"And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him." (Mark 1:18)
We hear a lot about discipleship these days. Churches have discipleship classes and sponsor conferences on discipleship. Also a number of books have been written on discipleship. Here in our verse is a concise and excellent statement about discipleship. There are three factors that are vital in discipleship. The first factor is Fervency. The text says it was "Straightway." This word means to do something immediately. If you are going to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ you must be diligent not slow. Discipleship requires promptness in doing your duty. When you possess fervency (intensity) in your actions you do not procrastinate. It was at this past week’s Bible study that someone said that procrastination was a wall that could cause division in the church. Sad but true! Responsible discipleship means you make good use of opportunities and do not let them pass by unused. So many people in our churches today move so slowly and lack intensity in their Christian commitment. The truth of the matter is that effective discipleship requires us to be fervent for Christ.
The second factor is Forsaking. They "Forsook their nets." Discipleship requires sacrifice. There is no way around this. It will cost you to be a good disciple of Jesus Christ. It will cost you money. It will cost you time. It will cost you of having things your way. It will cost you of personal choice. That’s just how it is. Those in our verse forsook more than their nets, for in later verses we learn they also forsook their family and friends (Mark 1:20). Failure to sacrifice keeps many would-be disciples on the sidelines. If you are unwilling to sacrifice your time, energy, friends, family, and possessions for Christ, you will not do well in being a good disciple for the Lord.
And finally, the third factor is Following. "And followed him." Following Jesus is the goal and purpose of discipleship. Jesus is the sole object of discipleship. It is "Him" not a denomination, not tradition, not by-laws, not the pastor, not deacons, not trustees, not cliques, not budgets, not church calendars or some organizational system, but it is Jesus that we are to follow. Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). Following Jesus involves being in submission to Jesus. To follow Jesus means we give preference to His ways and His will above that of our own. We are only servants; He is the Sovereign. He decides where we go and what we do. We may not understand the ways of Jesus all the time. But we do not need to understand them. All we need to do is follow Him and He will direct our path.
Rev. Dr. Major Stewart, Pastor
Greater Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
Sunday, February 11, 2018