Initially, the earthy ministry of Jesus was supposed to be primarily preaching and teaching God’s word. In Mark 1:21-39, the people of Capernaum hear Jesus speak as He begins His earthly ministry of teaching and preaching in their synagogue. This must have been a startling experience for those gathered in that small synagogue. Here is Jesus—the Living Word—teaching, preaching, and proclaiming the written word!
Often, miracles followed the message—and we see that in this section of scripture. But ultimately, Jesus reinforces His primary purpose of preaching, teaching, and proclaiming God’s Message. He made that message simple: the kingdom has come; you must be born again to enter in; and right living is the evidence of your citizenship in this kingdom.
While we don’t know the volume or the tempo with which Jesus spoke, we do know the content and the style—He really believed what He was saying. Watch or listen to our study from this past Sunday and marvel at the simplicity with which Jesus taught and served.
Imagine that Jesus walked into your place of employment and simply said, “Follow Me.” What would you do? Would you follow Jesus physically? Would you leave your job? Would you leave your family? Would you leave your city instantly after only hearing two words from Jesus?
This is the scene that we studied this past Sunday, and is seemed as though that’s exactly what happened to Andrew, Simon, James, and John. But when you put the puzzle pieces together from the other Gospel accounts, there was much more going on here that what we could see on the surface.
Mark 1:16-20 was only one of the times that Jesus said, “Follow Me” to these men. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last time. Time after time, these men stutter-stepped and struggled in physically following Jesus—returning to their earthly identity again and again instead of walking fully in their kingdom calling.
Is that something that you struggle with—setting aside your earthly identity in order to walk fully in your kingdom calling? You may not be following Jesus physically on the dusty trails of Galilee, but the experience is just as real and the stakes are just as high.
Jesus is calling you. Jesus really does love you. Jesus really does want to be with you. And before you mutter all those reasons why your life doesn’t matter, Jesus is fully aware—and yet He still loves you and wants to be with you forever!
Starting right now, you could simply say, “Jesus, I’m tired of the stutter-step. I’m tired of the struggle. Please forgive me. Please help me. Please save me. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit. I want to follow You. I want to be with You forever! Thank you for hearing my prayer and receiving me into your family. In Jesus name, Amen.”
“Follow Me.” Two simple words spoken by Jesus that proved to be difficult to obey for four fishermen. In Mark 1:16-20, we read of one of times Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him. It wasn't the first time, and it wouldn't be the last time Jesus called these men.
In fact, we considered at least four different times Jesus called these men to be His disciples. But why would Jesus have to say, "Follow Me," to them so many times? Why would they hesitate?
It's a question we asked and considered our own hesitations to follow Jesus. And yet, despite their hesitations and our own, Jesus continues to call.
Watch our listen to our study of Mark 1:16-20 and learn just how much Jesus wants to be with you.
At His baptism, Jesus’ call to ministry came with the heavens parting, the Spirit descending on Him like a dove, and God’s voice from heaven declaring His favor.
And immediately after that glorious moment…the Sprit sends Jesus into the wilderness. Life is like that—even for the Son of God. There’s an initial romance in the call to ministry followed by a time of severe testing.
While in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus was tempted by Satan. The Gospel of Luke records three specific temptations (Luke 4:1-13), but there were most likely many more. This would have been a severe time of testing and suffering for Jesus—but it would prepare Him for the rest of His ministry.
Although Jesus emerged from this time of testing and temptation unstained by sin, He was changed by the human experience. Jesus was made perfect though suffering (Hebrews 2:10) and is our compassionate High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).
At His most vulnerable and physically weakest, Jesus felt what we feel. He could sympathize with our times of testing. He could understand the temptations we face. His time of testing produced an empathy and compassion for the people He was to serve in His earthly ministry.
And God also leads us through seasons where our faith is tested. These trials refine and purify us so that God’s heart and character is ever more gloriously reflected in our lives.
As You with Satan did contend
And did the vict'ry win,
O give us strength in You to fight,
In You to conquer sin.
There is often an initial romance after God calls you and sends you. But after the romance of that initial calling, there is the reality of a time of testing. This testing may be so severe that it tempts you to question your calling and His love for you.
And yet, God is just as much in control in that time of testing as He was when He first called you. You don’t have to thrive during this time of testing—you just have to survive.
Even for God’s own Son, His initial calling into earthly ministry was immediately followed by the reality of ministry (see Mark 1:11-12). All of it was preparing Jesus for a more fruitful, impactful and compassionate ministry.
We considered this time of testing in Jesus’ ministry and how we can learn from it to prepare ourselves for times of testing in our own walk with the Lord during our study in the Gospel of Mark this past Sunday.
John the Baptist had a very unique call on his life. In order to fulfill that call, he needed to live the very unique life of a Nazirite. From the time he was born, he was to abstain from the fruit of the vine, to never cut his hair, and to never come near a dead body. Sound extreme? It was. The vow of the Nazirite was to express one's special desire to draw close to God and to separate one's self from the comforts and pleasures of this world.
This was done in obedience to God. John’s life was in preparation to be the preparation for Jesus. And if he was going to be effective in that preparation—in preparing the way and preaching repentance—he would need to be pure. So more than any man had ever done before, John pursued purity and God in the desert, living on wild honey and locusts.
Then one day, God told him it was time—the Messiah was here! John’s message was clear—are you ready? Is your heart ready? The King is coming!
That message if for you today as well: Is your heart ready for the King who will come again? Are you holding on to sin? Repent and let it go. Prepare your heart to receive what Jesus has to give!
On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
announces that the Lord is nigh.
Awake and harken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings!
Then cleansed be every life from sin:
make straight the way for God within,
and let us all our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.
Centuries of significant prophecies are fulfilled in the first eleven verses of the Gospel of Mark. Two of the most influential men cross paths. Two influential ministries come to a crossroads. One man's ministry was ending. The other man's earthly ministry was just beginning. And to truly appreciate all that was happening in these few verses, we went back to the beginning—the the time when these two men were just babies in the womb.
Mark and Peter had failed, yet God called them and used their failure to form their future. He didn’t cause their failure or co-sign their failure, but He certainly used their failure for His glory—and our benefit!
He who has been forgiven much, loves much. Mark and Peter were increasingly aware of the forgiveness of Jesus—and so they increasingly learned to love Jesus with their lives. They learned to let their love for Jesus overrule and override their fear of man. And they grew in the grace of Jesus! Failure? Yes. Sinner? Yes. Called by Jesus? YES! AND equipped by Him along the way.
Jesus is calling all failures and sinners, foolish and forgotten, into His service to tell the world the good news of His kingdom. He became one of us, served us and loved us. He promised to never leave us or forsake us—no matter what the world has to throw at us.
Do you want to tell the world about Jesus? Do you want to be in the service of THE good news? God is calling you!
We hail you as our Savior, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward.
Without your grace we waste away
like flowers that wither and decay.
Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,
and make us rise to fall no more.
O let your face upon us shine
and fill the world with love divine.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends