Convinced by Jesus

As Jesus talked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay, he called them, and the left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:16-20

Discipleship is…

There are two brothers who are fishermen. Jesus comes along and says “Come, follow me. I will send you out to fish for people.” The brothers at once left their nets and followed Jesus. Mark tells us nothing else about this interaction.

Jesus goes further down the shoreline and sees two other brothers in a boat, preparing or maybe fixing their nets. Jesus calls them and they left their father behind in the boat and follow Jesus. Again, we hear nothing else about this interaction.

Mark wants the reader to focus on the disciple’s radical response to Jesus’ call. The disciples are not convinced to follow Jesus by some great miracle he performed. They aren’t convinced by a flashy sales pitch. They aren’t convinced by some sound theological argument from Jesus. They are convinced by Jesus. Simple. By who he is and what he does, presumably. They see Jesus, are convinced, and follow him.

As we follow the disciples throughout the book of Mark, we will see a pattern of what discipleship is. It is a call to follow, to be changed and to become a minister. We see these three things even in these short four verses. Jesus says “Come”- a call to follow. The disciples quit their jobs as fishermen and move on- they make a change. And they will become ministers: “I will send you out to fish for people,” Jesus tells them.

Follow

First, Jesus calls the disciples (and us) to follow. It is the initial nudge to something new. There’s no explanation why, nothing that tells you exactly what you’ll find. But as we follow, there are some things we need to leave behind. We’ll get into the “what” we’re leaving behind in a bit but for now I want to speak about the “how.” Jesus is constantly challenging his disciples to leave behind the things of their old life and follow him. Leaving these things behind does not mean fully abandoning them.

Just a few chapters later, we find Simon at his mother-in-law’s house. The fishermen obviously have not left their boats behind because many of the stories in Mark we will find them back in their boats again. Just a few chapters later, we find all of the disciples in Simon’s house together. These folks obviously still have aspects of their old life with them.

It's about a balance- these things that we must leave behind do not need to stay behind forever. But they also must not get in the way of us following Jesus. Simon, James, John and Andrew needed to leave behind these things initially to follow Jesus but they did not need to leave them behind permanently.

We don’t know anything about whether the disciples had any sort of inner struggles of leaving these things behind to follow. All we know is that they did follow. Maybe Mark leaves out the process of the disciples committing to following Jesus because, at the end of the story, the process is not the point. The point is that Jesus found them, called them and the call was to go with him- so they did. The call is about committing to the person of Jesus Christ- not to a class about how to do it, not to a doctrinal statement or some kind of program. It’s a call to follow Jesus.

Jesus finds us, calls us and the call is to go with him. Will you follow?

Be Changed

Jesus calls us first to follow and second, to be changed. It is not enough to just pick up your mat and follow Jesus. We must also commit to changing to be more like Jesus.

My nephew, Peter (ironically), is 1 year old. He is slowly learning to walk. We have a family group chat that is often filled with photos or cute videos of Peter. Recently, his mother showed us a video of Peter slowly learning how to take his first steps with other people holding his hands. We inquired about how he is doing and his mother responded that he doesn’t like to be so unstable. My sister, always quick with a joke, responded, “Well, neither do the rest of us Peter, but it’s something we learn to live with.”

We like stability.

We like knowing we have insurance.

We like to be comfortable.

Change usually messes those things up. Paul implores us to ponder our calling in 1 Corinthians 1:26 and onward.

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when Jesus called you. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many influential, not many from high-society families. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Jesus invites us to follow him and to be changed- a wonderful change. But change doesn’t come for free- we need to drop our nets. We need to leave our family behind. We need to walk out on unsteady feet.

But the cost is not the same for everyone. In our story today, Mark tells us that one set of brothers leaves behind their nets. The other leaves behind their father. Some are to leave behind the traditions of the church, some are to leave behind their families. Some are to leave behind their careers, others are to leave behind their dreams of travel. Some are to leave behind their want for knowledge, others are to leave behind their comfort.

What is the cost for you?

Become Ministers- Fishing for People

Jesus calls the disciples. They follow. They are changed. And Jesus makes them a promise.

“I will send you out to fish for people.”

I believe that fishing for people has been something that has been greatly, greatly misunderstood. It reminds me of a culture where you try to get as many people to come to the front of the church to give their lives to Jesus as you can. A culture where your camp donations depend on the number of children’s “soul’s being saved” that week.

But that’s saying that the ‘fishing for people’ is just in the “Follow” part of the call to be a disciple of Jesus.

It doesn’t stop there. Fishing for people is not trying to get butts in our seats. It’s not trying to get as many people to pray the sinner’s prayer as we can. It’s about drawing people into the kingdom of God. It’s about healing, teaching, performing miracles and driving out demons.

Fishing for people isn’t just telling people how to welcome Jesus into their heart- we need to SHOW people how Jesus is working in our lives. We need to show people who the person Jesus was with our own lives so that others may be drawn in.

Can people see Jesus in you?

Conclusion

No matter how long ago you became a Christian, the call to discipleship to follow, be changed and to become a minister still nudges us. It’s not a step by step to do list, but a circle.

Follow, Be Changed, Minister.

Follow, Be Changed, Minister.

Jesus calls us to these things over and over again. Follow, Be Changed, Minister.

The call can follow us like a thorn in our side, a pebble in our shoe or a swift kick. It can follow us like fresh baked cookies left out on the counter, like the rising sun after a long night of driving, like a plant waiting to bloom.

After Peter, Andrew, James and John answer the call to be disciples of Jesus- it is with these people that Jesus enters the synagogue. He enters the place where he will face challenge, ridicule, name-calling. It is also the place where he will heal, minister, and speak truth. It’s ironic that this happens in their church.

May you join the journey of getting to know Jesus and his disciples.

Amen.