When Jesus begins his ministry in the Gospel of Mark we read that John the Baptist was in prison. That colors the whole text. Ministry, serving God’s people with God’s word is glorious work. Being the herald for the Son of God is an honor like none other, but I don’t think it was happening the way some had imagined.
As we go fishing for men do we ever consider that it might be an episode of deadliest catch? If John is in jail, consider what that might mean for the rest of his disciples. John was pointing to Jesus as the Savior of the world. If he can’t keep John safe, is he worth following? Those disciples could have given into bitterness or cynicism as they tended to their nets, but that never happened.
These disciples knew Jesus. Don’t picture Jesus walking to the bus stop, tapping a stranger on the shoulder and commanding that person to follow him. This call into service was after they had heard about Jesus from John and had heard Jesus speak before at least one other time. They knew the ins and outs of fishing; now they were going to fish for men.
Their call from Jesus was a little different than what pastor and teachers in our church body receive. We would say that Jesus’ call to those disciples was immediate. That is, there wasn’t a middleman. Jesus – God – did tap them on the should and call them into service. When I received a call into the public ministry – that is service on behalf of others – it was through a church or group of Christian. My call is no less divine than these first fishers of men. I have never doubted that God wanted me to stand before my church and proclaim his gospel.
Want to learn more about going after the deadliest catch? Watch this week’s sermon from Mark 1.