Just a brief note today because my laptop hard drive has disintegrated!
Jesus can say that the kingdom of God is near because He, the King, is near.
Peter and Andrew, James and John—they all responded with haste. While their initial response is immediate, the text they certainly didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. They failed to consider the cost. And the cost turned out to be too high; they all abandoned Jesus before ultimately coming back to him.
John Mark was another one who failed to count the cost. He was taken by Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas, let’s presume when the going got tough. Could it be that Mark too hadn’t counted the cost? It is speculation, but possible.
Later, Barnabas allowed Mark to join him on another challenging journey, and this time Mark succeeded. Likewise, the same disciples that follow Jesus “immediately” in this chapter will abandon him just as quickly at Gethsemane. There is nothing wrong with following immediately; there is everything wrong with following immediately without counting the cost. The Gospel of Mark places a higher priority on a lasting response than an immediate one.