1This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began 2just as the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
3He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the lord’s coming!
4This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 5All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 6His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.
7John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
9One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
12The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
14Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
16One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18And they left their nets at once and followed him.
19A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
Respond: Jesus answers life’s essential question – What’s my purpose in life? in Mark 17. When Jesus recruits his first followers – a close knit group of small business owners who run a fishing operation – he dangles his own enticing bait: “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Like most people, these men identify themselves by their occupation – what we do defines who we are. So Jesus is appealing to the deepest place in their soul – the place where their identity lives – when he offers to reorient their purpose in life. What if, he asks, you to trade your small dreams for a big dream? What if you were created to be a source, through Jesus, of rescue and redemptive hope for others – to capture them from a dark sea of hopelessness and drag them into a boat of refuge, where they can find the life they were created to live? Guess what, he is asking you! Our purpose in life is to love God with all that we are, and to love others with the same passion that Jesus has for them. We are created to “fish for people,” no matter what our particular calling in life is. How do you feel about this?