Summary: First sermon in series through Mark's Gospel. Introduction to Mark's Gospel with emphasis on Great Commission & discipleship. Focus on the calling of followers in 1:17. Mark's Gospel is presented here as a "discipleship manual" or "how-to textbook" for

“Fishers of Men”—Mark 1:17

A subtitle for today’s sermon could be: “Simple Church”—because the Scriptures teach of a faith that is less complex, more simple, less religious, and narrower in scope than the church in its history has often portrayed…

Read: Mark 1:14-20

Focus on v. 17… (slide)

Lit: “I will make you become fishermen of men.” (ðïéÞóù ὑìᾶò ãåíÝóèáé ἁëéåῖò ἀíèñþðùí)

INTRO Video: “The Lifesaving Station”

INTRO “The Fishermen”(special reading; see below)

1. So I’m going to give you a definition of “DISCIPLE” and I want you to take it to heart: A disciple/Christian is (someone who does what Jesus does, says what Jesus says, and is becoming who Jesus is)

• I’m saved because Jesus Christ imparted a saving faith in me. When I decided to follow Jesus, He instilled something remarkable in me. And accordingly I am now compelled to go and MAKE a disciple…

• In Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus said WE must go and MAKE disciples, and we do that just how Jesus MADE you & me to be fishers of men…

• Replicating your faith in the life of someone else; walking together with Jesus, sharing the abundant life w/others. This is the Great Commission: “Go, ye therefore and make disciples.”

ILLUST’n: The “BullsEye”—what if our idea of “church” was this huge target, but Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples was just this very simple circle, the bullseye… and we have 2,000 years of complexificated religious stuff and ALL Jesus said was: go about your daily life making disciples, making friends and doing it just as Jesus did it…


Mark Twain loved to go fishing, but he hated to catch fish. The problem was he went fishing to relax, and catching fish ruined his relaxation, since he had to take the fish off the hook and do something with it. When he wanted to relax by doing nothing, people thought he was lazy, but if he went fishing he could relax all he wanted. People would see him sitting by the river bank and they would say, “Look, there’s Samuel Clemens, he’s fishing, don’t bother him.” So Mark Twain had the perfect solution: he would take a fishing pole, line, and a bobber, but he wouldn’t put a hook on the end. He would cast the bobber in the water and lay back on the bank. That way he could relax all he wanted and he would be bothered neither by man nor fish.

Mark Twain is like a lot of Christians I know. They have their pole in the water, but there is no hook on the end. They are not fishing; they are relaxing. Do you think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”? (Matthew 4:19).

In Mark 1 (//Matt. 4) Jesus, who is just beginning his public ministry, came into Galilee and He’s passing along by the Sea of Galilee, walking along the lakeshore, when he calls these fishermen to become fishers of men. Both Mark & Matthew record this call narrative…

Notice the technique Jesus used to call them to discipleship. The text says, “he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him."

Can you feel the urgency, the immediacy, the conviction, of these men.

He tells them He’s gonna make them become fishers of men…

…there is emphasis on the thing Jesus does here: “I will do/make something…”

…but that leads to the enigmatic part: “…become…”

I think we all get the evangelistic aspect. The text is preceded by Jesus’ preaching (v. 14-15)—the phrase “fishermen of men” refers to the kingdom preaching & teaching that Jesus was doing.

But what we need to see here, in my opinion, is that Jesus has to do something… And we have to become something… in following Jesus.

2) The question I have asked of those I am discipling: WHAT IS CHRIST DOING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW? …and HOW ARE YOU BECOMING LIKE HIM?

There is a warning here. We sing the song, “I will make you fishers of men,” but when the King James and NAS Bibles correctly tell us that Jesus is going to make them become fishers of men we should see that this will be a slow and painful process: The Greek grammar is difficult to convey into our language (thus the variations among the different English Bible versions) and here we have a special tense in the Gospel that shows Jesus is going to do something with these men; he’s going to cause them to become something that, in the present, they are not. Literally, “Fishermen of men.” They are already fishermen of fish. But Jesus’ calling will change everything they know; his calling will transform everything they are!

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