When Jesus Calls
Mark’s gospel opens with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And it ends with “the people were coming to him from every quarter.” Once his ministry began, Jesus’ following grew fast. Everything was zooming toward the cross. But his followers couldn’t see that. Would they have followed if they did?
He began his ministry with baptism, not because he had sins, but to identify with his people. He was tempted in the wilderness as Israel was, but succeeded where Israel failed. His opening words were, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Then, something interesting happened: Jesus called his first disciples.
As he began the most important work the world has ever seen, Jesus invited a group of complicated sinners to come along. Discipleship was important to Jesus. His choosing of them, his investment in them, and his deployment of them was the way he changed the world.
That’s been his way ever since. If you’re a follower of Jesus, your life has massive importance. You may have problems. Who doesn’t? You may need help with those problems. Who doesn’t? But you are not a problem Christ has to figure out how to solve. You are a strategy that he is seeking to deploy, to advance his kingdom, to bring his grace to earth right now.
You can’t follow Jesus unless he calls you. But when he calls, you get moving.
What do we do with Christ’s call? We follow him wherever he leads. And right now, he’s leading Refuge Church into a deeper walk with him in discipleship.
In verse 17, Jesus said “Follow me.” That’s the simple call. He didn’t fill in all the blanks. He didn’t tell them the plan. He simply commanded them to follow. Then, he said, “I will make you become fishers of men.” That’s the big promise. He didn’t say, “I’ll give you the tools to build a successful life.” He said, “I will make you become fishers of men.” In other words, I will do in and through you the work that I want to do in the world. The promise wasn’t based on their ability, it wasn’t based on them living up to their potential. It was based on his promise. All they had to do was follow, and he’d bring about the rest. So it is with us all.
What was the response of Simon and Andrew? Verse 18: “immediately they left their nets and followed him.” What about James and John? Verse 19: “immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.”
When Jesus comes to us, the right response is an immediate yes.
It’s drastic. There is no ramp-up period. They immediately go into Capernaum, enter the synagogue, and Jesus begins teaching. He heals a man with an unclean spirit. From there, he goes to the house of Simon and Andrew and heals Simon’s mother-in-law. The people of the city bring their sick and their oppressed and he heals them all.
They get up the next morning and can’t find Jesus because he’s out praying. Everyone is looking for him, but Jesus says it’s time to go to the next city. The gospel must be preached there. He arrives in Galilee and cleanses a leper by touching him. His touch didn’t make Jesus unclean, as the law said it should. Instead, it made the leper clean.
When Jesus touches us, everything changes. And tonight, Jesus is touching us by his grace and asking us all to recommit ourselves to following him.
What is our response? As I see it, there are two options available. Some of us are ready to become fishers of men. We’re ready to build others up in the Lord. Others of us need help getting there. Which are you? What do you need to do to get moving today?