And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him. (Mark 1:16-20)
Jesus inaugurates his public ministry with the choosing of rugged, hard working, calloused hands, stooped over, muscular men. Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee on a search for men. Jesus is always looking for men, men who are faithful. He’s not interested in what the world considers important—education, titles, pedigree, or power. As a matter of fact, when we read the account of Jesus in Mark, he seems, in most cases, to oppose such people.
Jesus wants men and women, people whom he can mold into loving servants that will be useable for his purposes. Jesus is looking for available people who are willing to follow him and love him. The work of the kingdom is always through available loving servant leaders who will be willing to follow Christ.
Jesus says something interesting to Simon and his brother Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (vs. 17) There is an invitation with a promise. First, the invitation. I find it fascinating that Jesus asked these men to follow him. Not study him, not exegete him, not analyze him. No, he said very simply, “follow Me.”
If Jesus had started a school, he would have scholars. If Jesus had set up a standard, he would have soldiers, if Jesus were to only preach, he would have hearers. But here now, at the onset of his ministry, he is seeking followers. Men (and later women) who will follow him, is the first order of ministry.
Jesus has set his course. He will build wholehearted disciples who are invited into the road of following him. Jesus will build a movement by choosing “the foolish things of the world…the weak things of the world…the base things of the world.” (1 Cor. 1:27~28) He is not calling the scholars of the Sanhedrim, or the great of the schools of the Rabbi’s. But rather, he is picking common people with common jobs along the seaside, so that “the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor 4:7)
But Jesus is also giving an invitation with a promise. The invitation is to follow him and the promise is “I will make you become fishers of men.” Jesus promises to make all people who follow him into fishers of men. If we follow Christ, he will make us into something new that is replicable. He will mold, chisel, and build us into a people who can impact others.
Discipleship is about following Christ, not just studying about Christ, but following him. Discipleship is about loving Christ with our whole heart. Discipleship involves wholehearted love that flows from us into others. Multiplication love. Jesus makes us into people who impact and influence the lives of others through love.
The invitation to follow Christ is an invitation into an intimate relationship with him. But it doesn’t end there. The intimacy we can have with Christ is also a road into intimacy with others. The invitation involves a promise that if we will follow him, he will make us into “fishers of men,” disciples that disciple. We are to love him and then, in turn, love others into a love for him. It’s all about multiplication love.
On the Road,
This Monday night, April 21st, join us for day 15 of our 40 nights of prayer and a verse-by-verse study of Mark, at Chapel Hills Church (2025 Parliament Drive) at 6:30 pm. The weekly schedule will be Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Saturday for the remaining 40 days.