Sharing the Good News
In the passages from Mark this week, Jesus begins to choose His followers. The text implies they left their parochial interests at the moment of their call for the greater challenge. Why? Some scholars speculate they knew Jesus either personally or by reputation. Since Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee was only twenty miles distant from Nazareth, some believe the carpenter Jesus could have sought employment there. If that were the case, certainly He could have made friends and business connections in the village and along the western shoreline of the lake. Such a personal network might have helped Him spread the message and recruit hand-picked followers.
A pattern for the Lord’s ministry then begins to emerge: healing, personal prayer and mobility. First, Jesus raised Simon Peter’s mother-in-law up from an unnamed but debilitating illness and many more healings followed. Next, Jesus withdrew to pray before dawn. He balanced His time between public ministry and private prayer. But even in this balance, the needs of others would not give Him rest.
Finally, He took His disciples to the next town and the next, in order to spread the Good News. Proclaiming the coming reign of God trumped any parochial need or desire. The Lord left us an example of the Christian leadership and lifestyle – public activity, personal prayer, proclaiming the Good News.
Mark’s gospel also presents a remarkable scenario of one shunned from society who dared to defy a cultural taboo for a favour. In Mosaic law a leper suffered quarantine until the disease ran its course; only then could the outcast return to his former place. In this case, a sick man broke the wall of separation, seeking a cure. Even more remarkable, Jesus violated the Law by touching the leper and healing him. Two men violated a divinely-given edict to prove to the religious elite that God worked in the lives of people, despite their place and power. But, the former outcast did not deliver the testimony to the leaders; instead, he evangelised others.
Evangelisation is not just our efforts to bring others to Christ. No, like the leper, we simply share the Good News of God’s activity in our lives and let the Spirit do the rest. How can we use our personal network of friends and family to share the Good News?
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