It is the simplest message that Jesus brought—Repent and believe the good news, but it is in the second part of his ministry plan that we find our opportunity to respond to…
An Urgent Calling (Mark 1:16-20) 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.
Explanation: It is fitting that Jesus as part of the Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit, is calling people to come into partnership with God, and so naturally he builds relationship with man that mirrors his relationship with God. In doing so Jesus breaks all the rules:
- Teachers in his time weren’t supposed to go out and recruit students, the students were supposed to come to the teacher. 2. To make it worse, Jesus doesn’t go to the synagogue (the hot recruiting areas—He isn’t recruiting from Harvard, he is at the local community college), he goes to the docks with normal guys. Finally, 3. instead of demanding that his students have all the prerequisites, Jesus promises to prepare them, “I will make you fisher of men.” It is with all the rules of man broken, that Jesus says, “Come, follow me!”
A story is told of three apprentice devils being trained by Satan. ‘What are you going to try today?’ asks the leader. The first apprentice replies, ‘I’m going to tell them there is no God.’ ‘Well,’ says Satan, ‘you can try. A few fools will believe you. But the universe shouts the existence of God. There is evidence all around and you’ll not do very well. Indeed, even in the secular twenty-first century you may find yourself witnessing the slow death of atheism. Any other ideas?’ The second apprentice tries this: ‘I’m going to tell them there’s no judgment.’ ‘That’s a better idea,’ says Satan. ‘You will persuade more people of that, especially some of the clergy. But human beings have a gut sense of accountability, that actions have consequences. They know what it is to feel guilty even when there therapists tell them not to. So I think you’ll find it an uphill struggle. Anyone else have an idea?’ The third apprentice pipes up, ‘I’m going to tell them there’s no hurry.’ ‘Brilliant,’ says Satan. ‘That is just what you want to say. You will have great success. Let them listen to the word of God and whisper in their ears, “This is good stuff. One day you ought to do something about this. But tomorrow will do.” – Christopher Ash, The Priority of Preaching
I wonder if you have ever pondered Jesus’ call in and on your life or if you’ve told yourself “tomorrow will do?” Jesus still to this day sends out the urgent call: Come, follow me! Revealing that if you can hear these words God has come to you, chosen you, asked you to follow him, not only after you get your life together, or only after things calm down, or only after you know enough, not “but only’s,” God loves you and wants you to be a follower rather than just a fan. If you have already decided to follow how it is going? Is it a leisure activity or a new way of life? It is an urgent turn from the past, like Elisha went called by God, he burnt the plows of his past life. What are you holding onto that is keeping you from following, your lifestyle, your pride. Don’t walk away from the one who walked to the cross for you!