18 As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
There is something stirring and moving about a God who calls us to be on mission. There are a couple of important observations here as Jesus begins His ministry. First, when Jesus is calling He is walking. He isn’t stopping and cajoling. Instead, if the disciples don’t follow Him, the distance between them and Jesus gets greater because Jesus is in motion.
Second, Jesus could have just stopped at, “Follow Me.” He doesn’t really need to offer a reason. He is the Alpha and Omega, so the reason to follow Him is because…He’s Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t do that. Instead, He tells them why they should follow Him (hint: it’s not about fishing). Jesus is essentially saying, “if you want your life to be significant and impact others, then the only way to do that is to follow Me.” Jesus is the key to significance.
We all want our lives to count for something. In fact, many lives are cut short because the thought of a meaningless existence is so inherently demoralizing. The Good News of Scripture is not only that we were created meaningfully, but also that we were created with the latent capacity to make a dent in the Universe. But with 7 billion people and counting, how does that work, exactly?
God came down and offered us a way. Jesus offers His disciples significance; lives that will dent the Universe…if they are willing to give up complete control of their lives to follow Jesus wherever He goes. They weren’t sure where Jesus was going when He called them. But they did know He was going somewhere.
Later on in the first chapter of Mark, we see that Jesus is constantly going to “seek and save the lost” because that was His purpose. In other words, to truly follow Jesus is to be willing to follow Him into the unknown and to be surrounded by others who don’t believe in Him at all.
But this isn’t an evangelistic pyramid scheme. No one is earning salvation and no one gets extra “impact brownie points” for reaching out to the lost. Instead, Jesus recognizes that a life of faith is a life of complete reliance on God. To do that, we have to be traveling with Jesus to an unknown horizon. He recognizes that something happens in US when we journey with HIM. Not only is the world changed, but we are changed in the process.
Perhaps you wish that Jesus had called His disciples to comfort instead of significance. I know I often have. With comfort, we get to dictate the terms: who will be our neighbors, how we will reach them so we’re not too uncomfortable, and which beautiful distractions can get in the way of our intentionality to reach the lost.
But Jesus does not give us that option.
At stake here is simply this: who is in control of your life?
Evangelism is not something we do in addition to everything else. Evangelism is the natural result of living intentionally to be “fishers of men.” It does not happen in a vacuum but in the context of those to whom Jesus is calling us to reach. All Christians are on mission because all Christians have given up control to a Jesus who is missional. All Christians are to evangelize because that is the context that Christ Himself is leading us towards. And that call is not obscure.
- Write down the names of those people who God is leading you to reach. If you’ve been caught up by a “beautiful distraction” and find yourself not actually being intentional about reaching them, take some time to confess and repent of that sin.
- You can reach people others can’t. But what are you reaching them with? For some, it’s a theological framework that they try to convince others of. But Jesus talks about salvation in terms of a different reality (the kingdom of God) and control (repent) and belief (that a different reality exists through Jesus alone). What are you focusing on in your efforts to reach others?
- The best excuses to connect with others are the most natural excuses. These include parties, BBQ’s, life events, football games, etc. But someone has to take the lead in organizing these and inviting others. Write down which excuses you’re taking responsibility for and the prayer requests for the conversations you hope to have with others.