Jesus calls His disciples

TEXT: Mark 1:14-19

Jesus begins his ministry, following a water baptism by John the Baptist, a spiritual baptism by the Holy Spirit and 40 days of temptations in the wilderness.

John the Baptist, meanwhile, is cast into prison, and as his ministry becomes lesser, Jesus' ministry becomes greater.

It is important to note that who is called first to be Jesus' disciples is less important than the fact that God, who could have done everything himself, chose to "partner" with man to spread the Gospel. We should also note that many disciples were called by Jesus, but few were chosen to be part of His inner circle - there were, in fact, 12 disciples chosen for that honor - just as there are 12 tribes of Israel (and yes, 12 baskets full of fish left over after Jesus and his 12 disciples fed the multitude in Mark 6:43 ... but the number "12" is another study).

WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE?

If there is one thing we can get out of this passage in Mark it's that who we think we are is who we say we are.

It can also be said that, for us to reach our full potential in Christ, who we say we are must match who God says we are.

Take Simon Peter, for example.

In Mark 1:17, we see that Simon (and his brother, Andrew) saw themselves as fishermen - but Jesus saw them as "fishers of men."  We tend to see ourselves from the earthly point of view, but God sees who we can be spiritually.

In Luke 5:4-7, we see the miracle of the fishes. Peter, who toiled all night to catch fish saw only saw empty nets, but Jesus saw an abundance of fish. In Luke 5:8-10, Peter sees himself as a sinful man, but Jesus saw a soul winner.

In John 1:41, when Peter came to Jesus, he was called Simon, son of Jona. But Jesus saw Peter as Cephas - a rock, and a foundation of the church.

Note that, when we meet Jesus, he changes our identity - Peter went from "fisherman" to "rock". And Jesus gives us the power to become who He says we are - just as God did with Gideon in Judges, chapters 6-8. When Gideon first met God, he was weak, and thought of himself as weak, poor and unqualified. But God told Gideon he was "a mighty man of valor" (Judges 6:12) and that he would save Israel because He was with Gideon (Judges 6:14).

CHANGING OUR 'WORLD VIEW'

Note, too, that in order for Peter and Gideon to become who God said they were, that they had to change their thinking and what they were saying about themselves and their relationship with God.

For that to materialize in "their world" of self, they would need to believe God, rather than believing what their minds were thinking and their mouths were speaking before they met God. Here, we see a practical example of Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance [ assurance ] of things hoped for, the evidence [ a conviction ] of things not seen."

Thus, they needed to see a materialization of a faith that would believe that what God had said about them spiritually would come  to pass in their current reality, thus replacing their reality with God's reality.  They would need to have an assurance that what God had spoken could come to pass into their "worlds", with a conviction that what did not yet exist COULD exist. Otherwise, they could not have become what God wanted them to be.

RE-CREATING YOUR WORLD

Put more plainly, Peter and Gideon needed to "re-create" their "worlds."

Hebrews 11:3 is the key. (The words in parentheses below are for (clarification)).

"Through faith (which is what Peter and Gideon needed to believe that they would become who God said they were) we understand that the worlds (the whole universe, including the Earth we stand upon) were framed by (built upon the underlying structure of) the (spoken) word  of God (see also John 1:1-3, where we see the spoken word made flesh) so that things which are seen (the visible universe) were not made of (created from or by) things (the substances) which do appear."

THE POWER OF CREATION

A final thought about faith  is due here. A scientist is not likely to tell you how the universe in spiritual terms, but in physical terms - that the universe was created by a "Big Bang." He bases that on what he has seen in the heavens all around us. He has determined that it is possible for us to look back into the creation of the universe with his methods of observations, and says he can even prove that the universe is expanding. And now scientists are working on a "theory of everything," which has, as its goal, the explanation of - well -  everything (more here; and, of course, here).

But, if Hebrews 11:3 is correct, the physical things we see were made by the spoken word of God, and within those words was the power to create something from nothing. Those words also contained whatever was necessary to create the known and unknown universe, even if that meant creating what scientists call the "laws of physics" and other laws too ensure that what God spoke came to pass (see also Isaiah 55:11).

Further, once God spoke, something had to happen - and it caused an explosion of activity. God, it has been said, thus "stepped out onto the edge of nothing and said, "Let there be ...".

Christians today do the same thing when they, in faith, step out onto the edge of nothing and, with the words that God has given us, speak into existence God's "something" from our "nothing".

We are made in God's image. And, if He creates, why don't we?

WHO DO WE SAY WE ARE?

What can we say, then? Well, first, we ARE who we THINK we are (REFERENCE: Proverbs 23:7). Expounding on that thought, we can also say that we are, then, who we SAY we are, because we have first THOUGHT about it.

We are created in God's image. When He created the universe, God first THOUGHT it and then SPOKE it. Nothing was CREATED until thought and word matched. In short, everything God has created uses the same pattern: Thought, word, creation. The word activates everything. Not until the word is spoken is anything created.

So, our "creation" pattern is the same as our Creator: What we think is what we say, and what we say creates what we say. We must now ask ourselves, "What have I created?" Further, we must also ask, "Does my creation agree with the way God says He sees me?"

MATCHING OUR VIEW WITH GOD'S

How do we reconcile who we say we are with who God says we are? It's simple - first, change your thinking and, second, say your changed thinking. Our words follow our thoughts - we must first think a thing before we say a thing. Our "creation" is birthed in our mind, flows out through our mouth and is then created when it is spoken aloud. Our words are the evidence (substance, assurance, witness) of what we have been thinking.

We must, then, learn to think like Christ. How? By putting on the mind of Christ (REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 2:16).

"Having the mind of Christ means we understand God’s plan in the world—to bring glory to Himself, restore creation to its original splendor, and provide salvation for sinners. It means we identify with Christ’s purpose “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). It means we share Jesus’ perspective of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5-8), compassion (Matthew 9:36), and prayerful dependence on God (Luke 5:16)."

(Source: gotquestions.org)

REALIZING OUR POTENTIAL

When the Lord sees us, He sees who we can become, not just who we are.  We must learn to always see ourselves through His eyes. How do we do that? Through prayer, reading the Bible, thinking as He does (with His mind), talking as He does (with His words), and listening to the Holy Spirit (acting on those words).

We, therefore, BECOME who the Lord says we are when we tap into the mind of Christ to allow us to BELIEVE it, so we can THINK it - which will allow us to CREATE it when we SAY it.

LEVI

The last named disciple we see called by Jesus is Levi, also known as Matthew. Other disciples were also called before Jesus was finished, and from all the ones called, Jesus selected 12 to be his inner-circle disciples

Levi (Matthew) was one of those, and we will deal with his calling, and the circumstances surrounding his calling separately in "Jesus calls Levi (Matthew)."