It is the third Sunday after the Epiphany. The title of today’s cantata is “Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort” (Settle account! Word of thunder).
Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:14-20. I prefer the King James Version for this passage:
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
The text of today’s cantata is available here. The opening aria contains these words:
Settle account! Word of thunder,
that by itself splits the rocks,
word, which freezes my blood!
Settle account! Soul, go forth!
Ah, you must repay to God
His gifts, body and life.
Settle account! Word of thunder!
The disciples that Jesus called repaid God’s gifts to them by following Christ. Bach repaid God’s gifts to him by dedicating each work to the greater glory of God. This is an intimate work in which the full choir does not sing until the last movement.