Guests: Darold Bigger and Larry Veverka
Key Texts: Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-51
Key Issues: This week, we continue the subject started last week, discussing the fact of Jesus’ calling his disciples to follow him. We will look at several instances where Jesus called individual disciples. As we saw last week, a sense of calling is a very important thing in the life of one who works in the gospel cause. Here we will want to notice a number of things, like what common elements are found in all calls to discipleship, and what type of people Jesus called. Did Scripture play any part? What about the circumstances out of which Jesus called his disciples?
1.Some things to notice about Jesus calling his disciples:
a. According to John 1:35 onward, the first disciples Jesus called were Andrew and Simon Peter, brothers. Interestingly, according to John, Jesus called them out of the ranks of those who followed John the Baptist. Interestingly also was the fact that Andrew, after he decided to follow Jesus, rounded his brother up to do the same.
b. According to John 1:43 and following, the next disciple called was Philip, who right after accepting his call, also went and found another person, Nathaniel, who lived in the same town as he. Notice that in both of the cases just mentioned, the disciple who did the inviting of another prefaced his comments with some description of Jesus that let the other one know that they were quite sure the one who was to fulfil the promises of God as they understood them from the scriptures, had been found.
c. If you were to invite someone to follow Jesus, what description of him would you give them that might arouse their interest?
d. In all these callings, what role do you see scripture playing?
e. When we read the account of the disciples being called as found in Matthew 4:18-22, and Mark 1:16-20, we discover a different description. In this account, Andrew and Peter are fishing from a boat when Jesus calls them. The next disciples called were James and John, again from the task of fishing. This is quite different from the account in John.
f. In Luke 5:1-11, there is a more detailed account of the calling of the first disciples that includes the story of Jesus finding the boats near the shore, going aboard that of Peter while teaching the crowds. After that there followed the miracles of the vast catch of fish that caused the boats nearly to sink. Thereupon, Peter fell to his knees before Jesus and Jesus called him to become a disciple.
g. Noting all these differences, the author of the official lesson states, “careful scrutiny usually resolves any issues, showing simply that despite the different details or emphasis, the accounts harmonize, especially on the crucial points.” Do you agree with him? How would you harmonize the different accounts? Do you think it is necessary to harmonize them?
h. Notice that lack of hesitation to follow Jesus, to leave all and follow him. Why do you think that happened? It seems not to happen so readily today. How much did the disciples know about Jesus when they set out to follow him?
i. In Matthew 9: 9, Mark 2:14, and Luke 5:27,28, we find the accounts of Jesus’ calling Levi Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector, and it is widely known such people were despised because so many were arbitrary and dishonest. What do you make of the fact that Jesus called such a person to join the ranks of his followers? What do you think the reaction of the other disciples was to the calling of Levi Matthew? Would your church accept an outsider, a despised person into fellowship, active fellowship? How could you help adjust such matters for the better?
j. What priorities do you need to adjust in your life in order to emulate those first disciples in their following of Jesus?