Summary: Why did the four fishermen follow Jesus? They desired things to be made right in the kingdom of God, and they wanted their lives to count. How is God calling us? The time to respond is NOW.
JESUS CALLING—Mark 1:14-20
***Have you heard this riddle? “A man walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a gun and points it at the man with a menacing look. The man says, ‘Thank you,’ and walks out. What is going on?”
It all makes sense, when you know the rest of the story: The man had the hiccups, and he wanted to sip water from a glass to get rid of them. Fear works better than water, however, and the threat of the gun caused enough fear to get rid of the hiccups.**
Sometimes there has to be more to a story, and today’s story is one of those times.
Read Mark 1:14-20.
Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew, and IMMEDIATELY they left their nets. Why would they leave a good family business to follow Jesus? There has to be more to the story.
THE STORY BEGINS WITH A LONGING FOR THE WORLD TO BE MADE RIGHT.
When we look at the world, we see so many things that are not right: Inequality, injustice, poverty, bribery, and lack of concern for the poor and oppressed. Economic and political powers are too often corrupt, and the powerful abuse the weak. We dream of a world of justice, where all is made right.
In the Old Testament, that vision of a world made right was focused in the coming Messiah. Isaiah 11:2-5 describes the Messiah: “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD…with RIGHTEOUSNESS he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth… RIGHTEOUSNESS will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”
The Messiah would rule over a KINGDOM of righteousness and justice. Isaiah 9:1-7 presents a glorious vision of a king like David, but with a surprising twist, because the king would arise from Galilee, not Judea: “There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS from that time on and forever.”
Andrew, one of the four fishermen on the shore that day, hoped and prayed that God’s kingdom of righteousness would come—soon. So when John the Baptist began to preach at the Jordan River, he walked more than 50 miles to repent of his sins and be baptized by John. When Andrew saw what was wrong with the world, he didn’t place the blame only on the rich and powerful, or the undeserving poor. He recognized that it was not just “those people”—evil, stupid, mean, or undeserving—who were not right. He admitted that HE was not right, and he needed to be changed by God’s King, the Messiah.
John caused quite an uproar in Judea, and the Pharisees asked John whether he was the Messiah. He said no; he was the one preparing the way for the Messiah. He quoted a prophecy of Isaiah: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (John 1:23)
Andrew believed in the ministry of John as the forerunner of the Messiah, and he became a disciple of John. When Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist, John called him “The Chosen One.” The day after that, Andrew and another disciple heard John say, “Look, the Lamb of God.” The two men caught up with Jesus, and spent the rest of the day with him.
(The other disciple may well have been John, not the Baptist, but the one who wrote the gospel of John. At another time he referred to himself as “the other disciple.” The John who wrote the gospel was one of the four fishermen in our story today.)
Imagine what it was like to spend time with Jesus. What would he have said? What would you have asked him? How would you feel as you got to know this amazing man?
While Andrew was talking with Jesus, he was wondering whether Jesus really was the Chosen One, the Messiah. Maybe he asked him about some of the Old Testament prophecies, and maybe he shared his hopes for God’s people to be redeemed and righteousness to be established. Or maybe he just listened, as Jesus talked about God’s promises and their fulfillment.