Mark 1:14-19 — An invitation like no other

 Mark 1:14-19

What would prompt a group of fishermen to leave their careers behind and follow Jesus? Or for that matter, think about any of the folks mentioned in the Gospels who encountered Jesus and were invited to join in his journey.

Jesus words to come follow me, first offered to fishermen are just as compelling and just as haunting today as they were some 2000 years ago.

What did it take for these original four leave the comfortable, known world of theirs behind for a life of the unknown, for an adventure?

  • An invitation? Yes an invitation to follow and fish in a new way.
    • An invitation to learn to live in a new way
    • An invitation to learn to love in a deeper way
    • An invitation to change the world
  • An adventure? Yes an adventure of following and learning from the One whom God had sent
    • An adventure of new, unknown, and uncomfortable
    • An adventure of being re-shaped by the will and wishes of the God they had grew up hearing about
    • An adventure to join into God’s unfolding story

Off they go. The first four and some others like Matthew, without any hesitation!

Do we go as quickly or do we find ourselves stuck in the rut of reluctance?

These first four disciples would have grown up hearing the great stories of Yahweh creating the world, calling Abram out of the land or Ur, providing a child to a very aged Abraham and Sarah, rescuing Israel out of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the protection and blessing of the children of Israel in the wilderness, their entry into the Promised Land and one day God would once again rescue them from their enemies by sending the Servant in Isaiah’s familiar song.

  • These stories shaped them. Inspired them. Challenged them. Sustained them. Captured their imaginations.
  • These stories gave them hope. These stories gave their faith the vocabulary of trust and adventure that their ancestors knew and clung too.
  • These stories called them to a life of trust. While they lived at a time in which oppression at the hands of Roman’s seemed to be the only reality they knew they clung to the promise that there was a day that God would send his Special Servant to undo the suffering of the ages.

Think about the stories we tell ourselves, and tell our children.

  • Sometimes our stories are about the good ole’ days
  • Just this morning, I heard a couple of older men bemoaning the fact that the world we live in today is different, and how people just don’t respect the traditions of yesterday
    • I bit my tongue, but while they are complaining about the present state of things, they represent us when we focus on the problems at present instead of trusting in the One who knows the future
    • Yes things have changed, but God hasn’t changed. He is still in the life change and rebuilding business.
  • Sometimes our stories tell of great successes and great failures. But if we are honest about the way we tell our stories we need to leave room for the adventure and new life Jesus calls us into.

Think about the stories, Peter, Andrew, James and John passed on to their friends, and family.

  • We read quite a few of their stories in the body of work called the Gospels
  • But their lives will never be the same that day in Galilee when Jesus showed up and invited them to follow him.
  • Nets full of fish would never compare to the baskets full of bread left over when Jesus fed the masses
  • Nights out on the sea of Galilee worrying about their haul would never compare to the countless ones who were healed of leprosy, sickness, the blind made to see, and the lame made to walk.
  • Nights out on the sea of Galilee worrying about their lives, their families, their next meal wouldn’t compare to the One who would calm the raging sea and offer provision at the Banquet table of the Lamb.
  • Days spent cleaning and repairing nets wouldn’t compare to the miles traveled soaking in the teaching of the Master.
  • Days spent smelling like sweat and fish wouldn’t compare to the times when they were recognized as having been with Jesus.

You see this invitation that comes in Mark 1:14ff is only a beginning. While they may not know where this adventure would take them, one thing is certain, they leave everything and follow.

We would do well to follow their example and be captivated by the adventure that awaits us too!

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About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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