As the Anchor fellowship has restarted for Fall 2021, we are trying out a new approach to studying through the Gospel of Mark: a novelistic, "filling in the gaps" style of imaginative description, where we encounter Jesus just as His original friends might've. So far, it's been really joyous!
I wanted to give you a taste for the start of your Monday (as you'll see, the plain text is from Mark's wordings and the bold text are my imaginative additions) -
As he walked along the shore of the Lake of Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the water. They had been out all night, seining for fish between their boat and another; watching the moon- and starlight rise, crest and then die away. The sunlight over the eastern hills of the Sea rose to them unwelcome: they hadn’t caught a single fish all night. Not one. They are standing now with their backs to the town, up to their ankles in the water, having cleaned their nets and now casting into the shallows to rinse them. Over the sound of the morning windswell, they hear approaching steps: crunch, crunch, crunch. They turn back.
Watching them is a Man they both have met briefly. Jesus, the cousin of the Baptist, the one from Nazareth. He is standing up the gravelly beach a few steps, his arms crossed, just watching the way they cast the nets in the morning light…
“Come and follow me, and I will teach you to catch men!” he cried. His voice ripples out and then dies out over the waters…
At once they dropped their nets, and followed him. Their internal impulse was identical. Andrew, the first to meet the Man, the one who heard the Baptist say, “Look, the lamb of God!”—is already entirely convinced that this Man is the Messiah. In fact, that’s what he already said to his brother, Simon.
And Simon, the one this Man immediately (and forever) renamed Simon Peter—he is as snared by the presence of Jesus as a passing school of fish!
This trio begins walking up the beach together…
Then he went a little further along the shore and saw James the son of Zebedee, aboard a boat with his brother John, overhauling their nets. These two, along with their father, have been partners to those other brothers. The four boys had all grown up together: James and Andrew, the level-headed reasonable pair of the four; Peter the wild man; and John, the perennial “little brother.” Just moment ago, James and John had been watching the scene play out down the beach and were wondering what the approach of their friends, with Jesus, might mean…
And just as with the other two, Jesus stops; watches; waits. James and John regard Him, wonderingly. Then, At once he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and went off after him.
Andrew—the first to proclaim Jesus as Messiah--
James—the first of the apostles who will eventually die for Him--
Peter—the one whose words will shape this very Gospel--
And John—who will be the last to die of the first generation.
The four of them begin their walk along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, heading south, heading… they know not where. The sound of the lakeshore waves will be the accompaniment to their first fumbling attempts to get to know the heart and mind of their God Incarnate. He Himself delights with a loud booming laughter at the fellowship of His four first friends. He has chosen each of them with great purpose...