Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Mark 1:16–20

Mark 1:16–20 (ESV): Jesus Calls the First Disciples


In this passage Jesus passes the Sea of Galilee where he sees Simon and Andrew—brothers—who are fishing. He tells them to follow him and he will make them “fishers of men” (verse 17 (ESV)), so they leave their jobs and follow him to be his disciples. He then comes across James and John, also fishermen (and brothers), and calls them as well. They leave behind their father and his servants and also follow Jesus.


This is a pretty short passage, and one about which I have little to say. (I’m 90% sure that’s proper grammar, and 95% sure it’s awkwardly worded.) The only thing I note is that when Jesus calls his disciples he purposely does not call them from the religious elite; Jesus doesn’t choose Pharisees or rabbis to be his disciples, but ordinary Jewish laypeople. That doesn’t mean that all of the disciples were poor—we note here that James and John’s family business included servants, which means that they were probably doing pretty well—but it does mean that they weren’t religious leaders. I’m sure that the religious leaders of the time would have assumed that a Messiah would include them as his disciples, rather than laypeople.

That’s not to say that Jesus couldn’t have changed the hearts of the religious leaders too, if he’d wanted to; we immediately think of Paul, who was a Pharisee and went on to write a good portion of the New Testament. I’d argue that Paul’s thorough understanding of the old covenant made him uniquely able to understand the new covenant even better. But for the men Jesus chose to be his closest disciples, he wanted laypeople, not religious leaders.

No comments: