“And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” – Mark 1:18 ESV
Last week’s message from Mark 1:1-11 was a challenge for all of us to behold the Son of God! Mark’s presentation of Jesus is given to us in a concise, yet powerful and anticipatory way, complete with the previews leading up to his appearance, namely the Old Testament prophets and the herald, John the Baptist. Jesus then appears and is baptized, and given a divine commendation from above. Everything in history points to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We are created to look to Jesus.
We can spend weeks unpacking what it means to behold the Son of God, but Mark moves us right a long in typical fashion, giving us three more “clips” of the “docudrama” of Jesus’ life in verses 12-20. Here we see brief accounts of the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness, the Beginning of Jesus’ Public Ministry, and the Calling of the First Disciples.
These narratives give us more insight into what it means to behold the Son of God, and its implications. While Jesus Christ is no doubt worthy of our adoration, we are also called to live out our worship of him in our everyday lives. In other words, following the Son is the natural outgrowth of beholding the Son.
Jesus did not linger in the waters of baptism, basking in the glory of the God; rather, after his Spirit-anointing, he was taken by that same Spirit to be tempted. Here we find another truth: if we wish to follow the Son, we must follow him through the trials.
Christ is seeking people to follow him. In verses 16-20, he calls the first disciples. He tells them that they will become “fishers of men,” indicating that he calls people to follow him in order that more people would follow him. The disciples’ response is an example for all of us who have beheld the Son: “immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
This willingness to forsake all and follow the Son even through trials is not something that comes from within. Our intellects would not allow it. We are too in love with sin and the world to let go of these things to follow Jesus. So, then, where does this willingness come from? The answer comes to us in the middle passage, verses 14-15. Here, Mark is careful to point out that the very first, and therefore most prominent words of Jesus’ public ministry are, “The kingdom of God is here. Repent and believe the gospel.”
Sinners are called to behold and follow the Son of God. We must repent of our sins and our attraction to the world, and believe in the good news that Jesus brings to the world. In doing so, God gives us a new nature that is willing to follow the Son of God, wherever he may go.