“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” ” (Mark 1:17, ESV)
My friends, that is a summons to be obeyed! It was a call to attach themselves closely with Christ, acknowledge His authority over every sphere of their lives, and to imitate His example!
It was also a call to service—a call to service that would be painful. “I will make you become fishers of men!” It would not be an easy life, it would require a fundamental change mind that would be a long process. To set your mind on the things of God and not on yourself anymore is a process and it is costly.
I will make you become fishers of men!” That is a summons for evangelism, for witness and it remains the central mission of the church today!
Finally, this radical call to obedience is a call to fellowship. The word “follow” implies fellowship, joint-participation, a side-by-side walking with others. And note Jesus called more than just one man. He calls four in this passage, twelve eventually, to be His disciples, to live and learn in community.
It was not an easy call, but it is an existing call to you and to me still today. It calls for a prompt response and a complete response.
These guys were not pushovers. They were rugged fishermen in a successful, international business. But the magnetic and majestic character of Jesus drew these men to follow Him.
“Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” How are you responding to that call today. As Charles Simeon suggests, there are at least three appropriate applications to our lives.
First, examination: who are you following in your heart today? Jesus or Satan? Those are the only two options. If you are following—that is if you are attaching yourself to anyone else, accepting their influence and leadership as primary in your life, and wanting to be like them—if you are following anyone else than Jesus, you are not saved. You are in one of two kingdoms today: the kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness, of the devil. To enter God’s kingdom, you must be repenting of your sin and believing in the gospel of Jesus.
Second, humiliation is an appropriate response to this call. If we are the Lord’s today and if we consider all He has done for us including this call to discipleship, then we should be humbled. Humbled as we consider, even among the best of disciples, how little we really love Christ, how little zeal we show for His work. We read accounts of how men will go to great lengths to serve human leaders, to preserve their hold on power and to advance their cause. How much more we, who have been recipients of sovereign mercy, almighty power, and unbounded grace lay down our lives and follow Jesus radically.
Third, thankfulness: What a privilege to follow Jesus Christ today. May our hearts be filled with thankfulness for this unspeakable privilege and calling.
Fourth, imitation: We don’t ask men and women to follow us, but we do ask them to “imitate us even as we imitate Christ!” “Follow me as I follow Christ!”
How is the Spirit of the living God calling you to respond to this message from His Word?