Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mark 1:14-20 - I will make you Fishers of Men - Pete's Bible Commentary

Mark 1:14-20 - 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 has come 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 send you out to fish for people.” 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.

Jesus has been baptized by John, and he has spent over a month being tested in the desert. Now he is off proclaiming the good news of God. Though, we should ask, what is this good news? The good news  is from the Greek adjective, euangelizo, which occurs 54 times in the NT. The noun is the word euangelion (occurring 76 times), which we translate as gospel. Jesus came proclaiming the gospel (euangelion), a message that intended to be good news (euangelizo). The essence of the good news he came to proclaim was that through him people could find salvation. Now, lets not get lost in an intellectual pursuit that will drive us insane, but rather think of how great this good news is. God provides a way for us to live in close relationship with our Creator. We can live holy and dedicated lives to honour Christ. He is the good news. He is the euangelizo. Awesome!

In these verses, Mark challenges his readers to, 'Repent and believe the good news.' (v. 15). Repent, as in, turn away from what you were previously engaged in, and then believe, that is, embrace and trust in the good news. This is the message that Mark highlights. The first words that Jesus speaks in ministry, according to Mark, is this repent and believe message. Mark is truly an early evangelist who got straight to the point of the reason for the incarnation of Christ; he came to usher in the Kingdom of God, so repent and believe! What a powerful and confronting message!

In Mark 1:16-20, we read of Jesus' ability to recruit followers to his cause. Within a few lines of text, Mark has described Andrew, Simon, James and John choosing to follow him. Think of this for a moment. Andrew, Simon, James and John are seasoned fishermen. They no doubt love fishing, and they make their livelihood through it. Jesus comes along and they 'left their nets' and followed. Would you give up your way of living? Your livelihood? What if Jesus came along and said, 'Leave what you are doing, and come and follow me...'? Wow!

Luke 5:1-11 expands on the story from Mark 1:16-20, and we see from this account that the fishermen went out on to the boat with Jesus and Jesus divinely brought in a large catch of fish. They were astounded by this, and chose to follow him. Jesus says to Simon (Luke 5:10), 'Don't be afraid, from now on you will fish for people'. Mark's account says, that he spoke to Simon and Andrew, and said, 'Come follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.'

Lastly we should ask in this passage, of what Jesus meant by 'fishing for people'. Jesus was the master of metaphorical, visual language, and we are left curious about the exact meaning of what he had just said. He was calling these new four disciples into his mission - his mission to reconcile the world to himself. Some scholars believe Jesus' comments about being fishers of mean, related to Jeremiah 16:16, where Jeremiah says, '"But now I will send for many fisherman," declares the Lord...' We are nonetheless, called today, for those who have repented and believed the good news, to join in the mission of Christ, in all of what that means for us today. 
Mark 1:14-20 - 'I will make you fishers of men' is part of Pete's Bible Commentary, written by Pete Brookshaw.

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