I recently read an interesting book: Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst. I thought it would be perfect for my friend and purchased the book with the intention of giving it to her. However, I wanted to preview it first (generally a good plan). As I read this thoughtful glimpse into God’s call to the “rejected,” my mindset quickly changed from, “Oh, this will be great for my friend” to “Wow—this really applies to me, my life, my hurts, and need for a Savior that invites, seeks and chooses the lonely, forgotten and outcast.”
In gospel writer Mark’s account of Jesus’ life he begins his story with a short recap of history and the ancient prophets’ predictions that God was coming to visit the earth. First a messenger (John the Baptist) would arrive and then God himself would appear. Mark writes that God did arrive in the form of his son, Jesus. And what was one of Jesus’ first orders of business? He issued an invitation.
Jesus didn’t hand deliver his invitation to the big-wigs of the day. Nor was his first stop to the prosperous cities, ruler’s palaces, or to confer with prestigious religious leaders. Instead he started walking through the countryside of Galilee, spending time in the small towns and fishing villages. He purposefully set out to meet the everyday person, the unnoticed person, the person of little value to the movers and shakers of society except as a means of extorting money or goods. He met with the person burdened by high taxes, long work hours, and the struggle to make ends meet.
He noticed this person, sought them out, sat down next to them and shared God's good news. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (vv. 14–15)!
As he walked by the shore of the Sea of Galilee he spotted some fishermen. They were in their boats, casting out their heavy nets, working hard, sweaty, and stinking of fish. And this is where Jesus, God’s son in human form, decided to issue his invitation and choose his first disciples. He stopped at the water’s edge and yelled out, “Come, follow me” (v. 17).
They must have been astonished. They had already met Jesus as he traveled through their hometown. They knew he had a special message he simply called, “the good news of God.” John the Baptist told them that Jesus was sent by God (John 1:18) and they were beginning to believe that it was true. Then an even more wondrous event occurred. Jesus stood at the edge of their watery world and invited them: “Come, follow me.”
But that wasn’t all. He qualified his invitation. “And I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus’ ministry was beginning. And it began with a desire to reach out to the lost, or in Lisa TerKeurst’s words, the “less than, left out and lonely.” And the fishermen did not hesitate in their response. They dropped their nets, left their boats, and followed him.
Part IV of Mark’s Story.
Photo’s courtesy of pixabay.com.