And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. — Mark 1:17-18
Like many children, my siblings and I used to play “Follow the Leader” — the game where one child leads others around. When we were very young, this involved merely trailing behind the leader as he walked around chairs and the sofa or, when outside, around bushes and trees. When we were a little older, we made the game more challenging. The followers had to climb rocks, follow the leader under fences, and even crawl through culverts. Often the game would start with just a few participants, and as it attracted attention, others would join and follow. Those who gave up or stopped following the leader, for whatever reason, were out.
Obviously there is a vast difference between the game “Follow the Leader” and Jesus calling His disciples, but there are some similarities that are worth noting. The followers in the game do not know where they are going to be led or what they are going to encounter, and neither did the disciples. In both cases, trust in the leader is a necessity. Jesus’ disciples showed remarkable faith as “straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him,” leaving their livelihood behind. They also grew to trust Jesus implicitly.
When playing the game, the leader knows where he is going, although those following him do not. Jesus led by example and went through great difficulties Himself. He knew what His followers would go through, and He led the disciples, instructing them how to follow, and even warning and preparing them for the difficulties to come.
Do you find yourself walking through some dark valley today? Are you in a “culvert” with no clear path out? Even though you are following the Lord, maybe you are facing grief, financial trouble, relationship difficulties, or other problems. Just as Jesus knew what was ahead as He led His disciples, He also knows your predicaments and trials. He will guide and help you as well. All you have to do is follow.
The Gospel of Mark is believed to have been written sometime before A.D. 70, and it may have been the first of the four Gospels to be penned. Since Mark was not one of the twelve Apostles, a number of Bible commentators consider Peter to have been the chief source of information for the book. It was noted as early as A.D. 140 that Mark was Peter’s interpreter, which caused him to spend years listening to Peter talk and preach. Some scholars believe the book was written for pastoral and ministerial purposes, rather than archival purposes.
The book begins with the certification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is shown through the witness of His forerunner (verses 2-8), by God at the time of Jesus’ baptism (verses 9-11), and His temptation (verses 12-13). Verse 14 begins Jesus’ introduction as the Son of God, telling of His message and the call of four of His disciples.
The prophets had foretold the forerunner of the Messiah (see Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1), and John the Baptist fulfilled those predictions by preaching and baptizing. Some of the multitudes who went to hear John walked twenty miles to get to him, including a four-thousand-foot descent. They found John dressed like the Old Testament prophet Elijah and eating the food of the poorest (locusts) and wild honey. John was a mighty preacher, yet his emphasis was on the coming Messiah. Slaves’ duties included carrying sandals and tying or loosening the latchets, but John said he was unworthy to do this for the One who was coming. He also said the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
Jesus traveled from Nazareth to be baptized in water by John. When Jesus came out of the water, the Voice of God the Father said, “my beloved Son,” thus confirming Christ’s deity. The third person of the Trinity was also witnessed when the Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove.
Mark’s description of Jesus’ temptation is more terse than Matthew’s and Luke’s. The verb translated “the Spirit driveth him” communicates forceful direction. For forty days, Satan endeavored to divert Jesus from His purpose for coming to earth. It was a lonely trial, with only wild beasts and angels nearby.
When John the Baptist had been put into prison, Jesus began His ministry by “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” The Gospel Jesus preached was God’s theme throughout His Word — repent and believe. To “repent” meant people were to see how evil their sins were and to forsake them. Then they were to believe in Jesus, and in God’s message that He spoke.
Verses 16-20 tell of Jesus calling four disciples. Some Bible scholars believe John the Baptist had introduced Jesus to a few of these men. These four were fishermen by trade, which was common near the Sea of Galilee. They left their method of earning a living to follow Jesus. Additionally, James and John left their father and his profitable business, which was successful enough to have employees. Their decisions were not without cost.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The credentials of the Son of God (1:1-13)
A. Title: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1)
B. Certified by His forerunner (1:2-8)
1. Through Old Testament prophecy (1:2-3)
2. Through John’s preaching (1:4-8)
C. Certified through His baptism (1:9-11)
1. The baptism by John (1:9)
2. The Spirit’s descent (1:10)
3. The Father’s words (1:11)
D. Certified through His temptation (1:12-13)
II. The introduction of the Son of God
A. The message of the Son of God (1:14-15)
B. The disciples of the Son of God (1:16-20)
1. Simon and Andrew (1:16-18)
2. James and John (1:19-20)
Simple obedience brought great blessings for these uneducated fishermen, and they became an integral part of a movement that changed the world. We, too, can make an impact on our world — we simply need to faithfully follow.