The Gospel of Matthew: Jesus Calls His First Disciples.

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-22 ESV).

What is a disciple? What is involved in the discipline and responsibility of discipleship? These are simple questions but result in a depth of biblical answers.

The word disciple is derived from the Greek word μαθητής (mathetes). It means to be a follower, a believer, devotee and supporter of a leader. Biblically, it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

“The standard definition of “disciple” (noun) is someone who adheres to the teachings of another. It is a follower or a learner. It refers to someone who takes up the ways of someone else. Applied to Jesus, a disciple is someone who learns from him to live like him — someone who, because of God’s awakening grace, conforms his or her words and ways to the words and ways of Jesus. Or, you might say, as others have put it in the past, disciples of Jesus are themselves “little Christs” (Acts 26:28; 2 Corinthians 1:21),” explains Dr. John Piper.

Jesus called individuals to be His disciples. This meant they were to become worshipers, servants, and witnesses of Jesus Christ. In today’s text, Jesus called Peter, his brother Andrew, along with James and John, the sons of Zebedee to be His first disciples. These four would become the core of the early church in Jerusalem. James would become the first martyred apostle (Acts 12:1-5). Peter would write two New Testament Epistles that bear his name. John would write five New Testament books: The Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and the Book of Revelation.

“Jesus had encountered Peter and Andrew before, near Bethabara, in the Jordan region, where Andrew (and perhaps Peter as well) had become a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35–42). They left John to follow Jesus for a time before returning to fishing in Capernaum. Perhaps they had returned to Capernaum during Jesus’ earlier ministry here (see Luke 4:23). Here he called them to follow him in long-term discipleship. James is easy to distinguish from the other men named James in the NT, because he is never mentioned in Scripture apart from his brother John. His martyrdom by Herod Agrippa I marked the beginning of a time of severe persecution in the early church (Acts 12:2),” explains Dr. John MacArthur.  

The Lord does not call the most obvious individuals to be His disciples. Most of the time He uses ordinary people; like you and me. Let us resolve to be faithful.

Soli deo Gloria!

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