Immediately after telling of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, Mark provides a Reader’s Digest condensed version of his essential preaching: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Jesus’ sermon is every bit as brief as Jonah’s (the Hebrew Scriptures lesson for today) – although a bit more positive in tone. Jesus then calls Simon and Andrew to be his disciples, in equally laconic fashion: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” To which Mark matter-of-factly adds, “And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” These are beloved and well-known words – even if they make us wish for more narrative detail, so we may understand what, psychologically, is going on in the minds of Simon and Andrew that makes them want to leave everything to follow this itinerant preacher. Even though Mark uses the word “immediately,” his entire narrative is so stripped-down and basic that we shouldn’t necessarily assume that he means they dropped everything that second, happily trotting off down the beach after a man they scarcely knew. There was probably a bit more to it than that (although imagination is required to fill in the details).
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