“And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him. Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.”
Peter, Andrew, James, and John followed Jesus based on His preaching. Jesus had not done any miracles yet; it’s important to note that some of the men who became His disciples followed Him from the beginning, and followed Jesus based on His words, not His signs.
Notice that the word ‘immediately’ is used twice in this small section. When is it time to answer Jesus’ call? Now, immediately. When does Jesus call us? He is calling us now.
Also, both sets of disciples left something: Peter and Andrew left their nets. James and John left their father. Simon and Andrew had heard of Jesus and had even spent time with Him before; Andrew was introduced to Jesus by John the Baptist, and Simon tagged along (John 1:35-42)
“Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated, A Stone).”
At that time, Jesus gave them an invitation to observe Him, see what He was all about. But now He was calling them. Now, as it writes about here in Mark, they took the first steps to answering Jesus’ call on their lives. They left their nets, their family, they chose Jesus. But it wasn’t until a little later that the commitment to Jesus became more, became everything, to them. See, they were being followers by day, and still returning to the old ways of fishing by night. But one day, Jesus demonstrated His power (Luke5:1-7):
“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’
But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.”
So the men had been following Jesus for a short time, but still being fishermen also. But this miracle Jesus did is going to change that. Peter was convicted of who he was through this act of God (Luke 5:8-10):
“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
Jesus re-affirmed that Peter was called. He reminded Peter that even as he recognized who he was, a sinner, God had a plan for him. Jesus told him not to be afraid. So what did they do now? They’d already begun to follow, but what changed here (Luke 5:11):
“So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
They forsook all. No more holding back. No more double life. It had begun with a curiosity (Jesus, where are you staying?); it continued with an immediate sincere response; and it grew into a commitment with all that they were.
this is the progression every life who chooses Jesus should see. What stage are you in? Lord, what stage am I in? I don’t want to stay forever in stage 2 – where I’ve decided to follow, but there’s still a double life, there’s Jesus and something else going on for me. Yes, there’s been change that the Holy Spirit has worked in my life, but the old ways are still a part of me too. But praise to God, who doesn’t leave us there. Are you afraid to abandon all? Jesus told Peter not to be afraid. So what does it take?
Mark 8:34-38 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed of when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
There is reward for those who choose to really lose all and follow Jesus. Mark 10:28-31 says: “Then Peter began to say to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’ So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Have I decided to follow Jesus – No turning back to my old life; Am I committed with abandon To give up everything for Christ? Or am I holding on to other loves That weigh me down from running strong Tied up in trying to preserve The temporary things I want Throw it aside! Stop holding dear! These that matter not one bit He gave the call – Now leave it all! Because His reward is eternally worth it. (by Melissa Roland)
Jesus is calling; answer with your life.