December 3, 2004

Mark 1:16-20 Sermon Notes

Category: Bible - NT - Mark :: Permalink

Mark 1:16-20
(October 24, 2004 Sermon Notes)

Mark’s Gospel tells how the anointed one became king. Jesus is a new Joshua and a new David. Like them, Jesus doesn’t stay all by himself. He gathers followers to share in his work and in his victory.


Mark doesn’t tell us whether Jesus had met Simon and Andrew before. We know from John 1:35ff. that he had. But Mark doesn’t want us to miss the impact of the summons here. This isn’t one old friend asking some other friends to travel with him. This is a king whose summons comes out of the blue and whose summons must be obeyed.

Simon and Andrew were fishermen. But when Jesus called them, they dropped their nets and followed. Following Jesus is more important than the day-to-day work of earning a living.

Then Jesus finds James and John. Their father, Zebedee, was likely well off. He had a boat and hired hands. His family may have been fishing the Sea of Galilee for generations. But when Jesus calls, James and John leave their vocation and their father to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is more important than family ties.

What happens here is similar to what happened when Elijah called Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21). Elisha abandoned his family and his work and even destroyed his equipment to follow Elijah. So, too, Abraham left his father’s house to go where God led him (Gen. 12). The disciples are going to be like Abraham, a new Israel. And Jesus, filled with the Spirit, does what the Spirit does: He calls them from the water to follow, just as the Spirit called Jesus from the water first (1:9-11).

Jesus doesn’t call all of us to leave our jobs and families. This is a unique call for a unique task. These four will be the foundation of the church (2 x 2 witnesses). But Jesus does call all of us to put him first.


If Jesus is like Elijah and the disciples are like Elisha, that’s a promise that like Elisha they will see their Master ascend, will receive the Spirit he had, and will do greater miracles.

Jesus promises to make these four fishermen into “fishers of men.” That image goes back to Jeremiah 16:16, where God speaks of fishermen bringing Israel back from exile, and to Ezekiel. 47, where Ezekiel sees living water flowing from the Temple and fishermen catching fish. The Temple is another Garden of Eden, from which four rivers flowed (Gen. 2:10-11).

But in the Old Covenant, the Temple water didn’t flow (1 Kings 7:38-39). Now, Jesus is promising, the rivers of life are going to flow again and these four men will be the fishermen catching many people, from the four corners of the earth, so that they share in God’s kingdom. That’s our calling, too, as the church built on these four fishermen.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:09 pm | Discuss (0)

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