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The 60: Men Unexpected (Mark 1:16-20) | Life Unexpected


Debrief offers an abridged outline of the Sunday sermon for individuals or Community Groups alike, to re-engage the content of the Sunday sermon. This outline is far from complete, but serves to give a track or road map to walk through the content of Sunday in another context during the week.

Two Overarching Themes:

(1) Jesus is always the one that takes the initiative

In Jewish culture Rabbis did not take initiative with potential pupils, but potential pupils took initiative with Rabbis. You can’t have a relationship with Jesus unless he initiates with you.

(2) Jesus is taking initiative with you, not just everyone

You would expect from the preaching of Jesus that His first ministry interaction would be with the public, the masses, but Mark is careful to make this very personal. This is for YOU.

Under these two unexpected themes are four more:

The Unexpected Man

When Jesus is putting together His team for His mission, to begin His movement of the Kingdom of God, He isn’t going after all the religiously trained men of the day, he’s going after the everyday, ordinary men of the day.

This is not to say that classically trained men are unneeded in the work of the Kingdom. They are desperately needed. (ie. Apostle Paul)

This is to say that the majority of men Jesus calls will be everyday, ordinary men with everyday ordinary jobs and training.

The Fisherman Myth

Peter, Andrew, James and John were not glorified day laborers. They were savy small business owners who were competing in the world fish market.

It’s not that Jesus is calling uneducated and untrained men, He’s calling every man, regardless of his education or training.

They weren’t the guys you would expect the bulk of the labor of the Kingdom to be done through. You would expect it to be done by the paid professionals, but it’s not.

The bulk of the work of the Kingdom is done by regular men, not incompetent men. Men who are faithful, NOT failures.

Jesus calls these men who are good at what they do to employ their skills in something much better…….something much bigger –The Kingdom

The No Training Myth

You don’t need any training to follow Jesus, but you do need some kind of training to help other people to follow Jesus.

  • It’s not that the Apostles didn’t need any theological training. They had daily theological training with Jesus for three years (Sower Parable)
  • Its not that the Apostles didn’t need any practical ministry training. They had daily practical ministry training with Jesus for three years (Feeding of the 5000)
  • It’s not that the Apostles didn’t need any character development and training. They had daily, practical, intentional character development (Sermon on the Mount)

There is no excuse today to be untrained and uneducated in the things of God. You don’t have to be the most trained and the most educated, but there is no reason you shouldn’t be somewhat trained and somewhat educated.

The Unexpected Moment

The call doesn’t take place in the synagogue or the temple, but in their world of work and vocation. (Between Sundays)

Peter, Andrew, James and John are asked to follow Jesus just after they’ve gone from their worst day ever to their best day ever.

  • Jesus is asking them to leave behind their profits (money)
  • Jesus is asking them to leave behind their popularity (reputation)
  • Jesus is asking them to leave behind their position (security)
  • Jesus is asking them to leave behind their parents (identity)

Jesus may come when you’re at the lowest place you could be. This is what we usually assume.

But Jesus doesn’t always come at that place. Jesus may come when you’re the highest you can be.

The Unexpected Mission

Jesus is not asking us to only, or mostly apply our resources toward how we can have better lives, better families, better jobs, and a better church……..BUT how we can see more people be part of it in Jesus

Fishers of Men, Not Tenders of The Aquarium

In the Old Testament, the term ‘fishers’ is used to describe God raising up people to go after His people who have sinned against Him and are under His judgement. (Jeremiah 16:16-17)

Jesus was saying to these Hebrew fishermen that understood the OT, “I am going to make you become the kind of men that want to go after the people that are running away from me and are doing things that I hate.”

This is the first, and most basic description of a follower of Jesus in the NT.

That is why Paul wrote to Timothy: "As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." – 2 Timothy 4:5

“Does the fisherman try to catch fish? Does he use every means and grieve if he is unsuccessful?” – J.C. Ryle

The Unexpected Means

Following Not Leading

Men are used to leading, not being led. Jesus is calling us to follow.

To be led more by Jesus…….to lead more like Jesus…….to lead more to Jesus

Following Together Not Following Alone

The Apostles are not just nameless and faceless individuals, but a named team that spend all their time together. We’re not just called to follow Jesus alone, but together.

Diving In

Diving In offers a few questions to help you re-engage the concepts from Sunday. Feel the freedom to use all of the questions, or to simply camp out on just one. These questions aren't intended to answer all the issues that surface through the thrust of this weeks' message, but to simply raise them and allow you time and space to process them, ideally in the context of your Community Group.

  • What does it mean that the average, everyday, ordinary guys ought to be the "face of Christianity?" Do you have a desire to be the face of Christianity in this sense? If not, why not?
  • What do you think about the idea that the bulk of the work of the Kingdom is to be done by regular, everyday, ordinary men? Would you consider yourself to be one of them? Would you consider yourself to be involved in the 'bulk' of the work? Why or why not?
  • Has Jesus ever placed a high call on your life during a very high point in life? What are some of the things you've had to lay aside to follow Jesus more closely during these times?
  • Would you consider yourself to be a 'fisher of men' or a 'tender of the aquarium'? Why? What, in your estimation, makes one so much ore difficult than the other for you? Is there someone in particular that you know Jesus has asked you to 'fish' for? How'z that coming?
  • In what tangible ways could you demonstrate to yourself, and to those around you, that you ARE following Jesus, not just leading yourself? In what one way might Jesus be calling you to follow Him more closely?  

Deep End

The Deep End is a short and simple formation exercise you can use to dive deep into your heart before God. Feel the freedom to divert from the directions if that makes it easier for you to connect with Jesus in this exercise.

  • First, quiet your heart before the Lord. If you find yourself distracted by various thoughts (things on your “To Do” list, etc.), don’t “fight” the distractions, but rather spend some time praying over those things. Hopefully soon your heart will quieted down and you will be able to hear the Lord speaking to you.
  • Next, spend some time reading over Mark 1:17. Mediate on the phrase "fishers of men" for a few minutes.
  • After this, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you who He is leading you to go fishing for? Who is out there in the 'waters' of your life? Who is just 'outside your boat?"
  • Next, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you 'how' He is wanting you to go fishing for them. What bridge is there in your relationship for the sharing of the Gospel?
  • End your time by asking the Lord to give you the courage to engage them in the place or through the bridge that He has revealed.


Our digest section is all about helping you to memorize and meditate on God's Word so you'll be able to better digest it. Take some time to commit these short verses to memory this week:

"And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." - Mark 1:17

My hope is that these simple exercises in The 60 will help what we discovered during this week be distilled, and deepened in your heart and life with Jesus.

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