It was lovely to welcome back Pete Killingley into the pulpit after an absence of over three years. Pete is now pastor of Send Evangelical Church, Surrey. His message came from Mark chapter 1: 14-20, where Jesus calls the fishermen to follow Him.
The four disciples had no idea what they would follow or the cost of this to their lives, or that 2000 years later there would be billions of followers of Jesus. What does it mean to follow Jesus today? What does the call mean?
There are three points to be considered:
- Follow, whoever you are
- Follow, whatever it costs
- Follow, wherever it takes you.
Whoever you are: verses 16-20
Three of the four fishermen Jesus called made up Jesus’ inner crowd who were invited to key events in His life; all four became His closest friends. They were fishermen. Jesus wants a community of followers, He didn’t go to the synagogue for Bible experts, He went and called people who were fishermen, not high up in society, not academic (Acts 4:13). This tells us Jesus calls ordinary men and women, one by one. This is grace in action. They didn’t choose Jesus, He chose them. He chooses the ones He wants. Faith is a gift of God, it is all of Grace. You don’t have to be holier than others to be a Christian, you can have a chequered past. He calls us to come just as we are, He calls us to follow, whoever we are. None of us are qualified to be followers of Jesus.
To follow, whatever the cost
The disciples left behind their jobs, they left behind their families – which was something shocking for the time. They gave up their whole lives (Mark 10:28), it was risky. What does following Jesus look like for us today? Becoming a Christian is not identical to what it was for the disciples. We don’t have to leave our jobs and families. However, there is a cost. It changes everything. Jesus says in Mark 8: 34-35 that those who follow Him ‘he must deny himself and take up His cross.’ We have to obey God as revealed in the Bible. We have to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We have to follow God before ourselves, putting others before ourselves. We also need to be prepared for suffering. Every day it costs us, we have been bought with a price; it might be that there is a cost to our time or to our popularity. If it never costs your anything you need to question how committed you are to Christ. Jesus calls everyone who follows Him to go all in.
A call to follow wherever it takes you
Jesus wanted the fishermen to become fishers of men. The fishermen did not catch a single fish without His help. Jesus here compares fishing for fish and fishing for men. There is a comparison in spreading the nets and spreading the message as widely as possible. Jesus brings fish into the nets and people to the gospel. He provides the fish; the same is true for us – we are to spread the Word, Jesus will provide the people. We have to be faithful in spreading the nets. We are all called to be fishermen to spread the gospel. The disciples had no idea they were called to death, only John survived to old age. Jesus calls us to follow Him. We have no idea where this will lead us, what we are letting ourselves in for. But we know God loves us; He sent His Son to die for us on the cross. Surely we can trust Him. Following Jesus, whether geographical or in a relationship, means taking the message of Jesus to men. Are we engaged in this mission? Follow Him and receive 100 fold blessings and eternal life.