Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 1:20
“And immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.” Mark 1:20.
In this section of Mark, we see Jesus walking along the Sea of Galilee where He calls four of His twelve disciples. First, we see the account of the calling of Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother. “And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:16-17. Jesus saw these two casting a net into the sea. Jesus calls out to them saying, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17. Now this was similar to the Jewish practice of pupils toward their teacher. According Rabbinic literature, ‘a pupil sometimes goes after his teacher, i.e. joins him on his journey and maintains a respectful distance behind him; the following thus displays the pupil’s deference for his teacher, his personal commitment to him, and his desire to learn from the way in which the teacher handles the concrete problems of his journey through life.’ Sounds like what Jesus’ disciples were to do. So, how did Peter and Andrew respond? “And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:18.
Next, we see a similar story regarding James and John. “And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. And immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.” Mark 1:19-20. Again, we see James and John are in a boat, but instead of casting their nets to catch fish, they were repairing their nets in preparation for casting them. It was a common practice to repair their nets rather than buying new ones if possible. And notice what happens. They also left immediately and followed Him.
Now, I want to point out a few important ideas here. First, these were not people with fancy credentials. These were common men, and Jesus met them as they labored as common men. Jesus chose these disciples not for who they were, but for what Jesus could do through them. Theologian Warren Wiersbe has this thought, “Surely the good qualities of successful fishermen would make for success in the difficult ministry of winning lost souls: courage, the ability to work together, patience, energy, stamina, faith, and tenacity. Professional fishermen simply could not afford to be quitters or complainers!” And with this invitation, Jesus demonstrated what Christianity is actually about. At it’s core Christianity is not about theological systems, rules, or even helping people, it is about following Jesus. Now, Jesus used His followers to accomplish His desires. It was essential that they understand there is nothing wrong with these deeds, and they needed to be open to doing them.
And today we, who are true followers of Christ, must do the same for we are His disciples today. And what did Jesus say to the Jews who believed? “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32. And this is what He is saying to us today. It is not enough to receive God’s truth. We must retain and walk in it. And it is only when we receive the truth, love it, keep it, and walk in it, that we are genuine disciples of Christ. We must devote our lives to Christ and His ways, and not replace some of them with what we desire.
When Jesus called these four to be fishers of men, He called them to do what He did. He was the greatest fisher of men ever. But He wanted others to do the work He did; first these four, then the twelve, then hundreds, then thousands and thousands upon thousands through the centuries; which ultimately refers to us. He wants to use us in doing the work He started, which was making disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. And He is not saying we are to do this alone. Note the last part of verse 20. ‘and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ This is our calling, to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples for Christ. Let us go out there and reach out to everyone, declaring the truth and helping them learn how to do the same.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries,