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God’s Word for You

Mark 1:16-20 Send them pastors

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, July 10, 2021

16 As Jesus was going along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately Jesus called them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Many months before, these same men had been pointed to Jesus by John the Baptist. Andrew had gone to get his brother Simon (Peter, John 1:36). But they were still tradesmen. They still made a living by fishing on the bountiful Sea of Galilee. The tilapia caught there was and still is in demand as a cheap, not-too-fishy tasting fish. It’s often the size of a big bluegill and is usually served grilled with head, fins, and scales intact, with lemon and salt.

When the call came, the men were ready. They had been listening to Jesus for months. Now it was time for full-time training and ministry, and they simply left everything and began to follow him. We hear in this passage that the father of James and John was Zebedee. Elsewhere, we learn that Peter and Andrew’s father was named Jonah (Matthew 16:17) with a nickname of John (John 1:42). These two fathers would carry on with the servants; perhaps there were younger brothers to help.

This call into service by Jesus is a divine call into ministry. It comes in one of two ways, but it is a divine institution (that is, created and maintained by God). So that people may obtain faith and be nourished in the Word of God, there is a ministry of the Word: the office of Pastor. We use terms such as pastor and minister rather than priest (1) firstly because pastors and ministers are called to serve. Pastor means “shepherd,” and minister means “servant.” (2) Secondly, a priest by definition makes sacrifices, and since Christ was sacrificed on the cross once for all, one sacrifice for all sin (Hebrews 10:10 and 10:12) and “there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:18), there is no longer a need for a priest, but rather for a pastor to shepherd the people.

God is the author of the ministry:

1, He promised teachers to the church (Jeremiah 3:5, 23:4).

2, He gives what he promised (1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 5:18).

3, He preserves the ministry to the end of the world (Ephesians 4:11).

4, Christ performed the office of teaching itself (Hebrews 1:1; Luke 4:17-21).

5, God equips the teachers of the church with the necessary gifts (2 Corinthians 3:5).

The two ways that this call comes are different only in manner. First, Christ called some directly (immediately) to the ministry, such as happened here in Capernaum by Jesus in person. The Holy Spirit also called Paul and Barnabas directly (Acts 13:2), as he called the prophets (Isaiah 6:8-10; Jeremiah 1:5; Ezekiel 2:3). The other kind of a call into the ministry is the indirect call, which comes from God through his church, using their choice and voice. This is the way churches call pastors today. Such a call is a divine call, since it is traced back to God: “The LORD gave the word, and great was the company of those who preached it” (Psalm 68:11). The indirect call was supported by the apostles, who often appointed elders (pastors) for the churches (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 2:2). It carries the promise of God: “Watch your life and your doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).  As we see especially in the Book of Acts, the indirect call is based on the right and power of God, that God himself gave to the church, and that the church was already using in the time of the apostles.

The power of the gospel is to rescue people from the grave (Psalm 107:20). His pastors proclaim it, explain it, and teach it. Support them with your prayers, and other encouragement when you can. But pray for them, that God would make them faithful in their study and in their labor. They are, in the end, just men, but men called to serve us. And God works through them for our eternal good.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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