Read­ing Time: 3 minutes


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.….….….….….….…Details in the word of life.

Reflecting on Matthew 4:17

Repent, for the king­dom of heav­en is near” (Matt 4:17). In the Gos­pel accord­ing to Mark (1:15), we also read that as soon as John the Baptist was arres­ted, Jesus went into Galilee and there pro­claimed the Gos­pel say­ing: “the time is com­pleted, and the king­dom of God has come, repent and believe the Gos­pel.” This is the sum­mary of how Jesus began his pro­clam­a­tion of the mes­sage of sal­va­tion. And all his teach­ings and actions revolve around this king­dom of heav­en which has drawn near. The king­dom of God (or king­dom of heav­en accord­ing to the Jew­ish expres­sion), is a ref­er­ence to the sov­er­eign activ­ity of God.….….….….….detail in the word of life.

Follow Me

After the call to repent­ance, Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee. As he walked, he saw Simon called Peter and his broth­er Andrew, cast­ing their nets into the sea, hop­ing to make some good catch. Imme­di­ately, he summoned them to come after him. His inten­tion was to trans­form them into fish­ers of men. That is, instead of catch­ing fish, he now wants them to start catch­ing human beings. As he con­tin­ued, Jesus saw two oth­er broth­ers, James and John. Again, he asked them to fol­low him. Since they were also fish­ers, we can infer that he also wanted to trans­form them into fish­ers of Men (cf. Matt 4:18–21). In his request to his would-be-fol­low­ers (dis­ciples), Jesus uses the expres­sions deute opisō mou (cf. Matt 4:19; Mark 1:17) and ako­louthei moi (cf. Luke 5:27). Deute is an adverb func­tion­ing as verb. When accom­pan­ied by an imper­at­ive, it means come imme­di­ately! (cf. Matt 21:38; 22:4). When fol­lowed by the pre­pos­i­tion opisō, it means come after, fol­low.….….….….detail in the word of life.

Reason for the Call

Because the mis­sion of pro­claim­ing the Good News should con­tin­ue even after his earthly mis­sion, Jesus recruited labour­ers into the Lord’s vine­yard. If Simon (called Peter) and his broth­er Andrew were good fish­er­men, then, Jesus had every good reas­on to employ them because, they will also be won­der­ful fish­ers of men. Again, if the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) were gif­ted in mend­ing nets, def­in­itely, they will also be gif­ted in mend­ing people’s lives. Hence, Jesus wasted no time in employ­ing them. It is really sur­pris­ing Jesus’ mode of employ­ment. No form­al inter­view, no exam­in­a­tion of the candidate’s cur­riculum vitae. He simply says: come, fol­low me and those con­cerned aban­don everything even their fath­er and fol­lowed him, without ques­tion­ing and try­ing to find out the nature of the call­ing and the mis­sion. This is really won­der­ful and sur­pris­ing!  

He travelled round… teaching and proclaiming….

After call­ing the first four dis­ciples, Jesus went round the entire Galilee teach­ing in their vari­ous Syn­agogues, pro­claim­ing the Good News of the king­dom of God, cur­ing people of their dis­eases (Greek: nosos) and sick­nesses (Greek: malakia). Mat­thew links teach­ing, pro­claim­ing and cur­ing to the king­dom. With such join­ing, he out­lines the three aspects of Jesus’ mis­sion. That is, teach­ing (Greek: didaskō), pro­clam­a­tion (Greek: kērussō) and cur­ing teach­ing.….…..detail in the word of life.     


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? 

Jesus’ call to repent­ance must be taken ser­i­ously. If as Jesus said, the king­dom of God is near, what is your reac­tion? Make hon­esty your weapon without mind­ing wheth­er the people around you are hon­est or not. Be your­self! Sha­lom!  


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