In some ways our scripture passage for this Sunday is similar to last Sunday’s text. Last Sunday we heard about the call of the first disciples from the Gospel of John. This week we hear of the same events but from Mark’s perspective. And while the subject matter is similar, the tone and style are drastically different! In Mark’s account, Jesus is the one and only speaker. The earliest disciples, two sets of brothers, Simon/Andrew and James/John, were hard at work in their trade of fishing. They seemed to drop everything and wordlessly follow after Jesus in response to Jesus’ invitation to, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”
Now, truly, this is an interesting and somewhat challenging way to think and talk about evangelism. It’s a phrase and an image that is likely familiar to many of us. But what does it really mean to “fish for people?” For those of you who fish, I imagine you might have positive insight and perspective into what it could mean to “fish for people.” But there’s a lot about this imagery that could be troubling as well! Do we really strive to “hook” people, yanking them abruptly out of their habitats, their worlds, in order to invite them into relationship with Jesus?
Why did Jesus use this language in building relationships with those early disciples? What can we glean from these words, these images, about a life of discipleship? What language might Jesus use in talking with us today?
I hope you’ll join us for online worship at 9:00 as we offer our praise and thanks to God, as we connect with God’s love, community and call and as we explore these questions together. Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below. If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are welcome! Looking forward to being together on Sunday!
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Questions to consider:
- What qualities or characteristics stand out to you about Mark’s Gospel, his focus and his style of writing? In what ways do you find it engaging or challenging?
- What do you make of the disciples dropping everything, leaving jobs and family, in order to follow Jesus? What motivated them to do this?
- What appeals to you or doesn’t appeal about the idea of “fishing for people?” What is the difference between this being a task to do versus an identity to take on?