After Jesus’ baptism and temptation (Wasn’t that the ultimate battle of Scripture?) comes the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Matthew begins this part of his narrative with Jesus hearing about John’s arrest. When he heard, “he withdrew to Galilee.” That’s an interesting choice of words, isn’t it? Withdrew. At the very least that word implies that Jesus was removing himself from the situation. Was he that upset about John? Did he think his presence would hinder or prevent the things that needed to happen? Or did he just know it was time to start the next part of the plan and knew that wouldn’t happen on his home turf? Maybe it was all of that (or none of it). Whatever the reason, when Jesus gets to Capernaum, he starts proclaiming a message similar to John’s but with a life-altering modification.
Matthew records that both John and Jesus proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” John followed this with the message that someone greater than him was coming. Jesus preached repentance then called people to follow him. How is this life-altering? It probably wasn’t for Jesus. He was, after all, already doing what he came to do. The people who followed him, on the other hand, their lives were irrevocably changed and not gradually either. Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John. Their responses were immediate. Maybe they knew something about Jesus before hand, maybe not. I doubt they really understood what they were getting into. Regardless, they acted. Something about Jesus grabbed them and they obeyed. They followed Jesus into something far greater than any of us. None of us can know where God is leading us in the long run. We may be given glimpses but we just aren’t capable of understanding God’s whole plan. We are too small. But that’s okay. God uses tiny drops of water to carve canyons into rock. He’ll use us to do unimaginable feats if we just heed His call. We don’t need to plan. We just need to follow when He says, “Come.”