Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we considered the background of the Lord’s ministry in the Gospel of Mark. We saw that in His baptism He terminated the things of religion and culture. Then in His ministry He sowed Himself as the seed of the kingdom into God’s chosen people. This seed develops into the kingdom of God. On the one hand, the kingdom of God is for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose; on the other hand, the kingdom of God is for our enjoyment. Let us now go on to see how God’s chosen people are the “soil” into which Christ as the seed of the kingdom is sown to develop into the kingdom of God.
God’s chosen people are the soil to grow Christ into the kingdom of God. However, God’s people have become fallen. According to the picture portrayed by the cases recorded in Mark, they were sick, contaminated, paralyzed, withered, corrupt, deaf, dumb, blind, and even spiritually dead.
God’s people had been destined by Him to be the soil in which Christ would be sown as a seed and in which He would grow for the development of the kingdom of God. But this “soil” became sick, contaminated, paralyzed, and withered. The soil was corrupt, blind, deaf, dumb, and even demon-possessed. Before we were saved, we all were this kind of soil.
In chapter one of the Gospel of Mark the Lord Jesus began to gather the soil. In 1:14 and 15 we are told that Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel!” Immediately after this we have the record of the Lord’s calling four of His disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, and John (1:16-20). In the foregoing message we pointed out that the Lord preached the gospel by sowing Himself as the seed into people. In 1:16-20 we see four of those whom the Lord gathered to be the soil into which He sowed Himself as the seed of the kingdom.
When the Lord gathered the disciples in 1:16-20, what did He want them to do? Verse 16 tells us that Simon and Andrew were “casting a net in the sea, for they were fishermen.” Jesus said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (v. 17). Immediately, they left their nets and followed Him (v. 18). Going on a little further, the Lord Jesus saw James and John in a boat mending the nets. He called them, and “leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, they went after Him” (v. 20). Here we see that these four disciples left their nets, their boat, their father, and even the sea. They left everything to follow Jesus.
When I read the Gospels as a youth, I wondered what it meant to follow Jesus. I was very impressed with the Lord’s words, “Follow Me.” Later I was taught that to follow Jesus meant to do whatever Jesus did. For example, Jesus loved people, and we also should love others. Jesus was gentle and kind, and we also should be gentle and kind. At first I agreed with this understanding of the meaning of following the Lord Jesus. But eventually I discovered that to follow Jesus in this way can be compared to teaching a monkey to act like a man. A monkey may be trained to sit, stand, and walk like a man. However, this is nothing more than mere imitation. Nevertheless, many Christians try to follow Christ in the way of imitating Him. This understanding of following Jesus is mistaken, and we should repudiate it. But we are still left with the question concerning what it means to follow the Lord Jesus.
We have emphasized the fact that when the Lord Jesus called the disciples, He gathered them to be the soil into which He would sow Himself as the seed. Therefore, we may say that to follow Jesus is to be put in His “pocket” for the purpose of His sowing Himself into us.
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