Mark: 1:16-20 | Follow Me

May 31, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

Watch The Online Sermon: 

What does it look like to make decisions that go against common sense? In today’s message, we learn that Jesus calls this “obedience.” Pastor Dustin Daniels teaches how following Jesus is a command to leave everything you’ve ever known. It goes against our common sense, our life experiences and turns our world upside down.

Listen to the Live Sunday Sermon:

Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark: 1:16-20 | Follow Me
June 28, 2020

Last week we heard Jesus preach His first sermon, and that His sermon was only one sentence long.

I think some of you guys got a little too excited about that!

We learned that God, the Father, had a specific time for Jesus to start preaching His gospel message.

We learned that Jesus’ original gospel message is slightly different than the one we preach today.

We focused a lot on the Kingdom of God and how important God’s kingdom–His reign is in our lives.

Lastly, we looked at the words of Jesus’ first sermon,

“Repent, and believe the Good News.”

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:16-20

Mark 1:16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. (NLT)

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (ESV)

Mark 1:18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (CSB)

Mark 1:19 A little farther up the shore, Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. (NLT)

Mark 1:20 Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

This is the Word of our Lord, Amen.

Father, today we have a front-row seat to see how Jesus called men to be disciples. There is a lot going on in these four verses, and I pray that you would call us, exactly where we are to either be disciples or disciple-makers today.

In Christ’s name. Amen.

EXEGESIS: Mark 1:16-20

Mark 1:16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. (NLT)

The Sea of Galilee was the center of the Jewish fishing industry.

The Sea of Galilee is not a sea; it’s a large-harp-shaped freshwater lake.

It’s gone by many names in the past.

The most familiar names in Scripture are Sea of Chinnereth,

Lake of Gennesaret, (Gen-es-er-et) and the Sea of Tiberias. All the same lake.

The Sea of Galilee had at least sixteen harbors, with hundreds of fishing boats.

So, fishing is a big business.

It’s also a family business.

Back to verse 16:

… He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water,

The Jews used several different types of nets.

In the daylight, these nets were visible to the fish, so they had to fish at night.

And that’s what we see here; these fishermen are ending their workday.

So Jesus is walking the shore, very early in the morning, probably just after the sun begins to rise.

We see Jesus doing what other Rabbi’s did; they taught wherever they could.

They went out where the people are.

We get a lot more detail from the gospel of Luke.

Luke 5:1
One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him as they listened to God’s word. (GW)

Jesus is preaching, and the crowd is getting bigger and bigger, and pretty soon, Jesus is finding Himself ankle-deep in the water with nowhere else to go.

Luke 5:2
He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. (NLT)

Luke 5:3
So Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowd from the boat. (GW)

This means that all the fishermen were listening to Jesus’ sermon as well.

Have you ever noticed that water carries sound really well?

There’s no need for a microphone. Everyone can hear Jesus.

After Jesus gets done preaching,

Luke 5:4
… He said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” (NLT)

Now at this point, if you were there, you could hear all the professional fishermen laughing.

Luke 5:5
Simon answered, “Teacher, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. 

The subtle insinuation here— and that is, Peter knows a lot more about fishing than this new Rabbai on the scene.

Peter’s experience over the years taught him fishing during the day— would be a complete waste of time.

Think about it. If they couldn’t catch fish at night where the fish couldn’t see the nets,

they’re definitely not going to catch any fish after dawn, especially when it gets warm.

When the sun hits the water, the fish go where it’s too deep for the nets to reach them.

Notice what happens here; all the professional fishermen are looking at Peter, knowing how tired he is—he’d bee fishing all night.

They know he’s frustrated—all that work and didn’t make a dime.

But he has the crowd looking at him. Is Peter going to be respectful to the Rabbi?

Luke 5:5
But if you say so, I’ll lower the nets.” (GW)

Peter obeyed. He went against everything he’s always known to be true.

In other words, his obedience came before an understanding of what was going on.

What happens next?

Luke 5:6
And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!

Peter expected the same old thing that he’s always got.

He’s caught off guard.

Luke 5:7
A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. (NLT)

What’s going through Peter’s mind? Chaos. Joy. Chaos.

His world just got turned upside down.

Peter and Andrew are professional fishermen. His partners, James and John, professional fishermen.

James and John’s father, Zebedee, was a professional fisherman.

This is a family business. They know all there is to know about fishing.

They’ve been doing it every day, day in day out.

They catch fish, or they don’t eat.

So Peter, Andrew, James, John, Zebedee, and a few hired hands are all freaking out and scrambling not to lose these fish.

Payday has arrived!

And amid this chaos, after things settle down for a second,

Luke 5:8
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (NIV)

Remember, Jesus is still in one of the boats with Peter.

Key Point:
Peter recognizes Jesus’ supernatural authority over nature.

Peter knew that fish don’t swim blindly into nets with that much ease.

Peter just witnessed God at work with his own two eyes.

The Kingdom of God is near.

Stay with me.

Peter was no stranger to Jesus. This is not the first time Peter has seen Jesus.

In John 1:35–42, Andrew was with John the Baptist when John pointed to Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36).

Andrew spends the day with Jesus; he then goes and finds Peter, who then meets Jesus for the first time. (vv. 40–42).

Since that first introduction, a month or so could likely have passed by.

There certainly could have been more interactions between Jesus and Peter that are not in Scripture.

Regardless, here we have Peter listening to Jesus preach.

Remember Jesus’s message from last week?

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.”

Jesus is preaching the gospel about Himself, telling the Jewish people that He is their Messiah.

And then we see Peter do this. Back to verse 8.

Luke 5:8
… Peter fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (NIV)

Peter is saying, “you don’t want to be around me.”

I’m a terrible influence on people.

I know what goes through my head, and you would be shocked if I told you.

I don’t do the good things I want to do—

And the bad things I want to stay away from, I do those anyway—in fact, I enjoy them—-even though I know I shouldn’t.

You’re holy, and I’m not.

Those two things don’t go together.

Did Jesus listen to Peter? Did Jesus leave Peter’s presence?

No, let’s pick it back up now in Mark chapter 1…

Mark 1:17  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (ESV)

Jesus does the very opposite.

He calls these men into full-time discipleship.

… “Follow Me,”

This was not an invitation or a request. It’s a command.

We don’t see Andrew saying, “Jesus, can you tell me where we’re going?”

We don’t see Peter asking, “Jesus, what are we going to be doing specifically? Do you have like a three-year strategic plan that I can review, think about, and pray on before I say yes?

… “Follow me,”

Other rabbis instructed people to follow their legalistic traditions.

Jesus, on the other hand, commanded these men to follow Him.

And He did so with the authority of a miracle behind him.

No, other Rabbi, Scribe, or Pharisee had this kind of power. (cf. Mark 1:22).

The implications of His command were unmistakable: Abandon everything, including your careers as fishermen, and follow Me.

This is so uncharacteristic of the traditional Rabbi/student relationship.

1) Entry into a rabbinical school was all up to the student, not the rabbi.

2) The students were to be loyal to the Torah, not the rabbi.

In the OT, the idea of “following God” is rare.

They were to walk in God’s ways and according to his statutes.

But Jesus calls these meant to Himself. 

Jesus doesn’t give them theology test or ask if they memorized all the laws in the OT…and aren’t you glad?

Do you like the wordplay of Jesus?—He turns fishermen into “fishers of men.”

So what did Peter and Andrew do?

Mark 1:18  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (CSB)

And the same thing happened in verses 19 and 20.

These four fishermen did precisely what Jesus expected people to do when they heard the gospel: repent and believe.

They turned away from what they were doing— and embraced what God is doing.

Wait a second, time out:

Doesn’t Jesus know that you can’t make blue-collar workers into apostles?

Shouldn’t someone tell Jesus that you can’t make the founders of the Church from fishermen of Galilee?

Shouldn’t Jesus examine resumes form the Jerusalem Seminary?

Doesn’t it make more sense to interview students that are graduating with honors?

Shouldn’t he be interviewing the best and the brightest?

Why is he messing around with smelly, dirty fishermen?

Ahh, Jesus is doing a new thing.

Jesus is turning the world upside down by breaking down religious barriers and walls that were never meant to be.

Jesus is introducing grace.

He is making people the priority—not the law, not so-called good deeds.

People who trust their good deeds to get them in Heaven are deathly mistaken.

And as we read the rest of Mark together verse by verse, we’ll see how everybody was so excited, and how the religious leaders were so enthusiastic about this new concept from Jesus— grace.

Is that what happened?

Nooo. The religious people hated anything new.

Why? Because it’s easier to hang on to tradition.

As humans, we prefer our routines.

We like god-in-a-box, thank you very much.

It gives us the illusion of control.

So we fast forward to today, and it seems that Jesus is also doing something new.

This COVID crisis has had us locked down in our homes for the past two months.

My observation is that Jesus is doing something new.

God is on the move…

And here’s the kicker—not many people like it.

Many people can’t see God at work because they’re too focused on themselves.

And then we enter a painful circumstance in our lives, we try to change the circumstance.

Usually we’re met with resistance, and that just makes us focus more on ourselves.

We miss the whole point all together, because you don’t have the capacity to change the circumstance.

God is trying to change you.

Galatians 5:19
strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,  envy,

Sounds familiar.

Last week was a tough week for us.  There were a few people who made it difficult for many of us.

It’s interesting that I quoted Oswald Chambers last week. It’s worthy hearing again:

God allows things for His purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better and more noble…or they are making us more critical, fault finding, and more insistent on our own way.

Make no doubt about it. God is on the move, and He is using COVID to usher in the Kingdom of God.

The issue is not whether you choose to wear a mask or not wear a mask.

God is unmasking some deep seated issues in our hearts right now.

Are you going to Follow Jesus’ instructions even when you don’t understand Him

Or don’t agree with Him.

Are you going to follow Jesus?

Most of the time, we choose to obey that command only when it makes sense to us, or if we actually agree it.

Jesus says “Follow Me” regardless of your common sense.

“Follow Me” regardless of your confusion and anger.

Charles Spurgeon said this…

Jesus says, “Follow Me, I will make you fishers of men;” but if you go in your own way, with your own net, you will make nothing of it, and the Lord promises you no help in it. The Lord’s directions make Himself our leader and example. It is, “Follow Me, follow Me. Preach My gospel. Preach what I preached. Teach what I taught, and keep to that.” Your ambition it is to be a copyist, and never to be an original, copy Christ even in jots and tittles. Do this, and He will make you fishers of men; but if you do not do this, you shall fish in vain.

So we have a choice before us as we get ready to come back together from COVID.

We have a choice, don’t we?

“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

Or we can fish in vain.

Lord Jesus, we thank you and praise you and honor you for turning our world upside down right now through COVID. Thank you for shattering the illusion of control that we think we have over our life.

Thank you for poking and prodding and making us aware of some deep-seated issues that we need to deal with in our lives. Thank you for showing us that there is not a day in our lives where we don’t need to repent from our sins.

Thank you for the privilege of following You.

In Jesus Name Amen.

 Tithes and Offerings:

Philip Nache came from Nigeria, Africa, to the United States to attend seminary. When he visited Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota, he realized many Africans were there – more than 100,000 immigrants and refugees. But there were few churches for them. “They were like a sheep without a shepherd,” he said.

So Philip and his wife, moved to the Twin Cities in 2015 and planted Hope of Nations Gospel Church.

So Phillip started teaching classes that trained Africans in how to plant churches. One man he trained returned to South Sudan to plant churches – home and overseas missions!

A portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries like Philip all over the world.

We now have three ways to give:

  1. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  2. Online via our website at
  3. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

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

Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

Connect With Us

Fill out our digital connection card to let us know how this sermon affected you or to inform us on how to pray for you.