The Calling of Discipleship

Jesus calls all people to become His disciples.

This is the first in a unit of lessons on the topic of Christian discipleship. These lessons are about becoming and growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The goal of Christian discipleship is to have our lives become more and more in likeness to Christ. While these lessons do not cover every passage about Christian discipleship, they do provide an opportunity to see what it was like for Jesus’ first disciples to engage in the lifelong process of becoming mature in Christ likeness. Like all processes, Christian discipleship has a beginning, and this lesson is focused on Jesus meeting and calling His first disciples. This reveals what is required to become a disciple of Jesus.

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.


A. Peter and Andrew Followed Jesus

Matthew 4:18  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

4:20  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

…….This reminds me of the song, “He Came Looking for Me”. Typically a teacher (Rabbi) didn’t go out looking for followers, followers went out looking for a Rabbi to attach themselves to. Jesus’ ministry was different in so many ways, in the fact, He selected His followers. Still today He selects His followers. People are called by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

…….Luke gives us a more in depth explanation of Jesus’ encounter with Peter. Luke 5:1  And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

5:2  And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

5:3  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

5:4  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

5:5  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

5:6  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

5:7  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

5:8  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

5:9  For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

5:10  And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

5:11  And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

B. James and John Followed Jesus

Matthew 4:21  And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

4:22  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

…….What is not mentioned in this lesson is vs. 17: From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus had not long before completed the 40 day fast and overcame His temptations from Satan in the wilderness. Jesus had just accomplished a great spiritual and physical challenge and was preaching/teaching with great anointing! As Christ, we must be prepared at all times to answer the call. Many people try to answer with no preparation. Jesus’ preparations in a short time caused others to trust him!


A. Matthew Followed Jesus

Matthew 9:9  And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom (tax collection tables): and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

…….What we must know about Matthew is the fact that he was a Jew working for the government to tax other Jews. He was likely a hated man by his own people. Publicans were known to be extremely wealthy by using their intelligence and cheating the citizens to line their own pockets with money. I believe the purpose of Christ’s selections were to desegregate the crowd, to have a mixed culture of people to show the world that He wasn’t looking for a specific type of person with particular characteristics. He’s looking for All who will…

B. Jesus’ Reason for Calling Sinners

Matthew 9:10  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

…….You see how that worked out? He called one publican, and many publicans came!

9:11  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

…….The Pharisees try to persuade the disciples by going to them about Jesus’ actions. This would bring harsh disapproval by the Pharisee because table fellowship was a sign of friendship and acceptance, and they thought the publicans to be the worst of sinners.

9:12  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

……Jesus rebuked the Pharisees lack of understanding of God‘s word with citing Hosea 6:6… His answer made clear his mission to save sinners and served as a rebuke to the Pharisees. Jesus said He came to heal those sick with sin.

9:13  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

…….Jesus’ mission would go against everything the Pharisees believed and taught. They believed you had to follow rituals and study traditions to make it to heaven. Not everyone could make it this way because not everyone was accepted in going to the house of the Lord. If you weren’t a Jew, you were thought unworthy to have a relationship with the Lord. Jesus came and greatly disputed that way of religion simply by the selection of His disciples!


A. Jesus’ Authority Was Recognized

Mark 3:7  But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,

3:8  And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.

3:9  And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

…….Jesus’ ministry had become so publicly known that large crowds began to follow Him.

3:10  For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

3:11  And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

3:12  And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.

B. Jesus Chose and Authorized the Twelve

Mark 3:13  And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

3:14  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

3:15  And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

……. Luke 6:12-13 tells that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before choosing the Twelve the next day. Jesus called the Twelve to be with Him, to send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sickness, and to cast out demons. Being with Jesus meant these men would leave their livelihoods to follow Jesus and learn from Him, to minister alongside Him and on their own. Jesus would teach them what to preach. And Jesus granted them authority and power to heal the sick and cast out demons. This was only possible because of the greater authority and power Jesus had as the Son of God. As God’s sent son, Jesus was authorized by God to give authority and power to others to minister on his behalf.

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