Called to Be Disciples – Gospel in Life

Called to Be Disciples

Tim Keller |  January 22, 2006

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  • Purpose and Calling
  • Discipleship and Spiritual Growth
  • Christian Living and Obedience
Mark 1:14-20
RS 190-03


We live in a culture in which everyone seems to be talking about Jesus and wants some sort of connection to him — but everybody wants connection on their own terms. A Jesus that’s a projection of your own desires, is really just you, and therefore, is not a Jesus that can challenge you, change you, or help you. That’s why the real Jesus’s call is a powerful thing. In this passage, we see that the call of Jesus is 1) Different; 2) Drastic; 3) Developmental; and 4) Doable.

Mark 1:14–20

In the book of Mark, Jesus shares God’s good news and personally invites Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him, unlike the Jewish practice where students pick their teachers. This shows that being friends with Jesus can only happen if he invites you. Answering Jesus’ call changes their lives and the course of history, highlighting the powerful impact of hearing and responding to Jesus’ unique, growth-oriented, and achievable invitation.

1. It’s different

Unlike other religions, the gospel isn’t advice but a life-changing event that Jesus brings about, permanently changing our status. Christianity focuses on what Jesus has done for us, providing acceptance through grace, rather than what we do. The good news also promises Jesus as the real King who will fix the world, making Christianity about not just personal salvation, but also fighting poverty, sickness, and hunger.

2. It’s drastic

Jesus asks his followers to prioritize their relationship with him over everything else, including family and jobs, going against society’s emphasis on self and traditional values. This dedication to Jesus isn’t just a means to an end, but an acknowledgement of him as their real King and ultimate goal. The issue of obsession isn’t fixed by being moderate, but by differentiating between religion and the gospel, with true commitment to Christ leading to passionate devotion and kindness to others.

3. It’s developmental

Jesus invites us on a life-changing journey from self-focus to becoming people who lead others from darkness to light, much like moving from a self-serving world to one of service and prioritizing others. This journey, though, is filled with unexpected challenges, like the disciples who didn’t know the trials they’d face in becoming fishers of men. As followers of Jesus, we start this journey not knowing how much we’ll change into the people God wants us to be.

4. It’s doable

Jesus invites us to put Him first and follow His will, even when the journey seems full of obstacles. Like Irene in “The Princess and the Goblin,” we’re called to trust and follow our unique path, even if it doesn’t make sense. This journey, marked by self-sacrifice, perseverance, and transformation, eventually leads us to Jesus, who has already made the way for us.



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