Jesus has been baptized, he is named and claimed, and he has overcome evil in the wilderness. It’s go time.
We learn that John the Baptizer has been arrested, and then in steps Jesus. Does Jesus step in because John was arrested or would he have stepping in at this time regardless? We don’t really know, but it seems to me that John’s arrest is inconsequential. Jesus is ready, and John has prepared the way. So here comes Jesus.
He goes to Galilee, where he will spend a lot of time, and right away he’s picking up where John left off. He’s proclaiming the “good news” and proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near, or more literally, “at hand”, which means that it’s within grasp. What all this means is what the following chapters will describe.
The next thing that happens is Jesus begins to call his disciples. In this we see that the work Jesus is called to do is not just for Jesus. Along with Jesus’ baptism comes a sense of call. He is the Beloved Son of God, and this is not just a name or a title, but with it comes a job. That job is proclaiming the good news and calling people to “repent and believe the good news”.
Beloved, this is our job too. This is what Jesus calls his disciples to do with him. What is that? It’s simple, beautiful, and important. First of all the “good news” is that we too are God’s beloved children. We are not who the structures of the world often tell us we are, which is “not enough”. Our jobs, our grades, our families’ approval, our own shame do not define us. The Heavens have “torn apart” and broken through all of that to tell us that we are Beloved.
And to really let that in requires a reorienting of our lives, or “repentance”. Repentance is not some ritual we do in order to cleans ourselves to satisfy an angry God and get to Heaven. Repentance is a complete rethinking of what is most true, and then turning to go and live that way, and then in it we find true, everlasting, and abundant life (slipping into the Gospel of John here!)… or you might say we find the Kingdom of God.
As Christ followers, our job is to do that ourselves, which is to say we “leave our nets”, not necessarily literally, but metaphorically. We leave those things that we think give us value and worth (e.g.: our success in the marketplace or academia) and we step into the presence of God where our value and worth and innate within us, just as we are with nothing to prove to anyone. God loves you. So, Beloved… love yourself!
Then we go and spread that good news to the world around us. In this sense, let us be “good newsers”. Let us be… dare I say… “evangelists”.