Summary: Jesus is deeply concerned about our spiritual destiny.
Text: “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” (Mark 1:16).
In Jesus’ day, fishing was a major industry just as it is in certain parts of the world this day. The Sea of Galilee is located about 60 miles north of Jerusalem and borders the east coast of Galilee.
The Jordan River flows from Mount Hermon into the northern end of the Sea of Galilee and then exits from the southern tip of the sea and continues down and empties into the Dead Sea.
The Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles from north to south and about 8 miles east to west at its’ widest point. The water of the sea is sweet, bright, and clear and contains many fish. There are times when the sea becomes rough and violent due to the cold air moving in and meeting the warm air at the north end of the sea.
Since there are many fish in the sea, towns sprang up around the sea and fishing became the number one industry. During Jesus’ day, there were some 30 plus town located around the sea. Capernaum grew to be the largest of all the towns.
As you know, every business has events that take place prior to the actual opening of the business. There is footwork that has to be done. There is research concerning the need for the business as well as the best possible place to open the business.
There are licenses and permits to obtain. There are advertisements that must be posted. There should be prayerful thought concerning the business. In other words, there are preliminary steps that must be taken.
There were some preliminary steps leading up to the beginning of Jesus ministry. There were people and events which were essential before Jesus could begin His mission. A decision had to be made as to where to base the ministry. Workers had to be called to assist in the operation of the ministry.
Let’s take a look at some of the people and events that were necessary for Jesus’ ministry to get off the ground and become airborne.
Before Jesus’ ministry began, there was a man who appeared and was a witness, a forerunner for Jesus and a messenger to the people.
The Scripture says, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all through him might believe. He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8).
Isaiah had prophesied many years before, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” (40:3).
John was the one who came preaching in the wilderness saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). John came to prepare the way for Jesus. He came preaching the Good News that people needed to hear.
Since the original sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve everyone born is born with a sinful nature. The perfect relationship between man and God was broken and a void created. In order to move back into a right relationship with God, there must be a bridge connecting us with God. John said, “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7-8).
The connecting link or bridge that leads to a right relationship with our Father is the Cross of His Son Jesus Christ. We know this because we know the history. We have studied and we have been taught the Christian way of life.
Did the people understand what John was preaching? Scripture tells us, “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins" (Matthew 3:5-6).
I believe many people who came to John to confess and repent of their sins were sincere because they knew in their hearts they were not living right. Some of the people probably came because they saw others coming. The Pharisees and the Sadducees also came and John called them “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7).
These two groups did not agree with each other and both used religion to further their political positions.
John used baptism as an outward sign that confession and repentance had taken place. When water is used to wash your hands clean, the results are visible, but when water baptism takes place there is no visible cleansing because it is an inward cleansing.