Jump Start # 3060
Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’”
Recently I have been teaching a class entitled, “The Teacher Jesus.” We’ve looked at how Jesus taught. In one of those classes we noticed the transition that took place among the disciples. From fishermen they became fishers of men. But it was much, much more than just putting down their nets and picking up the word of God. There was a mindset that had to be rearranged, adjusted and changed by Jesus.
Jesus was doing things that seemed out of bounds for the way the disciples would have thought and how the typical Jews thought. Jesus had to change the way these disciples saw others. This wasn’t easy. Some cultural thinking is developed by the way we were raised and the environment around us.
· More than once, Jesus was in the home of tax collectors. He even chose a tax collector as one of his apostles. That would have been a major shift in the of thinking of the disciples.
· Jesus not only traveled through Samaria, but the disciples found him at a well talking to a woman and a woman who had been through several marriages. This was full of things that would have bothered the disciples.
· In the home of Simon, an immoral woman sat at the feet of Jesus, crying so much that she wet his feet with her tears and dried his feet with her hair. That scene would have turned the minds of the disciples all around.
· In Gentile country, a Canaanite woman approached Jesus wanting Him to cast a demon out of her daughter. The Jews would have been uncomfortable being in that region to begin with, but seeing Jesus granting the request of a Gentile, and a woman at that, was not something they imagined.
· Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach to every person. They would no longer be among their own and in settings that they understood and were comfortable with.
And, all of this points directly to you and I. We, too, have a cultural mindset and bent. It’s the way we were raised, taught and the environment around us. We have attitudes, way of seeing others, and opinions that often do not line up with the way God wants. The people we went to school with, our co-workers, our family members, even brethren have a way of influencing the way we think and see things. And, that mindset often needs to be changed. Politically correct is not always Biblically correct. What is acceptable to society may not be acceptable to God. Trying not to offend others may in essence offend God.
Here are some reminders that we need to be reminded of:
First, we are all made in the image of God. That includes our enemies, those we do not like and those who are bent on doing wrong. Not only are we all the same in that way, but we all need Jesus. It may be that we think some need Jesus more than others, but we all need the Lord.
Second, we must distinguish between not liking sinfulness and not liking the person. Sometimes those two are so close to each other that it is hard to separate. We struggle with caring for the violent, the criminal and those that are aggressively mean. Their choice of sin has ruined their souls but we need to love them, do good to them, and care for them. That is hard.
Third, it is easy for us to develop a monastery mindset which is very similar to the way the Jews thought. The Jews only wanted to be around fellow Jews. They lived in villages together. They had shops and market places designed for Jews. They sold only what Jews would buy. They worshipped together. They married within that closed community. And, while there are many positives about that, it easily transcends to a “us and them” mentality. That can happen among Christians. We only want to be around Christians. We only want to do things with Christians. Our world is a closed system of Christians. A lot of security and comfort about that. But easily that becomes another “us and them” type of mindset. Those not like us, “them,” are wrong, clueless and keep at arms length. This makes evangelism hard. This makes us uneasy about a stranger worshipping among us. It’s hard to go into all the world, when we don’t like all the world.
Fourth, our mindsets changes as we walk with the Lord and examine His life carefully. Just being a Christian doesn’t change a mindset. Do you know any black brethren? Have you ever talked to them about what they experienced among fellow brethren? Prejudice in the church? Absolutely. And, could that remain an issue when we see “white churches” and “black churches.” Some like it that way. Some would want it to remain that way. Seeing what Jesus did, He would have Gentiles, Samaritans, Jews, Romans all worshipping together. Red, yellow, black and white—all lifting their voices to Heaven.
Changing the way a person thinks is hard. Getting that person to realize that thinking like my contemporaries isn’t the best. Thinking like my parents may not be the best. Thinking like others isn’t the best. I need to think like Jesus did. Have this mind in yourselves like Jesus. Mold your thinking. Change your thinking. Be a person of Heaven, not the earth. This includes those under the breath comments we make. This includes the jokes that we should never say. This includes the likes we put on Social Media that reflect a worldly way of thinking.
Transitioning from fishermen to fishers of men—it was more than putting up their nets. It involved rewiring their thinking and seeing things through the eyes of Heaven.