The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 1D

Chapter 1:14-20

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  • Last week, we went into detail discussing Jesus’ inauguration at His baptism followed by Him being tempted in the wilderness.

    • We witnessed a theophany at the scene of Jesus’ baptism.

      • We read that the heavens split open, signifying a powerful moment demonstrating a mighty act of God.

      • God the Father verbally speaking – confirming and affirming His Son as being the Son of God and the Father was pleased with Him.

      • And lastly, we saw the Holy Spirit descending upon the Son and remaining with Him.

      • This was a sign which God gave John in preparation for His ministry, that the one in whom the Spirit would remain would be the One.

    • After Jesus’ inauguration, the Spirit impels Him into the wilderness where He would be tempted by the Devil in 3 ways:

      • The Lust of the Flesh

      • The Lust of the Eyes

      • And the boastful Pride of Life

    • Jesus overcoming these temptations demonstrated that He was in fact who He said He was.

      • Tonight, as we walk through verses 14-20, we will see not only how God operates in His timetable within human history,

      • But we will also witness that when God calls His disciples, there will be a response and with that response comes a cost.

      • With that being said, pick me up in verse 14 as we read the word of the Lord, together.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 
Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Mark 1:16 As He was going along the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will have you become fishers of people.” 
Mark 1:18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 
Mark 1:19 And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 
Mark 1:20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and went away to follow Him.
  • Let’s Pray

  • Growing up in the church, I would always hear the older church mothers say, “Baby, He may not come when you want Him to, but He’s always right on time”.

    • At that particular time, I never really understood what they meant, to which they would proceed by saying,

      • “Live a bit longer baby and one day you will see what we’re talking about”

    • Now as an adult, husband, and father, and having followed Christ a bit longer along this journey, I now see what they were talking about.

      • What they were saying, essentially, was we tend to want to put God on our own timetable, however, that is not how God works.

      • God’s plan and purposes work in conjunction with His timetable.

    • What we see as outcomes in our lives whether tragic or triumphant is all divinely allowed by God in order to surface about His plans and purposes.

      • Ultimately, as we lean into God’s working and willing in and around our lives, it becomes more and more apparent that, His ways are not our ways.

      • And His thoughts not our thoughts.

    • We must learn how to lean upon the sovereignty of God despite what it looks like or how we may feel.

      • If we trust God’s word, we can also trust His timing.

    • Tonight, we will have the opportunity to witness God’s redemptive timetable unfolding before our eyes.

      • These events that we will witness tonight, like a curtain to a play, will reveal both the message and mission of Christ.

      • With that being said let’s look at verses 14 and 15, together.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 
Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
  • We find ourselves at a bit of a transitioning point here in the text.

    • In our last teaching we went into detail regarding Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.

      • The results of that temptation were Christ demonstrating that He truly is the sinless, spotless one by overcoming sin and temptation.

      • In other words, where Adam failed in the garden, Christ succeeded in the wilderness, thereby being our new Adam.

    • From this point, verse 14 seems to propel us yet again to another significant moment within God’s redemptive timetable.

      • We see this reality based upon the start of verse 14.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 
  • Several questions may come to mind regarding these 2 verses:

    • 1. Why was John the Baptist arrested?

    • 2. What is the significance of timing regarding John’s arrest?

    • We will explore question 1 in more detail once we arrive to Mark 6. Tonight, we will explore question 2 regarding the significance of John’s arrest and its timing.

      • What is important to note for our study tonight in our current text, is that John’s arrest has set off a particular chain of events.

      • In other words, John’s arrest causes a domino effect that will spring Jesus’ Galilean ministry into full throttle.

    • We come to this conclusion based upon the Greek word for “taken into custody”.

      • The Greek word for “taken into custody” is paradidomi.

      • It means to be handed over or delivered to someone in which one has a relatively strong personal interest.

      • You also see this same word used when Judas hands Jesus over to the soldiers in exchange for money.

    • In the same way that Judas was serving in his own self-interest, we see Herod Antipas serving in the interest of his adulteress.

      • Again, we will dive into more details of this matter at a later date.

      • Know that the reasoning for John’s arrest is simple: He is speaking truth to power.

    • As one could imagine, this message of repentance was one of much internal conflict and crisis.

      • On one hand you are internally wrestling with what is pleasing to God versus what is pleasing to you.

      • Secondly it breeds crisis because you must face the reality of what will come of your rejection of that truth – divine eternal judgment.

      • How often is it that when we present Gospel truth to non-believers there is so much conflict and tension? Men don’t want the truth.

    • This conflict was realized within Herod Antipas as well as a few leaders of that day, one being Nicodemus.

      • Whenever one comes across truth, they are faced with one question: What are you going to do with what you know?

      • Absolute truth must be faced head on, and it will ultimately reveal where your heart is.

      • Some will respond in receiving Messiah and the Kingdom while others reject Him, His work, His message, and methods.

    • So we see that John being taken into custody was the gun-shot which lead to the next major event within God’s redemptive plan.

      • Think of this transition as a baton handoff of sorts.

    • If you have ever witnessed track runners getting prepared to pass the baton in a 4x100, the race is intense and the handoffs must be perfect.

      • If the baton is dropped in the race, that team forfeits the prize.

      • The goal is for clear handoffs given at the right time.

    • What Mark provides for us within this text is a clear handoff that the Father has divinely orchestrated from eternity’s past.

      • It isn’t by chance that right after Jesus overcomes the temptations of the enemy, that the devil tries to turn up the heat on God’s plan.

      • And what better way than to silence the forerunner of the Messiah.

    • As you can imagine, John the Baptist being handed over would have sparked concern around the region regarding this Messianic movement underway.

      • So in an effort to refrain from the dangers that came with knowing Jesus was Messiah, it required that He withdraw from the highly populated areas.

      • We must note that Jesus withdrawing back to Galilee wasn’t our King retreating with His tail tucked between His legs.

      • God within His sovereign plan has already provided a means to curtail the premature attempt to kill Jesus before His appointed time.

    • I find this to be extremely encouraging, because although Jesus’ very life is in jeopardy, He is still missionally focused on His Father’s work.

      • So, Jesus continues what He has already been doing – preaching His message: The gospel of God.

    • Many questions arise regarding this phrase:  The gospel of God

      • The word gospel here should not be confused with what we know as the gospel today which is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

      • This term that Mark documents is intricately connected with that of the phrase, “The Kingdom of God”

      • It simply points to the reality that this good news that is being preached comes from God.

      • God is the originator of the message while Jesus, Himself, is the content of the message.

      • And the results of believing in that content leads not only to eternal life but provides the believer with access to the coming Kingdom of God.

    • It is as if the call to start the scene has been made and the curtains are being open, and Christ stands at center stage before those who hear the message.

      • The spotlight now fades to Jesus on the Galilean stage as He steps up to announce His first line. Check out verse 15.

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
  • Mark documents Jesus stating these profound words: “The time is fulfilled”.

    • This phrase becomes a key within this section of the text and really within the entire sovereign plan of God.

      • This phrase in a way keeps the domino effect rolling to the next scene.

    • The word time in the Greek is kairos. It refers to “a particular moment in time that is so significant that it defines everything else that comes after it”.

      • The term kairos differs from the other Greek word for time referring to chronological order, kronos. Kronos is “a moment to moment passing of time”.

    • So when Jesus says “the time is fulfilled”, He is speaking to a significant moment in God’s redemptive plan within human history that displays God’s Kingdom.

      • That significant moment and display of God’s Kingdom on earth is found in the very person and work of Jesus Christ.

      • The King of Glory is literally standing before their very eyes.

    • The other word that Jesus uses here is fulfilled. That Greek word pleroo which means to make full.

    • If you can imagine a bowl of water being filled at your kitchen sink and as it is filling up, it approaches the brim until it spills over.

      • This is the picture that Mark presents for the reader regarding the Kingdom of God being near. The Kingdom is before them!

      • It will only be through and by receiving the message and the man that one will be able to receive this very Kingdom.

    • This kairotic reality has arrived and the only way that men and women can enter into this Kingdom is if they “repent and believe in the gospel.”

      • Remember, repentance is not feeling sorry for yourself or what you have done, but rather a change of mind, heart, and direction.

    • Right after repent, Jesus follows up by saying: “…and believe the gospel”

      • This word believe is the Greek word pisteuo. It means to put faith in something.

      • In other words, to consider something to be true and therefore it is worthy of one’s trust.

    • So not only are those who are to receive Messiah to turn from their old way of life and behavior, but they are to trust in Jesus as their Promised King.

      • In a way, this is how the Gospel works today. You come across the works of Jesus and His claims, He makes Himself known, and we are given the faith to believe.

      • There are only two responses to the Gospel message: It is either an overwhelming draw to the truth or an utter rejection of a Holy God.

    • We now find Jesus in the Galilee after withdrawing from the highly populated areas and back in familiar territory.

      • Let’s look at verses 16-18

Mark 1:16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 
Mark 1:18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 
  • Mark now fast forwards us to a familiar region along the Sea of Galilee.

    • The Sea of Galilee is a warm water lake about 7 miles wide, 13 miles long, and about 685 feet below sea level.

    • And it will be here where Jesus will extend the invitation for Simon and Andrew to follow Him as His disciples.

      • Keep in mind – Mark is very brief, so some details are omitted.

      • Matthew gives us a more accurate location as to where along the Galilee Jesus settles and eventually lives. Check out Matthew 4:13.

  Matthew 4:13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.
    • Here’s a map of the region in which Jesus withdrew upon receiving word of John being in custody. (Refer to slides)

    • Capernaum was a city on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.

      • It was considered a center for commerce.

      • Fishing and trade was extremely popular in this area and quite lucrative.

      • It was also a Roman tax polling station.

    • These 3 things alone provide geographical, social, and economic significance to why the Father would have Jesus be headquartered here in Capernaum.

      • This area would be highly frequented by Jews and Gentiles alike to hear the message of the Kingdom preached in their going out and coming in.

    • With so many great opportunities that would be presented to share the message, there was also a great risk of getting caught.

      • With Capernaum being a major Roman tax polling site, word of a Kingdom at hand other than the Roman Empire would have become a threat.

      • Whatever the case, the message of the Kingdom would go forth as now was the time to make it known to many.

    • Mark continues on by saying, “He (Jesus) saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea for they were fisherman.”

      • And Jesus poses the statement to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

      • Then verse 18 states, “and immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”

    • As my wife would say when things don’t seem to add up, “I got questions!”

      • Here we have two fisherman who according to their vocation itself are very business savvy, hard working men.

      • Simon and Andrew, as one could imagine, have been at this trade for years and are quite good at what they do.

      • It provides steady income, reasonable comfort for their daily and familial needs.

      • Yet, they drop everything to follow Jesus at His very summons to become His disciples.

    • The question that comes to mind is, “Why the sudden response?” Isn’t it a bit of an irrational decision?

      • These men don’t hesitate or think about what it is that they are about to get into, nor does it seem, from the text, that they have calculated the cost.

      • Or have they?

    • Before anyone makes a major decision in life, we typically go through the process of counting the cost.

      • Will this work for our family dynamic or will it hurt us?

    • When Pastor Steve called me to become the Associate Pastor of VBVF at that time, I considered it a high honor, but I had to count the cost.

      • Obviously as I consulted the Lord and my wife, we knew that although I had great opportunity to move up the ladder in Education that the work of the Kingdom was much greater.

      • There I was, within a year or so, being able to become a coordinator for our schools IB program. More money, more opportunity.

      • And on the other hand, there is this uncontrollable drawing to move towards the things that I knew God was calling me to for His Glory.

    • It was evident from the ministry that I saw God accomplishing through VBVMI and VBVF that I had to participate in what God was doing both locally and globally in the Gospel to go forth.

      • So within my own particular imagination I can only fathom that Andrew and Peter had seen or experienced for themselves, personally, who Jesus was and what He could do.

      • And it becomes evident through John’s Gospel that even prior to Andrew and Simon being called that they have had the opportunity to follow and see for themselves who Jesus was.

    • We see this first encounter of Jesus’ first disciples in John 1:35-42.

      • Interestingly enough, prior to Andrew becoming a follower of Jesus, he was a disciple of John the Baptist.

      • It was through John’s witness, saying “Behold the Lamb of God!” that Andrew is introduced to Jesus, personally.

      • It was at this point that John’s two disciples, one of whom was Andrew, began to follow Jesus.

    • Jesus sees that John’s previous disciples are now following Him and He asks them a powerful question, “What are you seeking?”

      • In response to Jesus’ question they respond “Rabbi (which means teacher) where are you staying?”

    • John and Andrew addressing Jesus as Rabbi, demonstrated something far beyond Jesus being a teacher.

      • It demonstrated their expectation of Jesus being able to perfectly interpret the Law of God.

      • This in turn revealed a desire for them to submit themselves to Christ’s teachings

    • Secondly, John and Andrew asking where Jesus was staying was not simply a matter of interest on his physical place of rest, but rather it demonstrated interest for them to become his disciples and submit themselves to His authority.

      • In other words, Lord where you go, I will go. What you teach I will do.

      • There is this complete commitment to His Messiahship and commitment to this coming Kingdom.

      • And Jesus’ response to them is so overwhelming! He says “Come and ye shall see”

    • Here is this beautiful invitation to get a taste of what it will look like to follow Jesus and be under His rule.

      • Andrew grabs the divine bait here – pun intended.

    • And with any good news, you can’t keep it to yourself. Andrew is moved to share this news with his brother Simon.

      • And might this be a pattern by which men come to know Jesus personally themselves, through the evangelism of a friend or family member.

      • Check out what Andrew tells his brother, Simon Peter: John 1:41-42.

John 1:41 He first *found his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 
John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
  • The question that might be generated by some is, why the differentiation of the calling of Jesus’ disciples throughout the gospels?

    • Why isn’t there a consistent chronological log of them being called in all the Gospel accounts? We must keep in mind 2 things at best:

      • The audience

      • The author

    • Each Gospel account will vary by author but will bring to life a more complete picture of the events, timing, and impact amongst the people and Jesus.

    • It’s like an old school projector from grade school back in the day that had the transparent sheets.

      • Every sheet was necessary, and all were needed to work together to show the big picture.

      • This situation is no different. The Gospels speak to one single message yet emphasize a particular point in each book which demonstrates another dimension of the person and power of Jesus.

      • With that in mind, watch how Luke’s account fills the gaps as to how Jesus recruits Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

      • Turn with me to Luke 5:1-11.

Luke 5:1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;
Luke 5:2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 
Luke 5:3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little distance from the land. And He sat down and continued teaching the crowds from the boat. 
Luke 5:4 Now when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 
Luke 5:5 Simon responded and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 
Luke 5:6 And when they had done this, they caught a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to tear; 
Luke 5:7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, to the point that they were sinking. 
Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 
Luke 5:9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 
Luke 5:10 and likewise also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear; from now on you will be catching people.” 
Luke 5:11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
  • Luke’s account shows us that Simon Peter’s and Andrew’s partners were James and John, the Sons of Zebedee.

    • Luke’s account indicates this happening within a similar timeframe.

    • Now let's examine Mark’s gospel verses 19 and 20 of Chapter 1.

Mark 1:19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets.
Mark 1:20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
  • Both accounts report an immediate following of Jesus by means of a mighty demonstration of His power!

    • Friends, this is the beauty of God through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

      • This shows us several things regarding Jesus as the King and His Kingdom drawing near:

      • Here are a few observations we can see.

    • 1. It confirms for us that Jesus is a gatherer. He calls those in whom the Father has chosen for Him to draw.

      • This completely destroys the thought that somehow we can come to know Christ in our own strength.

      • The text lets us know that Jesus both saw them and called them, right where they were.

      • What a humbling reality, that Jesus sees our condition, He knows right where we are. He sees us in our comfort, yet He calls us to inconvenience.

      • Knowing that what will be impossible for us will be possible for Him.

    • 2. In the words of Dr. Steve Lawson: The Gospel demands a verdict

      • You can’t come across the claims of Jesus or His power and not come to a conclusion.

      • He is either going to be Master and Lord of all, or nothing at all.

      • And as we see with Peter’s response he responds in fear.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
  • 3. There is a cost for following Jesus.

    • You cannot remain in your comfort and still follow Christ.

    • It cost these men something great. Remember, fishing was how food and finances were provided for these men.

    • Now they are being called to trust in the provision of Jesus for their every need.

    • Rather than the comforts of their lives resting upon the thrones of their hearts, King Jesus would sit upon the throne and rule.

    • Their very will, desires, and beings, would belong to Christ in total allegiance.

    • A Gospel that doesn’t cost you something is a gospel that carries no weight and is empty.

    • Friends it cost Jesus everything, so how dare we think that it won’t cost us something.

    • 4. Jesus gathers on His account and not our merit or lack thereof.

      • Peter demonstrates humility by asking Jesus to depart from Him because Peter recognizes that holiness and sinfulness require distance.

      • Yet Jesus is willing and wanting to draw near.

    • Lastly, we don’t want to overlook the method in which Jesus calls His disciples.

      • It was unheard of for a Rabbi to pursue and recruit students to their school.

      • Typically, the students would request to follow the Rabbi by means of qualifications.

    • It’s like how individuals seek to enter into an Ivy League school.

      • You provide your accomplishments and skills.

      • Your grades and SAT/ACT scores.

      • You provide them with what hobbies you do and activities you participate in.

      • All of this is submitted to validate you as a future candidate worthy to be accepted within the school.

    • Rabbis of that day followed similar thought, however this was not the case for Jesus.

      • He completely turned this approach right side up.

    • Rather than going for the most scholarly man to follow Him or the most skilled in the Law, Jesus goes for 4 fishermen with no scholarly bent.

      • Jesus chose the most unqualified men to follow Him.

      • Yet again this demonstrates the Kingdom of God. It emphasizes who is the one that has the ability to make men and women whole.

    • Lastly, I would like to point out Jesus’ statement to His first four disciples:

      • He tells them: “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

      • This is not merely Jesus suggesting that they follow if they so choose. This is a summons.

    • Jesus says, “I will make you become”.

      • Notice, the onus is not on you or I to make yourself become a fisher of men but that Jesus will make you become fishers of men.

      • The Greek word for make is poieo. It means to produce or to cause.

    • In other words, the agent who is calling men to follow is the only one that can make them or produce within them the ability to make disciples.

      • By simply following and learning from Jesus, is how these disciples will come to know how to truly take dead men and women and make them alive.

      • These men will be called to service as they demonstrate great sacrifice.

    • As Deitrich Bonhoeffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship said: “When Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die."

      • This risk that these men will take will not just be a vocational risk, but it will be a physical risk.

    • Jesus summoned His disciples to join Him in dying, in a way. They would die to their old ways of life and living while Jesus would die on the cross so that those who would follow Him could have power to overcome through Him.

      • I pray you join us next week as we will witness Jesus teaching and demonstrating His power with astonishing authority.

      • Let's Pray.



  • James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002)