Jesus' First Disciples

Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  57:43
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We have the wonderful privilege of looking at the Word of God this morning
Let me invite you to take your Bible and turn to Mark chapter 1
We have already looked at the title of the book, the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus, and the gospel of God
Now we’re looking at verses 16-20 where we learn about the calling of Jesus’ first 4 disciples
Listen as I read Mark 1:16-20
Mark 1:16–20 NASB95
16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
The calling of God is without repentance
In other words, God makes no mistakes in who He calls
The same is true with our calling at salvation
Jesus said in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you...”
It’s no different in ministry
God chooses whom He wills to serve Himself
He calls and He gifts us for service in His kingdom
Every believer is called to minister the Word of God to each other
Romans 12:6-8 says, “6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Each of those gifts highlights a believer’s calling and ministry
Our first and primary calling is to “make disciples” according to Matthew 28:19-20 which says, “19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Our secondary calling it to minister our spiritual gifts to one another
We just heard what those gifts are
Now we need to evaluate our use of them
One of the ways we can do this is to look at the “one anothers” in the NT
There are 22 of them
From these 22 “one another’s”, we can learn how to minister with our spiritual gifts
We are to...
Love one another (John 13:34-35; John 15:12,17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 1 John 4:7, 11-12)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:24-25)
Pray for one another (James 5:16)
Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)
Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)
Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
Do not judge one another (Romans 14:13)
Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
Greet one another (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14)
Be of the same mind with one another (Romans 15:5)
Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11)
Stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
Be hospitable to one another without complaint (1 Peter 4:9)
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
Have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)
If we are doing this in the power of the Spirit, then we are truly ministering God’s Word to each other
God has then called us to two primary ministries
The first is to make disciples
The second is to mature disciples
That is reach and teach
We are to reach the lost and teach the saved
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Mark records the calling of Jesus’ first disciples as do the other gospel writers
But it is John who helps us fill in the gaps
In the Judean account that Mark doesn’t mention, John says that Jesus called Andrew and possibly John (John 1:45-51) and then Peter (John 1:40-42), Philip (John 1:43-44), and Nathanael (also called Bartholomew) (John 1:45-51)
Now the first recorded act of Jesus’ ministry in Mark is not something sensational—a spectacular miracle or a mighty sermon—but a simple summons of four common laborers into fellowship with himself (Edwards)...

I. Jesus Calls Andrew and Peter to Follow Him (vv.16-18)

Mark mentions...

A. Their Location (v.16a)

“As He was going by the Sea of Galilee”
The Sea of Galilee was a large fresh water lake that was fed by the Jordan River in the north and emptied by the Jordan on the south (Sproul)
It was 13 miles long and 8 miles wide
It was also known as the Sea of Chinnereth (Num.34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Lk.5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (Jn.6:1)
It is mentioned 197 times in the Bible (LBD)
It was shaped like a harp which is the meaning of Gennesaret (MacArthur)
It was the home of a thriving fishing industry
According to Josephus, when the Romans invaded Palestine in the year 68, they commandeered some 250 fishing boats from the Sea of Galilee, which gives an indication of how many fisherman were working the sea in those days (Sproul)
In all Josephus says in his day three hundred and thirty fishing boats sailed the waters of the lake (Barclay)
Mark mentions in the second half of verse 16, “He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.”
Mark first tells us...

B. Their Relation (v.16b)

They were brothers
They were from Bethsaida in Galilee (Jn.1:44)
Their father’s name was John (Jn.1:42)
They later shared a home together in Capernaum (Mk.1:29)
Capernaum was situated on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (where fishing was good)—and located at the juncture of key trade routes (MacArthur)
Mark first mentions...

1. Simon

His name literally means “rock”
It’s from the Greek word petros which means “a piece of rock, a stone”
The Aramaic equivalent was Cephas
Jesus changed Simon’s name to “Cephas” or “Peter” (Jn.1:42)
His original name was Shimon or Simon
That was his Hebrew name which meant “he has heard”
It was a common Jewish name during that time
There are at least seven Simons in the Gospel accounts alone
There was also another disciple also named Simon the Zealot
But Peter who became an apostle (Mat.10) is mentioned in the NT approximately 150 times
He was a prominent figure in the Gospels
He was also a prominent figure in the book of Acts
In the Gospels he is portrayed as a key disciple and leader among the twelve
In the book of Acts, he was a central figure in the early church dominating the first twelve chapters
He authored two letters after his name (1 & 2 Peter)
On one occasion he rebuked Jesus (Mk.8:32)
On another, he denied ever knowing Jesus 3 times (Mat.26:69-75)
Those were some of the few moments when he acted like Simon, his old self
But later you find him being the Rock Christ called
John MacArthur says, “No one speaks as often as Peter, and no one is spoken to by the Lord as often as Peter. No disciple is so frequently rebuked by the Lord as Peter; and no disciple ever rebukes the Lord except Peter (Matthew 16:22). No one else confessed Christ more boldly or acknowledged His lordship more explicitly; yet no other disciple ever verbally denied Christ as forcefully or as publicly as Peter did. No one is praised and blessed by Christ the way Peter was; yet Peter was also the only one Christ ever addressed as Satan. The Lord had harsher things to say to Peter than He ever said to any of the others (Twelve Ordinary Men).
This is Mark’s first mention of Peter
He mentions him again in chapter 3 (vv.16-19); chapter (vv.37-43); chapter 8 (vv.27-33); chapter 9 (vv.2-8); chapter 14 (vv.26-42); and chapter 16 (v.7)
Simon Peter’s brother is also called by Jesus...
His name is...

2. Andrew

He was originally a disciple of John the Baptist (Jn.1:35, 40)
He is the first disciple called of the 12 disciples
His name (andreas) occurs 12 times in the NT and means “manly” or “mighty one” or “conqueror”
Andrew was known for bringing people to Jesus
He led his brother Peter to Christ - John 1:41-42, “41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).”
Philip brought some Greeks to Andrew who wanted to meet Jesus
John 12:20-22, “20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus.”
Mark also mentions...

B. Their Trade (v.16c)

He says...
They were casting a net in the sea
They were fisherman
Many fisherman on the Sea of Galilee practiced their trade with nets
These nets were about fifteen feet in diameter
And there were weights on the edges that caused them to sink
The fisherman would throw his net so that it would land flat on the surface of the water
The weights would sink to the bottom and close the net
In most cases, a rope was attached to the middle of the net, and the fisherman would pull the rope, causing the hems of the net to close, trapping the fish
Then they would pull the net to the surface, remove the fish and take them to the marketplace to sell
So Jesus sees Simon Peter and Andrew at their trade of fishing and says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men”
This was...

C. Their Call (v.17)

Jesus told them two things: “follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men”
First He said...
“Follow Me”
This is a majestic invitation having the force of a command (Hiebert)
It was not a request
The implications of His command were extreme and unmistakeable
Abandon everything, including your careers as fisherman, and follow Me
This was a unique, nonnegotiable, all-encompassing mandate from the King to His first chosen subjects (MacArthur)
Jesus used this command later for Matthew (Levi) in Matthew 9:9.
He told all of His disciples in John 12:26, “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
Mark doesn’t tell us if they knew or met Jesus before this call
But John does in John 1:35-37, “35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”
One of them is named in verse 40: “One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.”
Some believe that Peter was also a disciple of John the Baptist so that both of them knew who Jesus was
They listened to John the Baptist and responded by repenting and being baptized
Geoff Thomas says, “These brothers...had had a whole year to hear and observe Jesus, to question him and mull over his answers. They had heard his preaching to the crowds. So when Jesus came to them at the side of the Galilean lake and invited them to follow him it was not a leap into the dark as far as they were concerned. They had thought about him for twelve months, in fact there was scarcely anything else they had talked about – this extraordinary Jesus from Nazareth. So his invitation to them to follow him was preceded by observation, information, knowledge and a heavenly revelation that he had given to them. Their response was to the Light of the World." (Sermon)
Jesus says...
“I will make you become fishers of men.’”
He draws from their profession as fisherman
Instead of fishing for fish, you will fish for men
You will be evangelists and heralds of the Kingdom
“Become” is ginomai and means to “emerge, transitioning from one point to another, signifying a change in their state from fishermen to fishers of men” (PA)
These men left their profession that today would take men “between three to five years” to become (
They also left a lucrative business
All indications suggest that Simon and Andrew ran a successful catching operation—in partnership with James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother (Luke 5:10)
They were prominent men, not poor day laborers
Simon Peter, for example, owned his own home in the city of Capernaum (Luke 4:38), and John was well-known to the high priest (John 18:15) (MacArthur)

D. Their Response (v.18)

“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
This was not on a whim
They already knew who Jesus was
They heard John the Baptist preach about Him
They personally saw and met Him, and spent a day with Him (Jn.1:9)
R.C. Sproul says, “What Jesus was doing was very unusual. In the ancient Jewish world, rabbis never recruited students. Students applied to study with certain rabbis, just as students apply to study at colleges today. They had to pass examinations to demonstrate that they were qualified to study under Hillel, Gamaliel, or another rabbi. But Jesus was different from every other rabbi in Israel; He went out and handpicked His students.”
To “Follow Me” means “a complete surrender and commitment to Jesus Christ”
It is to give up everything and submit to Christ’s authority and will
It is what Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
This then is a call to a life of holiness, obedience and service to God
What marks a true follower of Jesus is their love for God, their obedience to His commands, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for His kingdom
Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30, “29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Lenski says, “Andrew and Simon obeyed the call at once. They stopped work, left boat, net, and fish on the shore, most likely in the hands of helpers, and followed Jesus for the schooling they were now to receive for a far greater calling.”
Mark tells us beginning in verse 19, “Going on a little father, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets”
Now we hear...

II. Jesus Calls James and John to Follow Him (vv.19-20)

Notice also...

A. Their Relation (v.19)

They were brothers
Their mother and Jesus’ mother may have been sisters (Mat.27:56). If so, they were Jesus’ cousins
They were also later nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” (Mk.3:17)
Luke 9 records them angrily wanting to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that had refused to welcome Jesus (v.54)
First Mark mentions...

1. James the son of Zebedee

He became the first martyr of the early church in 44 A.D. (Acts 12:1-2)
It occurred under Herod Agrippa
This is the “cup” Jesus said he would drink
In Matthew 20:20-23 we hear, “20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.””
Jesus also calls...

2. John the brother of James

He later authored 5 NT books: the gospel of John, 1, 2, 3 John and Revelation
He was part of the inner circle
He died on the island of Patmos
Patmos was a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea
According to tradition, John was exiled to Patmos by the Roman emperor Domitian in the late 1st century because of his preaching and teaching about Jesus
Jesus told Peter in John 21:22-23, “22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?””

B. Their trade (v.19)

They were fishermen
They were in the boat mending the nets
“Mending” is the Greek word katartizo
Vincent says it is not necessarily repairing but adjusting
It may mean here preparing the nets for the next fishing
What is involved in that?
Fishing nets in the 1st century were made of natural materials such as flax, hemp, or cotton
If repairs were needed it involved cutting away or unpicking the knots
Then new strands of material would be woven into the net to replace the old
This would often take hours to do

C. Their call (v.20a)

“Immediately He called them.”
It was similar to Peter and Andrews
It involved leaving their livelihood
Here it also involved leaving their father Zebedee
So this was...

D. Their response (v.20b)

“And they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.”
The word “left” or “forsook” (aphiemi) means “to send from one’s self, to yield up, to leave”
The prefixed preposition implies a separation, here, a separation from the fishing business to the preaching of the Word of God
The participle is in the aorist tense, speaking of a once for all action
It was a complete break from their former life, and a permanent one (Wuest)
The word “follow” (akoloutheo) is the same as verse 17
This word implies “fellowship, joint-participation, a side-by-side walking with another”
This word came to mean “to join one as a disciple, to cleave steadfastly to one, conform wholly to his example, in living and, if need be, in dying” (Wuest)
Their response too was not whimsical
They had already knew about Jesus
Some believe the unnamed disciple in John 1:35-40 is the apostle John
Following Christ will cost you everything
Steve Lawson says, “It will cost you popularity, it will cost you promotion perhaps at times, it will cost you an easy life, you will have to discipline yourself, you will have to buffet your body, you will have to say “No” to temptation, you will have to say “No” to this world, you will have to break with the crowd, you will have to be willing to stand alone for Christ, you will have to be willing walk to the beat of a different drummer and to step out of the crowd even if no one follows after Jesus Christ, you would be willing to stand if you were the only person in the world for Jesus Christ. That’s the cost factor.
You will have to be willing to suffer persecution for Christ and let me tell you, it will come. It might even cost you your life.
He is not coming to play games. He is not coming to be dossel. (Definition: an ornamental hanging of rich fabric hung behind the altar of a church) He is coming to dominate. He is coming to slaughter.
He is the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. and at the end of this age, He will bolt out of heaven on a white steed and His garments are dripped in blood. The blood of His own enemies and He is coming back to conquer and to damn.
You need to make terms of peace with this coming King or you will be subjected in damnation forever and Jesus Christ has made terms of peace.
You need to settle out of court with Him. You do not want to go into that final day of conflict with Christ.
For He will be ruthless in the execution of His Justice but He offers you mercy today. He will agree to terms of surrender. He will agree to terms of peace but they are His terms of peace, not ours and His terms of peace are very simply this: You must hate your own father and mother and brother and sister and even your own life more than Me or you cannot be My disciple and you must take up a cross and follow Me or you cannot be My disciple. And if you do not, you will meet Me in the final judgment and it will glorify God in your destruction.
He is pressing you for a decision. He will not be put off. You cannot hit the mute button any longer in your heart, you must answer Him” (file:///Users/stevenhereford/Downloads/ItWillCostEverything.pdf)
What is your answer today?
Will you forsake all and follow Him?
He is worthy of no other response
Let’s pray
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