THE CALL OF JESUS' DISCIPLES
[Matthew:4:12-25]; [John:1:35-51]; [Luke:5:27-32].
"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32).
I Jesus' First Contact with His Disciples
1. John the Baptist's testimony pointing the disciples to Jesus, [John:1:35-36]; [Psalms:107:2]; [Matthew:10:32].
2. The disciples' heeding the words of John and following Jesus, [John:1:37]; [John:10:27].
3. The Master's message to hungry hearts, [John:1:38-39]; [Isaiah:55:1]; [Revelation:22:17].
4. Peter's meeting with Jesus, [John:1:40-42]; [James:5:20].
5. Jesus' call to Philip who led Nathanael to Christ, [John:1:43-46]; [Daniel:12:3].
6. Jesus revealed as the Son of God and Nathanael's doubts dispelled, [John:1:47-51]; [Psalms:32:2]; [Revelation:14:5].
II Jesus' Departure from Judæa into Galilee
1. The change made at the time of John's imprisonment, [Matthew:4:12]; [Luke:3:19-20].
2. Nazareth rejected, [Matthew:4:13]; [Luke:4:28-30]; [Mark:6:3-6].
3. Capernaum chosen and the responsibility thereof, [Matthew:4:13]; [Matthew:8:5]; [Matthew:11:22-24].
4. Prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled, [Matthew:4:14-17]; [Isaiah:9:1-2]; [2 Timothy:3:16].
III Response to the Call
1. Peter and Andrew, [Matthew:4:18-20]; [Mark:1:16-18]; [Mark:10:28-30]; [James:2:5].
2. James and John immediately obedient, [Matthew:4:21-22]; [Acts:26:16-19]; [Luke:19:6].
3. The mighty preaching of the Gospel in all the country, [Matthew:4:23-25]; [Matthew:11:28].
4. The invitation to Matthew, Luke:5:27-32]; [Ezekiel:33:11]; [Revelation:3:20].
In Isaiah:43:10 these words are found: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen." John was witnessing for the Lord when he gave his astounding testimony, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Given under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as all edifying testimony must be, it pointed the disciples to the Christ. They heeded wisdom ([Proverbs:10:31]), and followed Jesus. The keen edge of their hunger was perceived, and the Son of God immediately responded with a reverberant "Come," which no doubt penetrated to the very depths of their hearts. The resulting contact with the "Lamb of God" so thrilled Andrew ([Psalms:34:8]) that immediately he called Peter and testified of the Lord. Throughout the centuries, everyone who has truly discovered the Gospel of the Son of God has sought out those to whom he could tell the glad story. Thus Peter was brought to Christ. We do not know what Peter said, but Jesus called him Cephas, which is the Hebrew word for stone.
Philip, in turn, after coming in contact with the true Light ([Isaiah:9:2]), began to do what every disciple does -- bring in converts. God expects His people to shine for Him on the earth ([Luke:8:16]; [Matthew:5:14]). Thus the message was given Nathanael, who possessed that honesty of heart necessary for the establishment of a contact with Jesus. Immediately the realisation that in His presence was the One of Whom Moses spoke ([Genesis:3:15]; [Genesis:22:18]; [Deuteronomy:18:15]); and of Whom the prophets spoke ([Isaiah:7:14]; [Isaiah:53:1-12]; [Jeremiah:23:5]; [MIC;5:2]; [Malachi:3:1]). It brought a ready response ([Luke:24:45]).
Jesus departed from Nazareth because of the unbelief of the city. The inhabitants argued and reasoned, "Is not this the carpenter's son?" No one has ever reasoned his way through the gates of pearl ([Proverbs:3:5]). The honest hearts believed and were accepted, while those whose hearts lacked faith were rejected ([Hebrews:11:6]).
The prophecy, which was fulfilled, found in the 9th chapter of Isaiah, verses 1 and 2, was written 700 years before Christ, and has a reference to spiritual dimness.
Great responsibility accompanies the hearing of the Gospel, for in the day of judgment those things written in the books shall judge men ([John:12:48]; [Revelation:20:12-15]).
Christ's message, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," clearly pointed the way of salvation. The term "repent," coupled with the Kingdom of Heaven, showed the requirements and qualifications of entering into that Kingdom. One phase of the Kingdom is that which is within; and another phase is the prophetic kingdom eventually to be established on earth. The King being present, certainly the Kingdom was at hand.
In calling Peter and Andrew, Christ spoke in words with meaning that could be comprehended by the hearers. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The message of the Gospel is not veiled to the understanding, but "the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (Isaiah:35:8). James and John also heard and were prompted to follow Jesus.
Matthew, or Levi, was a publican, a tax gatherer, a member of a class detestable to the Romans, to the Greeks, and to the Jews. The Jews, who considered those who gathered taxes for the ruling government betrayers of their country, abhorred them in a special manner. But Matthew left all -- completely abandoned his office and everything connected with it to follow Christ. No one has ever lost anything by following such a course ([Matthew:17:24-27]; [Mark:10:28-30]).
Those called, chosen, and faithful men were the ones to carry on when Jesus departed. All that has been brought down to us is through the disciples who gathered around Christ. Matthew wrote the first Gospel; John, the fourth. Mark and Luke were disciples of a later period. The Epistles also were written by those chosen of the Lord. Paul, the writer of thirteen of these Epistles was called, just as literally as those who were summoned when Jesus was on earth.
1. What means was first used to draw the disciples' attention to Jesus?
2. What was Christ's attitude toward the inquirers?
3. What is the attitude of every convert toward the Gospel message?
4. Give an outstanding characteristic of Nathanael.
5. At what time did Jesus depart from Nazareth?
6. What caused the departure of Christ from Nazareth?
7. What prophecy was fulfilled as a result of this change?
8. Is a college degree necessary to the hearing and understanding of the call of God?
9. In our lesson today how many disciples do we find have been chosen?
10. What is the important part of this gathering of the band of disciples at the beginning of Christ's ministry?
11. Out of what province in Palestine were eleven of the disciples called?
12. Out of what province was the twelfth chosen, and what was his name?