The Call: Mark 1:16-20
“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.” Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬-‭20‬ ‭
The first disciples Jesus called were strong and rugged men. They were commercial fishermen. They had calloused hands, dark sun tans from long days in the scorching sun and well defined muscles. Make no mistake, as the carpenters son Himself was no stranger to hard work. He could most likely match the fishermen callous for callous and muscle for defined muscle.
To be fair, according to John 1:29-42, Jesus had a previous short encounter with Andrew and Peter. It left a strong impression on the two brothers. They in turn most likely shared the encounter with James and John. This may in turn be why they quickly answered the call to follow Jesus.
In their case, they left behind their father Zebedee with the hired servants to manage the family fishing business. The call of Jesus was stronger than loyalty to family. Jesus and the gospel often shakes things up!
The nature of the call was, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Vs 17) I see three parts to this call.
First; “Follow me!” Our primary call is “to Jesus!” This supersedes the call “for Jesus!” Beware lest you get so busy for Jesus you neglect your time with Jesus. Any ministry you have for Jesus is merely the overflow of your growing relationship with Jesus. If you get the two turned around, you will dry up, burn out and most likely become a drop out. It happens to many!
Second; “I will make you!” You are called into a discipleship process during which time the Holy Spirit will do a deep and transformative work “in you.” He will clean you up, teach you, empower you, lead you, guide you and give you unique gifts. He will change you into a fruitful follower of Jesus Christ!
In the case of the twelve disciples, this happened on the front lines of doing life and ministry together with Jesus. They listened, watched, learned and started doing as He was doing. They did not take three to seven years off to study books, write papers and disengage from life and hands on ministry. They learned ministry on the front lines of doing ministry.
Finally; “you will become fishers of men!” You will have an influence on many people. You in turn will minister to, equip, lead and disciple others. You will become fruitful for the glory of God! Your trophies will not be fish, they will be the transformed people God has used you to reach, influence and mentor.
Salvation is more than just a belief “in Jesus.” It includes a call to “follow Jesus.” God worked through these four rugged fishermen and seven others to change course of human history. (Judas became a drop out) The eleven became heralds of the gospel and relational disciple makers. They followed in the foot prints of Jesus.
The process is still happening today. The principles are basically the same. Jesus is calling people to Himself, changing them and in turn working through them to impact the world. If you are reading this post, He is most likely calling you to be one of them!
Note in both cases the two sets of brothers “immediately” followed Jesus. They did not vacillate because “Jesus quickly went on from there.” Respond when the promptings of the Holy Spirit are fresh and strong. This is true for salvation and it is true for the leading of the Holy Spirit in every area of the Christian life. Do not hold Jesus or the Holy Spirit at arms length.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global