Summary: A sermon about fishing for people.

Mark 1:14-20

“A Job with No Pay”

By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN

Jesus was walking beside the Sea when He saw two men in a boat waiting for unsuspecting fish to wander into their nets.

And it’s amazing what happened next.

Jesus offered them a job with no pay, and they accepted.

Had the sales pitch been, “Come and make more money than you could ever make fishing,” then it might make a bit more sense.

But these fishermen drop what they are doing and head off to who-knows-where, to live lives they can’t imagine!

I have read that if you go to Galilee today they will show you a boat that could have belonged to Andrew and Peter, or perhaps the Zebedee family.

It is one of the most impressive archaeological finds anywhere in the Holy Land.

A boat was found sticking out of the mud one summer when the level of the Sea of Galilee dropped dramatically during a drought.

It was carefully lifted out of the sea bottom, cleaned and preserved.

Now, in a special exhibit, millions of visitors can see the kind of boat Jesus’ first followers used for fishing.

It has been carbon-dated to exactly the same period as Jesus’ life.

The boat is a vivid reminder of the day-to-day existence of Jesus’ followers—and of what it cost them to give it all up and follow Jesus.

They were, in today’s language, small business people, working as families…

…not for huge profits but to make enough to live on and maybe have a little left over.

There were lots of fish and there were lots of people to sell them to.

But it was hard work, and sometimes dangerous.

They had steady jobs, but they weren’t rich.

After Jesus called Simon and Andrew, “he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.”

He called them as well, and “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

We have no idea how many generations the Zebedee family had been fishing in the Sea of Galilee, but it was probably a long time.

In that country and culture, as in a lot of other places to this day, a small family business can be handed on—not only through generations—but through centuries!

It’s safe and secure; people know what they are doing.

If times are hard, the usual answer is simply to work a bit harder.

But then along came Jesus from Nazareth Who beckoned James and John, and their neighbors Peter and Andrew to drop it all and follow Him.

And they did!!!

Why did they give it all up to follow a wandering preacher?

The disciples’ instant acceptance of Jesus’ invitation is about as dramatic as they come!

We might think that a reasonable response to Jesus’ command of “Follow me” would be “Where are you going?”

But the way it works out is that they don’t yet know the destination…it’s something they must learn along the way!

And this gives us a hint at the nature of faith that is at the heart of discipleship.

It’s very similar to the call, response, and faith of Abraham.

All the disciples of Jesus left something behind.

These first four left their fishing boats, their livelihood and their homes.

And it wasn’t the kind of situation where they could say: “Well, okay, we’ll try this out for a while, and see how it works out.”

They followed.

There was a finality about it.

One day when I was in seminary, on the campus of Emory University, I was witnessing to a college student.

I asked him if he believed that Jesus Christ is Who He says He is.

His answer was “Yes.”

Then I asked him if he would be willing to pray, repent of his sins, and ask Jesus to become the Lord of his life.

His answer was, “No. Not yet. I believe, but I’m not ready to give my life to Christ. There are too many things I’m not ready to give up.”

How many of us ‘believe’, but are not willing to follow?

“Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.”

The power of the Gospel changes people’s lives.

Once we meet Jesus on the road of our own individual life, and decide to follow Him, we will be changed!

We will be different people.

But many of us tend to resist change.

So many folks just want to see the Gospel through rose colored glasses—wanting to see only the joy, comfort, and light—and not wanting to see the difficult or disruptive.

“Behold, I make all things new,” says Jesus.

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