Fishers of Men {Mark 1}

9:18 AM

By Becky Bramlett Austin

Today we begin the book of Mark. Being one of the four gospels, we will revisit many of the same stories and testimonies about Jesus but each gospel has a unique emphasis and perspective to offer. Mark is believed by most to be “ a sister's son to Barnabas, and the son of Mary, a pious woman of Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and first Christians assembled (Col 4:10; Acts 12:12). 

Although not one of the 12 disciples, his accounts portray information at least gathered from an actual eye witness. Many believe that Mark may have been a convert of the disciple Peter and that Peter may have mentored him. Mark’s gospel is primarily written to new believers, including Gentiles, and has a lot of focus on enduring persecution. Although it portrays more about what Jesus did than what Jesus says, it gives a very simple and concise portrait of the humanity of Jesus but also emphasizes his deity.

Right at the beginning, Mark draws attention to Jesus being the Son of God and the prophesied Messiah, whom John the Baptist prepared the people hearts to accept. “ The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (v1-2). And John proclaimed Jesus’ important position and righteousness.”

“There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.””

Mark then quickly provides snapshots of Jesus ministry: the calling of the first disciples (vv 16-20), the first exorcism of unclean spirits (vv21-28), the first healing summary (vv32-34), the first prayer where Jesus goes off alone to be with God (v35), the first journey where Jesus begins to spread his teachings to surrounding areas (v 36-29), and the first story of miraculous restoration as Jesus heals a leper and restores him to society (vv 40-45).

Out of all of these events, I wanted to continue the theme that Sue started yesterday in the closing chapters of Matthew, and call attention to the important emphasis on discipleship. 

“Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”

When we become Christians, it is because Jesus calls us to follow him. He expects us to be willing to forsake the things of this world to live out an intimate relationship that prioritizes his glory and his will above our own. In following him, he equips us to disciple others and be “fishers of men”. 

Perhaps you don’t feel capable of disciplining others. Be encouraged that Jesus did not seek out the educated, pious religious rulers for this important task, but rather the simple, humble, everyday common people of society. Jesus is the one who teaches and equips. We become the tools through which he spreads his wisdom and love to others. There are so many lonely women out there who would be receptive to a genuine friendship. I want to encourage you to pray about such opportunities in your life.

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