Do you know that there’s power in Jesus’ blood? Every covenant is sealed with blood, and in the case of The new Testament, it was sealed with the blood of Jesus. The Christian faith is anchored on the shed blood of Jesus, and an understanding of its power and the who is jesus benefits will help you apply your faith to it. When reading the first chapter of Mark, one is captivated by this fast-moving account of Jesus’ early ministry. In rapid-fire succession we see Jesus traveling from Nazareth to the Jordan River, where John the Baptizer baptizes him. Then the Spirit sends him into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and be tempted by the devil.
This brings us to Mark 1: 14 – “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ” So John’s imprisonment marks a turning point for Jesus. The disappearance of the Messiah’s forerunner prompts Jesus to take center stage, and he goes to Galilee and establishes Capernaum as his base of operations while traveling from town to town in the northern part of Israel.
It is in this context that Mark 1: 16-20 presents Jesus’ encounter with two sets of brothers – Peter and Andrew, and James and John. Capernaum is located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, and one day Jesus is walking along this freshwater lake that served as the commercial center of the region. He sees these four men, hard at work, and simply says to them, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1: 17). Fortunately, we can turn to the gospel of John to answer these questions. Mark’s gospel does not tell us that at least three of these four men have had previous contact with Jesus. But Mark chose not to tell us about some events that occur between Mark 1: 11 (Jesus’ baptism) and Mark 1: 12 (Jesus’ wilderness fast) that John records and shed much light on Mark 1: 16-20.
So it would be good for us to read John 1: 19-50, where we read a detailed account of four days in the ministry of John the Baptizer. Here we see John interacting with the religious leaders about his identity. He denies being the Messiah and tells them that the Messiah is on his way (v. 19-28). Then Jesus comes to the Jordan River to be baptized and we see John interacting with Jesus and telling everyone that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world… I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God” (v. 29, 34).
Here we see that John has his own disciples – men that he has taken under his wing for the purpose of pointing them to Jesus. It turns out that Peter and Andrew were among these disciples of John the Baptizer. When Jesus comes to the Jordan, John the Baptizer first introduces Andrew to Jesus. Immediately, Andrew goes to Peter and tells him, “We have found the Messiah” (v. 35-41). Then Andrew introduces Peter to Jesus, and Jesus gives Peter a new name (v. 42), telling him that “You are Simon… You will be called Cephas”. (“Cephas” is Aramaic for “Peter”. )
Also, there is another disciple of John the Baptizer who was introduced to Jesus along with Andrew. Because this other disciple is not named, it is likely that it was John, the brother of James. This John (not to be confused with John the Baptizer), along with Andrew are therefore the two disciples who are introduced to Jesus by John the Baptizer, and who then spend an entire day with Jesus (v. 39).
Now, with all that in mind, fast forward to Mark 1: 16-20. We now know that Jesus has already met Peter, Andrew and John. It is also likely that several months have transpired since their first meeting at the Jordan River. After his baptism and 40-day fast, Jesus travels back to Galilee and settles in Capernaum, where he encounters the fishermen again and commands them to become his full-time disciples.