Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Mark 1:16-18

16 As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. 17 Jesus said to them, “Follow me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” 18 Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him. ~ Mark 1:16-18

In Mark 1:4-8 we hear the voice of John the Baptist in the wilderness. In Mark 1:11 we hear the voice of God from the heavens. In Mark 1:16-20 we hear the voice of the Lord Jesus by the sea. The emphasis is obviously on the voice. And, as will become obvious later, the voice we choose to listen to on a day by day basis. In our passage today, we are introduced to two fishermen, Simon Peter and Andrew, who had each missed out on becoming a disciple to some Rabbi. In that day there were four steps involved in becoming a disciple: Beth Sefer, Beth Maddish, Beth Talmid, and the Yoke. These were the four steps to becoming a disciple which is synonymous with sanctification.

In step one, the children began their study at age 4 or 5, memorizing the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. In step two, the best students continued their studies being taught by a Rabbi of the community. During this time, they memorized the whole Old Testament until they were fifteen years old. In step three, the students received permission to study with a famous Rabbi leaving home to travel with him for a lengthy period of time. In step four, if the student learned well, the Rabbi would place his Yoke or his teachings on the student.

Now, according to Mark 1:14-15, the Lord Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus calls out to these men to follow Him & they walk away from their livelihood. According to John 1, Simon Peter and Andrew had already met the Lord Jesus. They had profited by the ministry of John the Baptist.
In addition, they had accompanied Jesus at a marriage in Cana, and they accompanied Him at the Passover in Jerusalem. In John 1 the calling of the disciples was a call to believe in Christ unto salvation.

A year later, here in Mark 1, we see the call of the Lord Jesus to these men to follow Him as His disciples. Here, in Mark 1, the emphasis is on discipleship. Many use the term "disciple" as synonymous with that of a Christian.

As Mark 1:16-18 illustrates, there is a difference between a Christian and a disciple, just as there is a difference between our justification and our sanctification. When we follow the Lord Jesus, He defines and shapes us. He defines and shapes us for purposes that perfectly suit his plan for our lives. Following the Lord Jesus means submitting to His definitions of all things and vision for our lives. The mission isn’t dependent on us, it’s dependent on the Lord Jesus, who takes upon Himself the task of transforming the disciple into a fisher of men. He does not ask us to transform ourselves; He asks us to follow Him. And, if we follow Him, He will transform us. This is a process that doesn't happen over night.

Now, if we embrace the Lord Jesus’ acceptance of us, the world’s acceptance of us will shrink in importance to us. We will be increasingly liberated to offer our authentic selves to the world. And, like the disciples, we will eventually bless the world with our authentic selves the Lord Jesus is liberating.

Now, not just anyone embraces the liberation the Lord Jesus offers. Only those who have been set free by our law-giving, law-keeping, and law-liberating Savior. We learn to love the ways of God as we get to know Him and His heart for us and for the world. Being liberated results in us being free to delight in God and His definitions of all things. The Lord Jesus came not to abolished the Law of Moses, but to fulfilled it perfectly on our behalf. His death is our death and His life is our life. His fulfillment is our freedom. His duty is our delight.

Our abundant life of freedom in Christ is not simply a freedom to do anything we want to do but to have the uninterrupted, Spirit-sustaining power to do what we know we ought to do as God slowly defines us and daily transforms us. Daily He cries out to us to follow His voice and to ignore all those in opposition to Him.