The Gospel Jesus Taught, Part 2

The Gospel Jesus Taught, Part 2 January 17, 2024


Unlike the gospel these messengers announced, Jesus’ gospel wasn’t about Rome but about what he referred to as “the kingdom.” In the kingdom or reign of God, there would be enough bread for everyone and all debts would be cancelled, all slaves set free, and land returned to its original owners (Matthew 6:11, Luke 4:18-19, and Matthew 5:45).

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(Read this series from its beginning here.)

Jesus was also not merely announcing that God’s just future was coming. He was announcing that it had arrived, and the response he called for was for his listeners to “repent and believe the good news.” 

The phrase “repent and believe” is a difficult one for us Christians not to hear religiously as pertaining to the afterlife, but the Greek phrase is metanoesein kai pistos. Josephus uses this phrase when he tells us a story of visiting a Jewish brigand in prison for rebelling against Rome. Jospheus attempts to convince the rebel to leave that path and take up a more cooperative posture toward the empire. The phrase Josephus uses in his plea is for this brigand to “repent and believe/trust him” (metanoesein kai pistos emoi genesestha), and it’s the same language we read in Mark from Jesus’ gospel preaching (see Thackery’s The Life Of Flavius Josephus, p. 110).

So Jesus is preaching a gospel of the kingdom, not a gospel of Rome. He is not calling his listeners to repent of rebellion against Rome or to accept Rome’s governance, but rather for his listeners to repent (rethink their current path) of complicity with the status quo. He calls them to trust him and enter God’s just future now. 

It is in this context that we must understand Mark’s next narrative move of Jesus calling fishermen. We must set aside the Christian evangelism framing this passage has suffered since this story was told, and try to hear this passage as the original Jewish Jesus followers would have heard it.

First, this language of being fishers of people is not a metaphor for evangelism. Proselytizing was not widely practiced in most expressions of Judaism at this time. Though there were occasionally converts , most scholars today agree that Jews did not do much proselytizing in the 1st Century. 

Jesus was not calling to these Jewish fishermen to become proselytizers, then. Instead, the reference to fishing for people was a call to another kind of action in the justice tradition of the Hebrew prophets: joining Jesus in challenging harm being done to people in the here and now, not the hereafter.

In several Hebrew scriptures, fishing for people was about hooking or catching a certain kind of person, a powerful and unjust person, and removing them from the position of power where they were wielding harm. We’ll consider some examples, next.

(Read Part 3)



Finding Jesus Second Edition!

I have some exciting news! I have just signed an agreement with a new book publisher (Quoir), and we are putting together a launch team for the second edition of Finding Jesus, coming out next month!

If you have been blessed by the first edition, and you would like to see this book have greater exposure to reach an even larger audience, I want to invite you to be a part of the launch team. This second edition will be available in paperback, Kindle and an audio book available on Audible. And great news for those who already have a copy of the first edition, the first 25 people to sign up to be part of our launch team will also receive a FREE Audible copy of the audiobook for Finding Jesus.

To join the Finding Jesus launch team, all you need to do is four things:

1) Go to Amazon and pre-order a copy of the second edition when pre-orders become available.

2) Read the pdf copy of the second edition of Finding Jesus that I will send you after your pre-order the book so that you’re ready on launch day.

3) On launch day go back to Amazon and write a review for Finding Jesus. (You’ll be able to do this on day one since you’ve already read the pdf copy.)

4) Share your review of Finding Jesus on your social media pages that day, also.

It’s pretty simple. That’s all. And if you already have copy of the first edition this is a great opportunity to get the audiobook version on Audible as soon as it is available.

If you would like to join our launch team, you can email me at and just put in the subject of your email “Launch Team.”

Thank you in advance for being part of this special second edition publishing and ensuring this edition is a success.

About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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