Early in Mark’s gospel, we read a very matter-of-fact account of Jesus calling His first disciples:
As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Mark 1:16-18)
From that day forward, the world was never the same. Only Jesus Himself could have known the global impact His disciples would come to have in accepting this simple invitation.
It’s fair to ask, however, what this command from long ago has to do with us today. There are two major implications for us here and now, and together they make up a central value of Harvest Church.
First, every Christian is a direct beneficiary of this call to disciple-making. No one comes to faith in Jesus by way of spiritual intuition or moral achievement. The only means God ordained for receiving His grace was to be caught. Like a fish. This means that someone told you the good news about Jesus. At the very least you listened to a sermon, or you were given a bible or a Christian book, but somebody caught you, and God set it up this way:
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15)
Second, as Paul writes in Romans, this call to fish for people is a perpetual work of Jesus’ followers. If Jesus had intended it only for His original disciples, it would have remained localized and died out fairly quickly. The invitation, however, is intended for everyone who has come to faith in Christ. It has been very helpful for me to consider Mark 1:17 again, but in three parts:
This is the call of Jesus for everyone who trusts in Him. We don’t merely receive the gift of His grace and go on our way. Rather, we commit our lives to Him entirely.
“I will make you become”
The Christian life is a constant becoming. To follow Jesus is to receive His transforming grace, which brings us into ongoing conformity with His purposes for our lives. We participate in this process, of course, but it is driven primarily by God’s Spirit within us. In short, Jesus will make you something you otherwise could never be.
“fishers of men”
This is the goal for what we are becoming in Christ: those who go from being fish to becoming fishermen! There is really no higher calling than to represent Jesus and His mission by replicating the work that He gave His disciples to do.
All of this can be summed up in our church’s second defining value: Faith Multiplies. In salvation, Jesus brings us in, but then joyfully sends us back out again to multiply in others the great work He has done in us. “Just as the Father has sent Me,” Jesus said, “I also send you” (John 20:21).
At Harvest Church, we believe a life of faith always multiplies, creating generations of people who have been discipled through loving and intentional relationships.
For further study on this essential value, please see the following scriptures: Matthew 28:16-20; John 17-20; Acts 1:1-8; Acts 2:42-47 (in fact, the entire book of Acts reflects this value!); 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 4:11- 16; Philippians 2:1-2; Colossians 1:3-8; 2 Timothy 2:2