10.24.08, Mark 1:14-20

The Calling of the First Disciples

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

“At Once”

Again, we see the usage of this phrase “at once”, this time used in the context of the calling of the disciples.  As soon as Peter and Andrew here the calling of Jesus to become fishers of men, they immediately drop their nets (their very livelihood) to follow Jesus.

The application of this point is so simple, and yet so very difficult – would we be willing to drop our nets if Jesus called us to do so?  And moreover, could we drop our net “at once”, as Peter and Andrew did?  Most of us would like to answer positively to this question, but honestly are not really sure if we would if the situation arose – maybe if we didn’t like that net anyway, or if we could do it on our own timeframe, say, in 5-6 years or so?

But the key to imitating this behavior is not understanding ourselves better, but understanding Jesus better.  If we see Christ only as a friend and companion, we expect more time to chew things over, and even reserve for ourselves the right just to say, “No, sorry!  Maybe later though!”  But if Christ is LORD…one who has total command, one who has absolute authority, then there is no question – we lay down our nets and follow him.  But this is not a completely blind obedience that we are called to, but an invitation to a better transformation: from fishers of fish, to fishers of men!

Questions

1. What is your “net”, something that you have or would have difficulty laying down for Christ?  Why is this particular thing so difficult to let go of?

2. Is there something in your life that you felt God was calling you to do, but you put it off instead?  Do you think there have been any negative consequences to that hesitation?

3. Although Jesus is both, what conception of Jesus do you tend to have, Christ as Friend or Christ as Lord?  Why do you think balancing this conception is important for your life?

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10 thoughts on “10.24.08, Mark 1:14-20

  1. I think I’ve pretty much exhausted these questions from previous posts, though I bet I could keep talking about them. But instead of being so repetitive, I have a question about the passage. In vs. 19-20, why do James and John leave their father with the hired men? Maybe the question would be answered if I knew the backstory of Zebedee’s familiy. But it just seems a little strange. Did the sons leave their father? Did the father refuse to go with his sons? Why didn’t the sons make more of an effort to include their father and even the hired men? Were the others all followers of Jesus, but unwilling to cast their nets? Or, I understand that Jesus formally called James and John, which means that Jesus invited them, I guess, without including the others? Then is this supposed to point to election? Or am I just reading too much into it.
    But anyway, since James and John and followers of Jesus, I would think that it was their duty (as it is for us today) to reach out to others and to expand God’s kingdom. But it seems as if James and John just left their father. I guess it could be to highlight the fact that they literally abandoned everything to follow Jesus, even their father. But don’t they also have a responsibility, by knowing the Good News, to spread what they know? It just seems a little weird to me that they abandoned a full boat load of people, and especially weird that they left their father behind.
    Then again, I also realize that this passage comes from Mark, so it’s not going to be very detailed. So I guess you’d need to look at the others gospels to fill in the missing parts. Yeah, I probably should have done that in the first place.
    I just looked through the other gospels, but they didn’t address the Zebedee thing. So I guess this is when you’d have to whip out your references, but since I don’t any right now, I’m still a little confused. And it’s making me think that I’m probably reading way too much into those two verses since they seem to be almost an afterthought or not even included in the other gospels.

  2. Did the first 4 know who Jesus was? Did they know what Jesus meant by becoming “fishers of men”? They truly did go “at once” when Jesus called to them and it just seems so unlikely…that they would just drop what they worked for for their entire lives to follow someone they did not know (if they ddin’t..).

  3. two angles – first, the logical one. although in mark, it seems like the calling of the first 4 disciples happens immediately, this probably occurred within the first year after the baptism. before this, Jesus had cleared out the temple and turned the wedding water into wine, so they might have heard of Jesus before then. but the major ministry he did was accomplished after the calling of the disciples.

    but i don’t think the disciples knew Jesus personally, and probably had no clear picture of what becoming “fishers of men” really meant…pretty unlikely, and yet not impossible because there is a third actor in this passage that is invisible, and that is the Holy Spirit. throughout the Bible (and even our own lives), there are times where we just say, “no way” – no way can that really happen, that it just seems improbable.

    but we can’t forget that by the time we see any action come to fruition, God has been working behind the scenes and in hearts for maybe decades. take the ethiopian in the desert from acts 8. impossible situation, a eunuch in the middle of the desert. but by the power of the Holy Spirit, the eunuch meets the perfect disciple, was reading the perfect passage, and immediately wants to be baptized.

    i would think the same with the disciples, that for years perhaps, the Holy Spirit was working in them, maybe giving them a bad season of fishing, maybe stirring a deep longing for purpose in their hearts, and then BAM – a rabbi with supernatural authority singles THEM out, commands them to follow, and the rest is biblical history. to summarize, if you remember the actions of the Holy Spirit, “unlikely” ain’t no thang.

  4. ah, this seems like a minor detail, leaving the father and others behind, but it’s not!

    throughout Jesus’ ministry, he actually discourages crowds, discourages people from sharing about miracles he had accomplished, and this seems completely counter-intuitive! if you want to create a ministry, ask the entire boat! tell everyone to tell everyone else how you healed that guy! don’t run away from the crowds, try to get bigger ones!

    but this highlights important facets of Jesus’ ministry. first, the centerpiece of his ministry is yet to come. yes, he came to heal the sick and preach the coming Kingdom, but the final reason why he comes is not to amass as many followers as possible…but to die on the cross. in fact those crowds would be the ones who would send him there. his ministry was not a popularity contest, but a slow road to calvary…but after his death and resurrection, man do the crowds come (acts)!

    also, Jesus uses disciples rather than crowds on purpose, because crowds are terrible for discipleship – no accountability, no personal relationship, total anonymity. real discipleship can’t happen in these environments. and by using 12 men to start the meteoric early church, it completely defies human explanation – Jesus shuns big crowds of followers, disciples 12 ordinary guys and these 12 guys change the world? completely crazy and counter-intuitive…completely a work of God!

  5. did Jesus know he would be picking those 4 specific men to be his disciples or did they just happen to be at the right place at the right time? if the holy spirit was working in them way before this incident like u suggested above (which would mean Jesus would have known that he’ll be choosing the 12 disciples that he chose), why was the holy spirit working in just them? or was it that it was working in other people too but they never got to the point where they would be willing to follow Jesus?

    Because God doesn’t speak to us face-to-face, people struggle with distinguishing whether a calling is really from God. I understand that we can look at certain factors such as the level of intimacy with Him at the moment to have a better idea….but my question is what happens if you let go of everything and follow God because you believed it was your calling…when it really wasn’t? would you just not bear fruits? or would God make the most of the situation regardless.. for your commitment/eagerness to further His kingdom?

  6. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but the first thing that jumped out at me when reading this text was that Jesus went ahead preaching the good news when John was still in prison. Do we know if Jesus tried to help John or anything? To me, it seems odd that Jesus would just go ahead, leaving John behind. We are always told that Jesus is our shepherd and the one sheep that wanders astray is the most important one to save/help. I know that John didn’t go astray or anything but at the time, he was in need. I don’t know if I’m making any sense or if I’m focusing too much on something that’s really small.

  7. I don’t feel like I have a very strong sense of direction with my life from God. I suppose I worry a bit about what Rose is saying. How will I really know whether I am supposed to do something, or whether I just want to do it, or even whether I just feel guilted into doing it?

    Whenever someone mentions at a retreat or on a mission trip that if you feel God is calling you to missions, I almost feel like everyone is supposed to say yes. I do feel like God has called me to go into either academics or medicine. I get a lot of joy out of helping people understand concepts. I will continue to pray to find more of what God calls me to do.

    And also in response to Rose’s question, I remember being taught that God has a plan for us, and that even if we choose a different path, eventually we will return to his original plan, although it will be a more difficult and tumultuous path. Is that consistent with the Bible?

  8. the exact time period of the gospels is important to keep in mind – Jesus has not died, and our sins are not paid for yet! so the full gospel has not been realized. we have learned since we were small that everyone should hear the gospel and follow Jesus, or at least have that chance, but that comes from our post-resurrection understanding that Jesus had come, died, resurrected, and ascended! we have to try to back up and see it from its appropriate context.

    so…i think we have to realize that Jesus consciously chose only 12 to follow him as disciples, and did not make a broader invitation because his broader work was not done yet. so in the 12 disciples, the Holy Spirit was working to prepare them for their calling, but i don’t know what the Holy Spirit was doing in the men in the boat. perhaps when they saw peter and andrew leaving, that was the beginning of their OWN spiritual journey.

  9. why didn’t Jesus help john out of prison…i can’t say for sure, perhaps he did, or he knew that it was God’s will for john to be there, as paul and other apostles would be. i don’t think it’s always God’s will to rescue us from all difficulty and hardship, as he uses those things to refine us. instead, he promises salvation, he promises his Spirit in difficulty, but he doesn’t promise us comfort or long lives or an end to suffering…not YET.

    but from john’s perpsective, i don’t think he would have wanted to be “rescued” at the expense of the kingdom. remember, he thought he was just the lowliest of servants to the Lord – i think he would have been shocked and embarrassed if Jesus had stopped his ministry to come get him out of jail. he was prepared to become less, even die, if Jesus would become more.

    and this begs a difficult question out of us – are we prepared to become less (to suffer, be persecuted…even die) so that Jesus can become more?

  10. hm, discerning God’s will and following it are such important concepts, and difficult ones as well. there is no single answer, only a multitude of steps to put you in a better position to do it correctly!

    – like you mentioned, being right with God is important. the more closely you are in step with the Holy Spirit, through prayer, through the Word, through fellowship, the more i would trust the promptings that you discern.

    – being in fellowship is especially important, as other people who are praying for you may be able to affirm what you feel God is saying or doing in your life.

    – COMPLETE surrender. we often give God choices – “here, i’m going to be a doctor or a lawyer – you choose, God!” and we get frustrated that he doesn’t help us choose one. this isn’t what the Lordship of Christ is – instead, try to adopt a more surrendered attitude that comes in with less qualifications: “WHATEVER you want me to do, i’ll do it – foolish, low-paying, in India, whatever.”

    – and trust. dongwoon is right, even as we disobey, God irresistibly guides us back to the center of his will – think about jonah, about the israelites in the desert. so keep that universal goodness in your heart and mind as you try to discern your future, that God is in control, that he has a plan. if you try your best to listen to God, obey his will, our Father is not going to respond, “nope, sorry! wrong prayer! said the wrong things! no answer for you, no good things for your future!” he’s your Father – you can trust him, and can trust that as you try your BEST to listen to him, he won’t give you a snake or stone instead…

    man, there’s so much more, but i’m just so tired today!

Comments are closed.

10.24.08, Mark 1:14-20

The Calling of the First Disciples

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

“At Once”

Again, we see the usage of this phrase “at once”, this time used in the context of the calling of the disciples.  As soon as Peter and Andrew here the calling of Jesus to become fishers of men, they immediately drop their nets (their very livelihood) to follow Jesus.

The application of this point is so simple, and yet so very difficult – would we be willing to drop our nets if Jesus called us to do so?  And moreover, could we drop our net “at once”, as Peter and Andrew did?  Most of us would like to answer positively to this question, but honestly are not really sure if we would if the situation arose – maybe if we didn’t like that net anyway, or if we could do it on our own timeframe, say, in 5-6 years or so?

But the key to imitating this behavior is not understanding ourselves better, but understanding Jesus better.  If we see Christ only as a friend and companion, we expect more time to chew things over, and even reserve for ourselves the right just to say, “No, sorry!  Maybe later though!”  But if Christ is LORD…one who has total command, one who has absolute authority, then there is no question – we lay down our nets and follow him.  But this is not a completely blind obedience that we are called to, but an invitation to a better transformation: from fishers of fish, to fishers of men!

Questions

1. What is your “net”, something that you have or would have difficulty laying down for Christ?  Why is this particular thing so difficult to let go of?

2. Is there something in your life that you felt God was calling you to do, but you put it off instead?  Do you think there have been any negative consequences to that hesitation?

3. Although Jesus is both, what conception of Jesus do you tend to have, Christ as Friend or Christ as Lord?  Why do you think balancing this conception is important for your life?

10 thoughts on “10.24.08, Mark 1:14-20

  1. I think I’ve pretty much exhausted these questions from previous posts, though I bet I could keep talking about them. But instead of being so repetitive, I have a question about the passage. In vs. 19-20, why do James and John leave their father with the hired men? Maybe the question would be answered if I knew the backstory of Zebedee’s familiy. But it just seems a little strange. Did the sons leave their father? Did the father refuse to go with his sons? Why didn’t the sons make more of an effort to include their father and even the hired men? Were the others all followers of Jesus, but unwilling to cast their nets? Or, I understand that Jesus formally called James and John, which means that Jesus invited them, I guess, without including the others? Then is this supposed to point to election? Or am I just reading too much into it.
    But anyway, since James and John and followers of Jesus, I would think that it was their duty (as it is for us today) to reach out to others and to expand God’s kingdom. But it seems as if James and John just left their father. I guess it could be to highlight the fact that they literally abandoned everything to follow Jesus, even their father. But don’t they also have a responsibility, by knowing the Good News, to spread what they know? It just seems a little weird to me that they abandoned a full boat load of people, and especially weird that they left their father behind.
    Then again, I also realize that this passage comes from Mark, so it’s not going to be very detailed. So I guess you’d need to look at the others gospels to fill in the missing parts. Yeah, I probably should have done that in the first place.
    I just looked through the other gospels, but they didn’t address the Zebedee thing. So I guess this is when you’d have to whip out your references, but since I don’t any right now, I’m still a little confused. And it’s making me think that I’m probably reading way too much into those two verses since they seem to be almost an afterthought or not even included in the other gospels.

  2. Did the first 4 know who Jesus was? Did they know what Jesus meant by becoming “fishers of men”? They truly did go “at once” when Jesus called to them and it just seems so unlikely…that they would just drop what they worked for for their entire lives to follow someone they did not know (if they ddin’t..).

  3. two angles – first, the logical one. although in mark, it seems like the calling of the first 4 disciples happens immediately, this probably occurred within the first year after the baptism. before this, Jesus had cleared out the temple and turned the wedding water into wine, so they might have heard of Jesus before then. but the major ministry he did was accomplished after the calling of the disciples.

    but i don’t think the disciples knew Jesus personally, and probably had no clear picture of what becoming “fishers of men” really meant…pretty unlikely, and yet not impossible because there is a third actor in this passage that is invisible, and that is the Holy Spirit. throughout the Bible (and even our own lives), there are times where we just say, “no way” – no way can that really happen, that it just seems improbable.

    but we can’t forget that by the time we see any action come to fruition, God has been working behind the scenes and in hearts for maybe decades. take the ethiopian in the desert from acts 8. impossible situation, a eunuch in the middle of the desert. but by the power of the Holy Spirit, the eunuch meets the perfect disciple, was reading the perfect passage, and immediately wants to be baptized.

    i would think the same with the disciples, that for years perhaps, the Holy Spirit was working in them, maybe giving them a bad season of fishing, maybe stirring a deep longing for purpose in their hearts, and then BAM – a rabbi with supernatural authority singles THEM out, commands them to follow, and the rest is biblical history. to summarize, if you remember the actions of the Holy Spirit, “unlikely” ain’t no thang.

  4. ah, this seems like a minor detail, leaving the father and others behind, but it’s not!

    throughout Jesus’ ministry, he actually discourages crowds, discourages people from sharing about miracles he had accomplished, and this seems completely counter-intuitive! if you want to create a ministry, ask the entire boat! tell everyone to tell everyone else how you healed that guy! don’t run away from the crowds, try to get bigger ones!

    but this highlights important facets of Jesus’ ministry. first, the centerpiece of his ministry is yet to come. yes, he came to heal the sick and preach the coming Kingdom, but the final reason why he comes is not to amass as many followers as possible…but to die on the cross. in fact those crowds would be the ones who would send him there. his ministry was not a popularity contest, but a slow road to calvary…but after his death and resurrection, man do the crowds come (acts)!

    also, Jesus uses disciples rather than crowds on purpose, because crowds are terrible for discipleship – no accountability, no personal relationship, total anonymity. real discipleship can’t happen in these environments. and by using 12 men to start the meteoric early church, it completely defies human explanation – Jesus shuns big crowds of followers, disciples 12 ordinary guys and these 12 guys change the world? completely crazy and counter-intuitive…completely a work of God!

  5. did Jesus know he would be picking those 4 specific men to be his disciples or did they just happen to be at the right place at the right time? if the holy spirit was working in them way before this incident like u suggested above (which would mean Jesus would have known that he’ll be choosing the 12 disciples that he chose), why was the holy spirit working in just them? or was it that it was working in other people too but they never got to the point where they would be willing to follow Jesus?

    Because God doesn’t speak to us face-to-face, people struggle with distinguishing whether a calling is really from God. I understand that we can look at certain factors such as the level of intimacy with Him at the moment to have a better idea….but my question is what happens if you let go of everything and follow God because you believed it was your calling…when it really wasn’t? would you just not bear fruits? or would God make the most of the situation regardless.. for your commitment/eagerness to further His kingdom?

  6. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but the first thing that jumped out at me when reading this text was that Jesus went ahead preaching the good news when John was still in prison. Do we know if Jesus tried to help John or anything? To me, it seems odd that Jesus would just go ahead, leaving John behind. We are always told that Jesus is our shepherd and the one sheep that wanders astray is the most important one to save/help. I know that John didn’t go astray or anything but at the time, he was in need. I don’t know if I’m making any sense or if I’m focusing too much on something that’s really small.

  7. I don’t feel like I have a very strong sense of direction with my life from God. I suppose I worry a bit about what Rose is saying. How will I really know whether I am supposed to do something, or whether I just want to do it, or even whether I just feel guilted into doing it?

    Whenever someone mentions at a retreat or on a mission trip that if you feel God is calling you to missions, I almost feel like everyone is supposed to say yes. I do feel like God has called me to go into either academics or medicine. I get a lot of joy out of helping people understand concepts. I will continue to pray to find more of what God calls me to do.

    And also in response to Rose’s question, I remember being taught that God has a plan for us, and that even if we choose a different path, eventually we will return to his original plan, although it will be a more difficult and tumultuous path. Is that consistent with the Bible?

  8. the exact time period of the gospels is important to keep in mind – Jesus has not died, and our sins are not paid for yet! so the full gospel has not been realized. we have learned since we were small that everyone should hear the gospel and follow Jesus, or at least have that chance, but that comes from our post-resurrection understanding that Jesus had come, died, resurrected, and ascended! we have to try to back up and see it from its appropriate context.

    so…i think we have to realize that Jesus consciously chose only 12 to follow him as disciples, and did not make a broader invitation because his broader work was not done yet. so in the 12 disciples, the Holy Spirit was working to prepare them for their calling, but i don’t know what the Holy Spirit was doing in the men in the boat. perhaps when they saw peter and andrew leaving, that was the beginning of their OWN spiritual journey.

  9. why didn’t Jesus help john out of prison…i can’t say for sure, perhaps he did, or he knew that it was God’s will for john to be there, as paul and other apostles would be. i don’t think it’s always God’s will to rescue us from all difficulty and hardship, as he uses those things to refine us. instead, he promises salvation, he promises his Spirit in difficulty, but he doesn’t promise us comfort or long lives or an end to suffering…not YET.

    but from john’s perpsective, i don’t think he would have wanted to be “rescued” at the expense of the kingdom. remember, he thought he was just the lowliest of servants to the Lord – i think he would have been shocked and embarrassed if Jesus had stopped his ministry to come get him out of jail. he was prepared to become less, even die, if Jesus would become more.

    and this begs a difficult question out of us – are we prepared to become less (to suffer, be persecuted…even die) so that Jesus can become more?

  10. hm, discerning God’s will and following it are such important concepts, and difficult ones as well. there is no single answer, only a multitude of steps to put you in a better position to do it correctly!

    – like you mentioned, being right with God is important. the more closely you are in step with the Holy Spirit, through prayer, through the Word, through fellowship, the more i would trust the promptings that you discern.

    – being in fellowship is especially important, as other people who are praying for you may be able to affirm what you feel God is saying or doing in your life.

    – COMPLETE surrender. we often give God choices – “here, i’m going to be a doctor or a lawyer – you choose, God!” and we get frustrated that he doesn’t help us choose one. this isn’t what the Lordship of Christ is – instead, try to adopt a more surrendered attitude that comes in with less qualifications: “WHATEVER you want me to do, i’ll do it – foolish, low-paying, in India, whatever.”

    – and trust. dongwoon is right, even as we disobey, God irresistibly guides us back to the center of his will – think about jonah, about the israelites in the desert. so keep that universal goodness in your heart and mind as you try to discern your future, that God is in control, that he has a plan. if you try your best to listen to God, obey his will, our Father is not going to respond, “nope, sorry! wrong prayer! said the wrong things! no answer for you, no good things for your future!” he’s your Father – you can trust him, and can trust that as you try your BEST to listen to him, he won’t give you a snake or stone instead…

    man, there’s so much more, but i’m just so tired today!

Comments are closed.