Mission (1:14-20)

Bible Passage: Mark 1:14-20

By verse 14, Jesus’ ministry is ready to begin. The way has been prepared by John the Baptist, and Jesus has been filled with the Spirit and affirmed by the Father. Now he sets about the task for which he came, proclaiming the kingdom of God in the towns and villages of Galilee, and calling people to repent and believe. This is not a task Jesus wanted to undertake alone, and he called the first disciples to follow him, promising that as they do he will transform them into fishers of men.

Gospel Ministry: In verses 14 and 15, we are told of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, and the heart of this ministry was proclaiming the gospel (which ties in to how Mark began his gospel in 1:1). This gospel preaching took the form of the announcement that the time has come and the kingdom of God was near. God’s rule and reign has broken into this world, and it has done so in the person of Jesus. The response that this calls for from those who hear is to repent (turn from sin) and to believe in the good news that is being shared.

The Call to Follow: As Jesus passed by the Sea of Galilee, he encountered fishermen named Simon and Andrew. He called them to follow him, and for them this was a very literal call to drop their fishing nets and accompany him on his journey round the towns and villages of Israel. Though for us, the call to follow Jesus does not necessarily mean leaving our wok or our place, the same invitation extends to us, and each of us must make the decision how we respond to Jesus’ call to follow him.

Mission: As Jesus called the disciples to follow, he made a promise of transformation. By being with him he would make them into ‘fishers of me’. Obviously this illustration played on their occupation as fishermen, but the point is that they would join him in his ministry, and through them people would be brought into the kingdom and find eternal life. This is a useful reminder for all of us who follow Jesus that he has this same mission for us, and we too can be instrumental in seeing people won for God’s kingdom.

Potential Applications:

  • You could ask people to consider their own response to Jesus’ call to follow him.
  • You could challenge how people think about community and team. If even Jesus desired others to share with him in his ministry, then how much more is this something that we need too?
  • Invite people to think about their own evangelism and to what extent they are fulfilling the call to be fishers of men.