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Exploring the Bible

Lessons from Jesus calling his disciples

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll have seen our series: ‘Lessons from…’ where we dig into some well known (and maybe some less well known) Bible stories to see what lessons we can take from these series. At the moment, we are travelling through the life of Jesus. You can find all of the previous blog posts here!

Today, we are continuing that series with the story of Jesus calling his disciples. You can find this story in the Bible in Matthew 4:18-22 or Mark 1:14-20, or you can watch our newest animation to see the story acted out by Arnold and his penguin pals here:

So, let’s have a look at some lessons from Jesus calling his disciples…

Are you prepared to leave everything behind?

What’s so striking about this story of Jesus calling his disciples to me, is simply how unquestioningly the disciples drop everything to follow Jesus. They don’t seem to ask any questions, they don’t need time to think about it, they don’t ask for a bit of time to go and collect their belongings – they just follow. How willing would you be to just leave everything behind? Your job, your family and friends, your house and belongings?

Personally, I’m a big planner so I think the hardest thing would be following Jesus without asking questions first: why? Where are we going? What are we doing? What do I need to pack? Please could I have an itinerary? Anyone else? How can we get better at following Jesus without knowing all of the answers?

Jesus sees more than the world sees

If you had to choose a group of people to accompany you in your mission, your ministry, the tasks that you need to achieve; who would you choose? Would you choose a selection of people with crazy skills & power – Avengers style? Would you choose your best pals so that it can be as much fun as possible? Would you choose the experts in whatever it is you are trying to achieve?

Because that’s not what Jesus did. To the rest of the world, the people that Jesus chose to be his 12 closest disciples would have seemed a very bizarre, perhaps even foolish choice. He chose lowly fishermen, he chose tax collectors. He didn’t choose the cleverest people, or the wealthiest, or those who knew their Bible’s the best, or the most righteous. He saw more than the world saw.

Discipleship leads to mission

In Matthew’s account of this story, we hear Jesus say to his disciples: “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” I love this phrase, partly because I love the imagery of fishing for people that Jesus uses to meet these men where they were, with language that they understood as fishermen.

But also, it highlights that Jesus already knew that he would be sending them out to share the good news with the world, even before they had even become his disciples. He brought them under his wing, to learn and see and experience his ministry so that they could share this message with the world. But he didn’t just call them and send them out immediately, he took the time to journey with them, to disciple them, to correct them and support them and share so much with them. He equipped them over those three years (and through sending the Holy Spirit at Pentecost) and they did indeed go out and spread the news about Jesus all across the world.

What other lessons can we learn from the story of Jesus calling his disciples?

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