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When studying the Evening Reading I was struck by the chosen text of Mark 1:18. It brought to mind a corollary set of verses from John. Let’s take a look and see the similarity and distinction.
(Mark 1:16-18 NKJV) And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
(John 6:64-69 NKJV) ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
In the passage from the Gospel of John, we see Jesus indicating that there are disciples who did not believe. Even though they were following Jesus, they were not “followers of Jesus.” When He said things that were hard to take, they left! Now in contrast, the Mark passage shows the response of true followers of Christ. Jesus came and told them a hard saying. He told them to leave everything they have worked for in their life and to follow Him—Who at best they barely knew. What was their response? They dropped everything and followed Him. That was the difference between the two groups of disciples. The false followers—they left, the true followers—they followed at all cost. The true followers answered the Master’s call.
We see also in the John passage that Jesus asked the Twelve if they too wanted to leave. Peter’s response should also be our response, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Let us all truly follow Jesus as we are led by the Spirit of the Lord. As Spurgeon wrote in the Evening Reading:
We are very concerned that our little book of Evening Readings should not be fruitless, and therefore we pray that readers may not be readers only, but doers, of the word. The practice of truth is the most profitable reading of it.
Lord, help us to follow You! Guide us with the Holy Spirit. Let us practice what we read in Your Word, as a testimony of your regenerative work in our lives; as a testimony of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Amen.