­dom of heav­en is near” (Matt 4:17) means the peri­od of pre­par­a­tion is over. The way has been paved, the land has been tilled, so, Jesus can now plant. With the invit­a­tion to repent, Jesus simply builds on the mes­sage of John the Baptist (cf. Matt 3:2). In Mat­thew, “from that time…” is an allu­sion to some­thing unique. It is an invit­a­tion to the read­er to pay par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to what fol­lows (besides Matt 4:17, cf. also Matt 16:21).

The Irresistible Call

Jesus’ call Deute opisō mou – Come, fol­low me, was and still is, an irres­ist­ible call. It is a divine invit­a­tion from which none can lib­er­ate himself/herself even if the per­son wishes. It is a mag­net­ic call. Jesus knows the nature of the mis­sion of the pro­clam­a­tion of the Gos­pel and, he equally knows the qual­i­fic­a­tions needed to be part of it. Mark reports that Jesus went up to a moun­tain and called to him­self those he wanted, they went to him and he con­sti­tuted them the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:13–19). Now, those he wanted means those he has examined and found cap­able of being dis­ciples. Jesus did not choose his favour­ites, the chil­dren of his friends, his friends or even his rela­tions. He did not choose those who spies for him as some who are in-charge of the can­did­ates to the priest­hood do. He called those who can deliv­er. Today, the situ­ation is com­pletely the oppos­ite. And this is why things are not as they should be.

Conclusion

Those who believed the teach­ings of Jesus and repen­ted of their sins exper­i­enced and con­tin­ue to exper­i­ence the power of the Good News by being lib­er­ated of their ail­ments, both phys­ic­al and espe­cially spir­itu­al. The first step towards any form of heal­ing is for one to abide by the teach­ings of the Gos­pel. That is, to repent and change one’s style of life which is not in har­mony with the divine dic­tates. Today, Chris­ti­ans rush from one place to anoth­er, crav­ing for mir­acles and for the so-called aka nchawa (instant pro­gress). Amaz­ingly, these same people are involved in one form of evil or the oth­er. You are expect­ing mir­acle from God but you are unjust, insin­cere, dis­hon­est, god­less, dis­crim­in­at­ory, and selfish. How do you expect God to answer you when you des­troy and kill oth­ers through your deadly gos­sips and lies? Why do you allow anoth­er person’s pro­gress to make you sad? You look around today, you see people lit­er­ally for­cing God to do mir­acle in their lives. People rush­ing to god­less men who claim to be God’s rep­res­ent­at­ives look­ing for mir­acles. Reli­gion has finally become a ser­i­ous busi­ness. And God, Jesus and the Bible have become trade­marks with which the ‘seem­ingly wise ones’ deceive and dupe the ignor­ant and the frus­trated. Jesus taught and pro­claimed the Good News of the king­dom of God. Today, many teach and preach money and their own king­dom. To such people, Jesus insists “repent, for the king­dom of heav­en is near.”

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE:
SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 3rd Sunday of the year is found in
The Word of Life, vol. I, pages 74–84. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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