January 18, 2015

By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor

Mark 1: 14-20

As a man of few words, Mark encapsulates the calling of Jesus’ first disciples in Mark 1:14-20. Jesus’ words/commands are just as important now to us, as they were when he spoke them.

First, we must understand that a disciple is simply a learner, one who follows a teacher to learn from that person.

Four critical words/commands which Jesus speaks to all disciples:

1.  Repent

Mark 1: 14a “ ‘The time has come,’ Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent…’ ” The true meaning of repentance from the Greek is “to think again, to change your direction, to turn in your thinking/your mind”.

What do we turn from? From our broken, sinful strategies of navigating through our individual lives. We are all broken and need to repent because Jesus (the King of Kings) brings the kingdom of God near us.

When the kingdom comes, God rewards the righteous who follow Him, and judges those who do not. We must repent/turn around because there is danger ahead if we pursue the wrong course apart from Him.

Repentance is a lifestyle of continuously asking God to transform our thinking every day by turning to him in our brokenness.

2. Believe

Mark 1:14 “’The time has come,’ Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’ ” Belief controls our behavior. If God has your faith, he has pretty much got all of you.

Belief implies/assumes repentance in order to grow, because by our turning to Jesus in our brokenness, he brings us faith. We must believe as much Truth as God reveals to us, and always be growing in our belief.

3.  Follow

Mark 1:17 “ ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said.” We are called to put action to our faith. Sometimes our action is a radical decision, a major life change, a big moment; but most often, following Jesus means putting aside our own plans for our daily lives, and putting Jesus in even the more mundane parts of living. To follow, we take the next step in serving Jesus as we have never done before.

4.  Fish

Mark 1:17 “ ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ “ Jesus is talking about evangelization, sharing the gospel with others. In our country, you can believe anything you want as long as you keep it to yourself, or you face possible ostracizing from others. Are we willing to inconvenience ourselves to help rescue others?

Even though we know in the larger circle of our lives, there must be someone who needs to know about Jesus Christ, we question our ability to share. Jesus promises in Mark 1:17 that if we will follow him, he will help us (“make” us) fishers of men. Jesus loves the people that are in our own hearts who need to know him. He will help us tell our story of his work in our lives to those around us.

Today, Jesus is still calling us, his disciples, to repent, believe, follow, and fish. With which of these words is he calling each of us to grow in him?