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February 27, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’ As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”—Mark 1:14–20 (NIV)
Have you or someone you know ever been lured away by a better offer? It happens a lot in sports. A free agent gets an offer from another team with a better opportunity, more money, the chance to play for a championship, and boom . . . that player leaves behind his old team.
I think of Hulk Hogan, the face of WWE (formerly WWF) for over a decade being lured away to WCW (the now-defunct competition) for more money, creative control, and the promise of TV and movie deals, and up-and-coming Boston Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein, when he resigned to become the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. This not only happens in corporate structures, but also in the church.
In today’s passage, we find out that not too long after Jesus’ baptism, John the Baptist is imprisoned by Herod. And right around this time, Jesus begins His public ministry going into Galilee and proclaiming, “The time has come. . . . The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
His words were full of truth that were not fully understood at the time. What truth? The nearness of the kingdom! You see, Jesus, the Son of God, brought the kingdom of God to earth. He, the eternal Word, became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14) in order to make His dwelling within us. He had drawn near to save us, redeem us, and restore us. That is the good news!
While He was proclaiming this good news, He happened upon two sets of brothers—Peter and Andrew; James and John. And in both cases, these men were lured away from their previous jobs and former lives for a better offer to follow Jesus and become fishers of men!
Now, I want you to understand something: The better offer wasn’t—and isn’t—the fishers of men part. Yes, that aspect is amazing and wonderful for sure—to be used by God to proclaim the message of Christ and make disciples is the greatest honor and responsibility we have. However, it’s not the better offer. It’s an added benefit, a bonus, the cherry on top.
The better offer is we get to follow Jesus! By responding to His offer, He gets us and we get Him. Christ is in us, with us, and for us! We get an eternal relationship with the God who loved us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice for us!
Have you accepted Jesus’ offer? And if you have, how often are you casting that gospel net into your sphere of influence?
PAUSE: What made Jesus’ offer such a good one, to the point that these men left behind the lives they had always known?
PRACTICE: Today, cast your net in some way. Share on social media what God is doing in your life. Post a verse that shares the message of the gospel and invite anyone who has questions to message you. Evangelize to someone by sharing your story with a friend or coworker. Do some fishing!
PRAY: Father, help me be an effective fisher of people. Give me Spirit-led wisdom and courage, give me open eyes and ears to see opportunities to proclaim the gospel, and open doors so I can share Your message. Amen.