“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
I was first struck reading the Gospel by the line, “this is the time of fulfillment”. Reading a second time and placing myself in the passage, I saw myself in the place of Jesus. Particularly, the moment He is standing on the shore, watching Simon and Andrew. I saw the beauty of the open sea, the glimmering light of the water, and the two men casting. I felt the burning love and joyful anticipation of Jesus' heart as He watches these two who would become his beloved friends and disciples.
In pondering, I wonder about the attitude or hearts of Simon and Andrew. Were they fishing joyously, enjoying the day and open air together? Were they physically exhausted or mentally drained by their work and daily life? Perhaps they were chewing on the words of John, becoming aware of an ache in their own hearts to understand “how is this the time of fulfillment? How is the kingdom of God at hand? What does it mean to believe in the gospel?”
And Jesus is there, watching and delighting in them. They have Him in their midst and He is about to extend the call. Whatever the attitude of our own hearts, our physical settings, or personal feelings, He is looking at each and every one of us with this same great, anticipatory love. In perfect knowledge He sees our hearts and is in our midst calling us to something radical; to lean into these questions, follow after Him, and trust that He fulfills all.
It’s the awareness and time spent pondering these questions and heart-felt aches in prayer which allows us to hear the call of Jesus. To then follow Him, and live in the providential unfolding of his plan of fulfillment. To be a part of and witness first hand the building of the kingdom of God. To personal repentance, and greater belief in the Gospel for our own lives.
May we lean into the questions and aches of our hearts and do so in his loving gaze, confident of his invitation that this very moment in our life is “the time of fulfillment” because He is also truly here in our midst.