Sermon on Mark 1:14-20
Text: After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
A book that I purchased several years ago is entitled, “The Greatest Generation.” That book is a collection of stories and memories of people who served in various capacities during World War 2. It is a very interesting book to read, because it puts a human face to the facts that are found in history books. An overriding theme in the book was the sense of duty and obligation to serve one’s country. This sense of duty was used by the recruiters, as they made a poster which had the face of Uncle Sam on it, with a finger pointing directly at the reader. The caption read, “I want you.” There was no getting around it or trying to hide from it. The country had a need, and the reader could fill it. In our text for this morning, our Savior called some men for service in his forces. Just as he called them, he calls us today. This morning we hear Jesus say, “I WANT YOU.” He wants us 1. For A Life Of Glorious Service and 2. A Life Of Total Commitment.
Our text begins by saying that Jesus went up to the region of Galilee. The message that he proclaimed was the exact same message that John the Baptist had proclaimed. There are many people who teach that Jesus came only preaching a message of loving one another. They fail to see that Jesus also preached about repentance. Many times, Jesus preached the Law and the punishment that is due those who sin. Yes, Jesus did preach a message of love. He lived a life of love. He died a death of love to pay for our sins. Jesus did all these things because he loves us. Yet, we need to be reminded that Jesus did preach the Law and the deserved punishment.
One day, as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Peter and Andrew casting a net into the sea. This was not the first time that Jesus had met these two men. Jesus had also met James and John earlier. They were disciples of John the Baptist. John had pointed Jesus out to them. They followed Jesus for a time and then went back to their occupation as fishermen. They were busily going about their work on the day that Jesus called them. Let’s take a few moments and look at both the call and their response.
Jesus came to these men as they were occupied with their fishing. Jesus came to them and said, “Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Vere 17) Jesus was showing them that their lives were going to be changed. They would go from being fishermen to fishers of men. They were now to fish for people. Of course, we realize the play on words that Jesus is making. Their work would be somewhat the same. Yet, there would be differences. Their catch would not be snagged and sold. It would be rescued and set free. The net that they would use would not be made of rope and weights. It would be the Word of God.
This was their formal Call into a new occupation. This occupation would be one of glorious service. They would begin to serve their Lord full-time. The Lord came to them and Called them to serve him.
We, too, have been called to a life of glorious service. Some people are called to full-time service in the preaching and teaching ministry. Just as the disciples needed a period of training before they were ready to go out on their own, so also our pastors and teachers go through an extended training process. Jesus Calls them to service through a calling board, whether it be through the Assignment Committee, the local congregation or school.
Yet, it is not just pastors and teachers who have been called to full-time service for the Lord. Every Christian has been called to a life of glorious service. Jesus tells every Christian, “Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” All of us have been called to be fishers of people. We do so by telling others about Jesus. We do so by giving our lives to Jesus, so that by our lives, people may see that we are different. We do so to open the door for telling others about their sins and what Jesus did to rescue them from their sins.
We also serve our Lord by doing things that are pleasing to him. Jesus calls us to obedience. Why do we obey? Because we have come to faith, we no longer do so out of fear of the law and the consequences if we don’t. Our sins have been forgiven because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Because of this, we want to show our thankfulness for all that has been done for us. So, when Jesus calls us to a life of glorious service, we ask Jesus what he wants us to do. For guidance as to what we should do, we turn to the pages of the Scriptures. Just as a few examples, we hear Jesus’ words, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27) These are just a few of the commands that Jesus gives to his disciples of then and now. We have all been called to lives of glorious service. Jesus wants us for this life of service.
When Jesus calls us for a life of service, he also asks for a life of total commitment. Let us look at the response of the four men, when Jesus called them into service. After Jesus called Peter and Andrew, we are told in verse 18, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” When Jesus called James and John, it says in verse 20, “They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Their response was immediate. They left everything behind and followed Jesus. They gave themselves fully to service for the Lord. They committed themselves to being fishers of men.
This is the type of commitment that Jesus calls us to, as well. Jesus tells us in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Jesus calls us to total commitment in his service. We are to strive to be fully committed to him. We want to do those things that are pleasing to him. Again, we do not follow or obey out of fear, but out of love for God. God calls for a complete devotion of our life to him and his service.
It is only natural for us to want to live lives completely devoted to Jesus and his service. When we see what we have deserved and see that Jesus paid the debt that we owed, we want to do things that are pleasing to him. We do not want to do anything that displeases him. So, we devote our entire lives to him and doing his will. We shudder at the thought of sinning.
Yet, we must admit that, while we are still in this world, we will continue to sin. When we sin, we repent and ask God for forgiveness. Assured of this forgiveness, we start out again and ask God for strength. We start out again with a new resolve to live a life totally committed to God’s service. May God help each of us to be totally committed to following our Savior.
When Jesus calls us, may each of us respond in the same manner as the disciples did. Jesus calls us to a life of glorious service. He calls us to serve him with our entire lives. Jesus also calls us to be completely committed to him. May each of us respond when Jesus calls us say, ‘Here I am. Use me as you wish.’ Amen.
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