What Jesus Teaches About Man
Roy Blizzard III © 2014
Text: Mark 1:17
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Running through all of Jesus’ teachings, the careful student can plainly discover Jesus’ high conception of man. In our text we see that Jesus is giving his second call to his first four disciples. You can compare this to John 1:29-42. He thus would have them see that while catching fish as a livelihood is alright, catching men for God is far better and he now proposes to promote them to this exalted position of working with God.
Hitherto, since their first call they had followed Jesus intermittently; part of the time they fished and part of the time they followed him. However, the time had come for Jesus to give them a full time calling in preparation for their future work of catching men.
Note that this was a distinct call from Things to Men, which is a decidedly upward promotion. Mark, in verse 18, simply says that, “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” Yes they left all – boats, nets, Zebedee, the hired servants, everything, and they followed after Jesus, their great teacher.
After a year and a half of Jesus’ guidance, they were so proficient and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 3,000 souls responded to the preaching of the Gospel. Later work by Paul and Silas at Thessalonica in Macedonia was seen by the inhabitants and they commented that these two men were “…turning the world upside down.” In Acts 17:6. What a compliment coming from Enemies of the Gospel! No wonder that Paul declared in Romans 1:16 that, “…the Gospel was the Dunamis -In Greek- or Dynamite Power unto Salvation to everyone that believed, both Jew and Greek.”
In Acts 26:12-18, Jesus had given Paul his commission on the Damascus road, telling him that he had appeared before him for a purpose, “16)…to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God…”
How has Jesus shown his high conception of Man? Firstly by conferring with God and assisting Him somehow in the creation of man. Genesis 1:26-27, John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:16. Do you understand that it is a great thing to be a man? A human being, created in the image and likeness of God, the creator of the entire universe that we live in and created by Him with great dignity. Did you catch that? Great Dignity. In Genesis 1:26 God says a few simple words that carry with them great meaning for us, “Let Us make man…”
This statement should give us pause when we read it. Prior to this, everything had been created by the hand of God alone. But now, with mankind, God says, “Let Us make Mankind…”. God was telling us that we were special in all that He had created. He wanted us to have something from all of the qualities of the totality of the Godhead; something of the Father, something of the Son, and something of the Holy Spirit. This statement right here suggests that if you don’t have a relationship with all three then you are missing out on something that God has created for you so that you can be your best.
Secondly, Jesus reveals his high conception of Man by coming to this world and living among us for 31 ½ years and then finally dying upon a cross to redeem man back to God. In order to lift man back up to God, Jesus had to come down unto man as a man, in order to reverse the events in the Garden of Eden. As man was subject to death and suffering from the sin in the Garden, Jesus had to die and suffer for Isaiah 53:5&6 to say, “by his stripes we are healed. And “…Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This is why the cross has such an important role for the believer.
The fact is, the death of Jesus played a special part in God’s eternal purpose, and Paul tells us that this was before “the Foundations of the world.” I Peter 1:20, and that the Apostles were chosen to reveal this great truth to humanity. They didn’t understand that the Messiah Jesus had to die while he was upon the earth, but when the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, He revealed this great mystery to them.
So fully was Paul convinced that the cross was fundamental in Jesus’ plans that he said in I Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Again in Galatians 6:14, “ But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Also in I Corinthians 1:18 he states, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
Thirdly, by committing the Gospel into the hands of men, Jesus shows his high conception of man.
In the 10th chapter of Matthew, in response to Jesus’ compassion for the multitudes which were scattered as a sheep without a shepherd in Matthew 9, it is recorded that he commissioned his disciples to go forth and, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” And in verse 40, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” He thus declared for us the same dignity as he claimed Himself for his Father. It is a wonderful thing to be a representative of the King!
In reflection, we can see that Jesus has an exalted conception of man because man was created in Gods’ image and likeness, and because after man sinned the divine plan of redemption was instituted with Jesus as the Savior, and because Jesus sees the possibilities of greatness in his Kingdom for even the weakest of men.
Because Jesus participated in the creation of man, Jesus has a natural affinity towards man. Because the divine plan of redemption was towards man, the Savior’s focus is upon man. Because Jesus knows the hearts and minds of men, Jesus knows what our possibilities can be if we begin to exist within God’s existence.
We see the exalted concept of mankind in the creation on man, the climax of God’s Divine handiwork. We see it in the Divine plan of Redemption with the climax of the Cross. We see it in the healing and saving of outcasts of society within whom Jesus recognized their possibilities.
God revealed His plans for man from the time of the enchanter in the Garden in Genesis 3:15, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head”, until according to Malachi 4:2 he declared, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;…” Thus we have the Gospel in Purpose in Genesis 3:15, The Gospel in Type in Exodus 20:1-17, Hebrews 9:1-28, 10:1-22, Colossians 2:14, The Gospel in Prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, Isaiah 7:14, 53:1-12, The Gospel in Preparation in Isaiah 40:1-6, Matthew 3:1-5, John 3:22-36, and finally the Gospel in Fact after the fullness of time in Galatians 4:4-6, when Jesus came and revealed His will, died, was buried, rose again and went to Glory and then sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to reveal this entire plan to the Apostles and through them to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:1-14, 2:1-47, I Corinthians 1:1-14, Hebrews 9:16-17, 10:1-11; Compare Romans 1:16, 5:1-21, II Corinthians 5:17-21.
In Romans 3:23-26 Paul shows the necessity for Atonement that God may be Just and Justify those who have faithfulness in Jesus their Messiah because we are weak men without it. In Luke 5:32 Jesus justified his associating with publicans and sinners on the grounds that “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He can see our human weakness, but He can also see our Spiritual Possibilities within even the weakest of us all. Just look at the three parables in Luke 15; the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost Boy. Look at the interaction with the Woman at the Well in Samaria. Look at Simon Peter, Zacchaeus and Saul of Tarsus who was Jesus’ most rabid persecutor.
The transformations in all of their lives fully justified Jesus in His judgment of them. He knows the human personalities and can see the possibilities within us all. I wish that we all could see and recognize the immense possibilities within ourselves if we just recognize Jesus and accept him as our Savior and begin to exist within His existence.
Surely Jesus set the example as a personal worker who went to the people and ministered salvation unto them, to keep them from perishing in sin and recreating life anew in their hearts. Shouldn’t we begin to recognize the possibilities for men and women and children within the Kingdom of God?
There is great Joy to be found within such work as we read in Psalms 126:5-6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6) He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. In Daniel 12:3 we read, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” What a picture these two passages give us. In the first, rejoicing with the sheaves that he has gathered and in the second those who have won souls as “shining in the stars forever”. What other joy can be compared to this?
In light of what we have seen concerning Jesus’ exalted concept of man, I need to ask each of you a question, “Shall we disappoint Jesus?” He has supreme faith in us. Shall we justify His faith or shall we prove ourselves fleshly and willful in our rejection of His trust, faith and confidence?
I can’t but believe that many a person has remained true to Jesus who would have gone down to sin’s disappointments and temptations but for this confidence of Jesus revealed to them. Peter was one who could have been lost forever had it not been for the confidence of Jesus. Paul was another.
It is important to note Paul’s analysis of how men are to be saved in Romans 10:10-17. “14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” He gives this divine process after first of all stating that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Two things here are manifest to us; 1) Faith is to come by hearing the Word of God. 2) God’s plan is that this preaching is to be done by HUMAN BEINGS; that God proposes to save men through men. This is indeed an exalted concept.
I want to close by extending two invitations; First an invitation to all outside of Jesus to accept His personal call to salvation, to confess to Him and confess Him to men. Secondly, to those who have already made this Profession of Faith I encourage you now to enlist yourselves as soul winners for the Kingdom. For to you, Jesus says, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to be Fishers of Men.”by