What does Mark 1:16 mean?Mark 1:16–20 records the calling of the disciples, but it's unclear exactly when this happened. Like other ancient writings, the Gospels are not as chronological as modern readers would prefer. The events related in Mark 1:16–20 occur later in the book of Luke. By comparison, Luke describes this event after the details Mark offers in Mark 1:35–39. That being said, most of the specific events in Jesus' years of ministry don't need to be placed in precise chronological order.
Simon and Andrew were originally from Bethsaida, on the far north end of the Sea of Galilee where the river fills the lake, but they now live in Capernaum, farther west. The details of the encounter, that Jesus meets them as they are casting a net, supports the idea that Mark received the information for his gospel directly from Peter—"Peter" is the name that Jesus gives Simon (John 1:42).
This is not the first time the two brothers had met Jesus. John 1:35–41 says that while John the Baptist was still alive, Andrew witnessed him declaring that Jesus, who was walking by, was "the Lamb of God." Andrew and another friend followed Jesus and spent the day with Him. Andrew later found Simon Peter and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41).
This account shows us one of the characteristics of God which is clear both in the Bible and in His dealings with us. He rarely asks us to do something out of the blue. Instead, God spends time preparing us for what is coming. It is our responsibility to take advantage of that preparation. In the case of Andrew and Simon Peter, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. Then both he and Simon Peter meet Jesus. Sometime after this, after John the Baptist has been imprisoned, Jesus approaches the brothers.
The preparation has just begun, however. Andrew and Simon Peter were competent enough to own their own business, but they were fishermen. They were likely from a working-class family and did not enjoy a high degree of wealth or education. And yet Peter would become one of the most important figures in the establishment of the new church. After Jesus' ascension, Peter and his fellow fisherman, John, would meet the Jewish council to defend their faith in Jesus. The council was amazed that such "uneducated, common men" could speak so eloquently (Acts 4:1–22). The combination of the three years spent with Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts turned uneducated fishermen into potent communicators.
Simon Peter went on to write the New Testament epistles of 1 and 2 Peter, and would inspire the very words recorded here in the Gospel of Mark. John went on to write five books of the New Testament: The Gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation. The James mentioned here will be the first of the disciples to be martyred (Acts 12:1–2). Little else is known of Andrew