Day 4 – Jesus’ Essential Message in Seventeen Words

Mark 1:14–20

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Consider This

Obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings can land you in jail. In this instance, John made his conviction about marriage known to Herod, who had taken his brother’s wife, Herodias; which according to Scripture, constituted adultery. This is the kind of persecution Jesus referenced when he said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).

The Holy Spirit keeps the main thing the main thing. Mark clocks in Jesus’ first sermon at just under ten seconds. John’s core message was every bit of thirty-six words. Jesus cut that in half, coming in at seventeen words. Behold the masterpiece: “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

What is our core essential message? I don’t mean you have to be a preacher to have a core message. Your life has one. The question is, What is it? What core essential message is your life’the combination of your words and actions’speaking? Invite the Holy Spirit to clarify this for you. The Holy Spirit will make us an essentialist, to borrow Greg McKeown’s term. Life is short. Our message must become clear.

The Holy Spirit prefers lay people. I find it fascinating that Jesus didn’t head to the temple to find his followers. Clearly, the most trained and committed religious people in the land were the Scribes and Pharisees. Could it be that sometimes the most educated and trained people have the most unlearning to do when it comes to the life of faith? It is significant that Jesus went to the working world to recruit his disciples. He still does.

The Holy Spirit seems to like preexisting relationships. Our relationships provide the seedbed for the activity of the Holy Spirit. As the person of the Holy Spirit dwells in the unshakable bond between the Father and the Son, so he creates the bonds between the followers of Jesus. The Spirit indwells us individually, but he does so for the sake of our relationships.

Preexisting relationships’two sets of brothers in today’s case—offer an out-of-the-box, plug-and-play situation for rapid response. In the best case, there is history, trust, and a framework of tacit understanding between people. In other cases, there’s the possibility for healing and reconciliation within broken relationships, which creates an immediate testimony to the work of God.

What if we thought of our present friendships as places where we could invite the Holy Spirit to work for the sake of blessing others? What if we consciously offered our families to God, inviting him to make our relationships therein a place of blessing for others?

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

Describe the relationships in your life in which the Holy Spirit is working to manifest God’s kingdom.

What relationships have you never considered for this possibility?