The proclamation has been made: “The Kingdom of God is near.” Now the community of the Kingdom begins to form; the restored people of God are called forth from gutting fish and mending nets to a new vocation as heralds, messengers, fishers of people.
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
One supremely necessary preparation for receiving the Holy Ghost consists in our cultivating a pure, simple, and cordial fellowship with other children of God, and our being closely united to them after the example of the apostles and disciples of the Lord….The Holy Spirit is a God of love and peace. Therefore in order to become capable and susceptible of Him, we must cleave unto those who are already either led and animated by this Spirit, or at least hunger and thirst after Him and possess the good will of submitting themselves to His government.
—Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)
Do not miss the importance of these words; at the core of the Kingdom is not merely a new alliance, new associations, a name-only “community.” Rather, instead, it consists of sturdy, true, and very human friendships.