Mark 1:16-20

The Gospel of Mark   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Very quickly a few reminders of the book of Mark will tell us...
The book was written by John Mark who had been a secretary & translator for Peter. Many think The book of Mark is an eyewitness testimony of Peter.
The theme of Mark: suffering servant, the suffering Son of God.
Who was he writing? Written in Rome, was aimed at the wider church, especially those who had not been raised Jews. Which is why you’ll see him explain Jewish customs.
We have be introduced to John the Baptist as well as Jesus. We have read about the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus by Satan, and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. (Mark 1:1-15)
Now that we have reviewed what we have spoken about in the last few lessons… let’s dive into Mark 1:16-20
Mark 1:16–20 CSB
16 As he passed alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat putting their nets in order. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
It’s interesting that the first recorded act of Jesus’s ministry is not something sensational - a spectacular miracle or mighty sermon - but a simple call of four men into fellowship with Himself.
The setting is this “sea” of Galilee which is more like a big lake! 7 miles wide and thirteen miles long.
Fishing at this time is a thriving industry on the Sea of Galilee. No fewer than 16 ports and several towns on the northwest shore for fishing trade.
??Let me ask you a question… presented with the option, which would you choose… a fish fry or a big nice juicy steak?
FISH, and not meat was the staple food of the Greco-Roman world. Fish from the sea of Galilee were exported everywhere.
They competed in this larger Mediterranean market with their skill & ingenuity. In order to survive in this market, they had to be shrewd business men.
And the fact that we read of James & John leaving their father with HIRED WORKERS tells us of their lucrative business.
There are three aspects we will be talking about tonight with Jesus calling these four men...

Jesus is the one who calls.

Mark 1:17 CSB
17 “Follow me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people.”
Jesus is the one who calls. Within this context… this is actually pretty unique in Jewish tradition.
PUPILS chose rabbis; rabbis did not choose pupils. Those who wished to learn sought out a rabbi and said, “I want to study with you.”It depended on the aspiring student.
Also… the chief allegiance of the student was to the Torah rather than to a rabbi.
HONESTLY… the OT idea of “following God” is rare. None of the OT “men of God” would call people to follow them. But to follow God’s ways according to His statutes.
Jesus calls the four men to HIMSELF.
Mark here is showing us that Jesus has a different type of authority than regular rabbis.
IT IS THE MESSIANIC AUTHORITY OF JESUS, that he calls them with.
No supporting evidence comes with this call, no miracles, no debate, no persuasion.
Notice something else that’s interesting here that gives us insight… the fishermen are not required to do anything before they become disciples. They don’t have to show their knowledge of The Torah or pass some qualifying examination in theology.
These four men are allowed to follow Jesus as they are. And Jesus says, “I will equip you as you walk with me.”
JESUS initiates human fellowship. Not on His ground, or even on a holy ground like a synagogue. But on the ground of where they are.

Giving up my life to be His disciple.

V 18. Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
V20. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
The second aspect we see in these verses are what the four men leave to follow Jesus.
Remember what we spoke about earlier in the lesson, how these men were business men who had built their business and seemed to be doing fairly well for themselves.
This is why when I share the gospel, I tell people to wrestle with this. Don’t make the decision to follow Jesus if you don’t truly believe in Him.
What Jesus ask for these four men to do here is disruptive. We know from the scriptures that they did fish again and they did have relationship with their parents again… but still.
In traditional cultures, you get much of your identity from your family. When Jesus says… “ I want priority over your family”, thats drastic.
Jesus is saying, “Knowing me, loving me, resembling me, serving me must become the supreme passion of your life. Everything else comes second.”
Now… this will lead some to be afraid of something in our culture called FANATICISM from those who are religious.
And for good reason...
There has been considerable violence that has been carried out before from highly religious people. Even setting aside this extreme religion action of violence…
almost everybody knows somebody who is very religious and who is also condemning, self-righteous, or even abusive.
Many people see religion on this spectrum of belief.
One hand… people who say they’re religious but don’t really believe or live it out.
On the other hand you have fanatics. people who are too religious. People who believe and over-live their faith.
The solution to this is what many people go for.
Moderation. Not too zealous, not too uncommitted. But right in the middle where things are just right. 90% of America I would say is right here.
See Luke 14:26
See Mark 8:34
Luke 14:26 CSB
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
Does that sound like moderation?
What about
Mark 8:34 CSB
34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
No, that doesn’t sound like moderation either.
Now… Jesus is not calling us to hate our family He is calling us to hate comparatively. He says, “I want you to follow me so fully, so intensely, so enduringly that all other attachments in your life look like hate by comparison.
After hearing this you may say, Dayton that sounds like fanaticism…
FALSE RELIGION: is advice on how you must live to earn your way to God. You’re treating Christianity as advice and not good news.
THE GOSPEL: isn’t advice. It’s the good news that you don’t need to earn your way to God. Jesus has already done it for you! It’s a gift that you receive by sheer grace, through God’s favor.
Its about being called to follow the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Jesus wont draw you into fanaticism, or moderation. You will be passionate to make Jesus your absolute goal and priority, to orbit around Him; and yet when you meet somebody with a different set of priorities, a different faith, you won’t assume that they’re inferior to you. You’ll actually seek to serve them rather than oppress them...
Which leads us to our last aspect of of this passage.

The call to service.

“Jesus says to these men, I will make you fish for people.”
The process of becoming a disciple is many things… it can be a slow and painful one (especially for the 12), it’s not easy to understand (8:14-21) to watch (14:37), to follow (14:50), to suffer persecution for the cause of Jesus (13:13).
The life Jesus calls his disciples to have requires a change of perspective to have in mind the things of God rather than self. It’s only then, can we as disciples serve the kingdom.
See Mark 10:45
Mark 10:45 CSB
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
And it’s is in this way that Jesus was going to show them how to become fishers of men. Through service, and through giving up of our lives to serve and love others. Including those who believe in Jesus but especially those who don’t.
A call to Jesus
I want to say… if you're in this room tonight and have never left behind all things in your life to follow Jesus....
Jesus is present here tonight and has come for you and is calling you to get up and walk with Him.
Jesus says… repent and believe the good news!
Romans 6:23 CSB
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 10:9–13 CSB
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
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