Last week we saw that the Gospel According to Mark answers definitively the question “Who is Jesus?”
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
“John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’ ”
In the opening of the book, Mark even gives us the words of Jesus as testimony of who he is and what he came to do!
“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ ”
“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.”
These two themes—following and fishing— run through both of these passages. What does “following and fishing” have to do with being a Christian.?
The first thing we learn is to be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus!
“…and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.”
Christianos, khris-tee-an-os'; from Greek 5547 (Christos); a Christian, i.e. follower of Christ :- Christian.
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ ”
The cost is found inherently in the word “disciple”—to be a disciple is a fundamental realignment of our priorities that requires following Jesus with absolute allegiance no matter the cost.
A Disciple is an ardent follower of Jesus.
Five Components of a Discipling Relationship
A disciple is:
1. An ardent follower of Jesus.
2. Intentional about studying/obeying the Word of God.
3. Actively engaged in the local church.
4. Empowered by the Holy Spirit.
5. Continuously Making disciples.
Disciple-making is intentionally entering into someone’s life to help them know and follow Jesus (Evangelism) and to teach them to obey His commands (Discipleship).
The second thing we learn is to be a follower of Jesus is to be a Fisher of Men.
“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’ ”
Jesus modeled being a fisher of men and the disciples followed in his footsteps in answering the call to be fishers of men but what does this have to do with us?
We need to be clear that the Bible reveals that there ALL followers of Jesus are to be fishers of men.
Someone may say—I don’t have the GIFT of Evangelism!
The implications of that statement are:
1. If you do have the gift, you should evangelize, &
2. If you don’t have the gift of evangelism, you should leave evangelizing to others who are gifted in that area.
We should first note one very important thing:
The Bible NEVER references evangelism as a spiritual gift.
I Cor. 12:4-11 & I Cor. 12:28 & I Cor. 12:29-30.
What does this mean?
All those Jesus calls to follow him he makes fishers of men!
Who Can Be a Follower of Jesus and a Fisher of Men?
"The only thing that qualifies us to be followers of Jesus is that we are sinners who need grace. Sinners are the only kind of people Jesus calls, as the Apostle Levi (Matthew) discovered."
"No one is inherently qualified to serve as his (Jesus) disciple. God himself must save sinners, sanctify them, and then transform them from the unqualified into instruments he can use."