| CHRIST DID NOT FAIL. It was time
for Him to begin His earthly ministry. It was time to show
mankind His never failing love. It was time for Him to walk
among the people, for whom He came to earth to save.|
headed back to Galilee.
I have chosen mainly the Gospel of John's
version to tell the story of how the disciples were chosen,
and of Jesus' beginning His ministry. Once in awhile I may dip
into the other Gospels for bits and pieces; however, I urge
you, please also read the accounts in Matthew
1:14-19...Luke jumps right in to Jesus'
ministry, without mentioning the specific calling of the
disciples. These accounts are not conflicting. Each writer
uses his own unique point of view. This enhances the account
of Jesus' ministry. Please read all the Gospels to have a
complete picture. However, for this story, I am using mainly
the Gospel of John.
Time: About 27 A.D.
Persons:John the Baptist, Jesus, Andrew,
Peter, James, John, Philip and Nathanael
John1: 35-51; Mark 1:14-19
"Repent and be baptized... The Kingdom of
God is at hand… " John's voice reverberated across the shores
of Galilee. As he stopped for a breath, his eyes roving
through the crowd, he saw Jesus coming toward him. He raised
his arms, pointing toward Jesus: "Here is the Man I have been
telling you about. Behold! The Lamb of
God! Some of you were around when I baptized this
Man. I had not known Him previously, but I saw a dove descend
from the heavenlies and land on Him. And I heard God's voice,
saying: 'This is My beloved Son. Hear
Him.' Since then I have been telling you that He is
greater than I. He has come now to minister among you. He will
tell you of great things. He will forgive you of your sins. He
will become great. I will become less visible; yeah I will
disappear entirely from the picture. Whereas now I baptize
with water, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. I am
just His messenger, sent to prepare the way for Him. He is the
Messiah. He has come. Listen to Him. He is the only One who
can save you from the wrath to come."
* * *
Andrew, and John the son of Zebedee, were two of John's
disciples. They had been following this wild man from the
wilderness every chance they got, hanging on his every word.
And when, the previous day, John had pointed Jesus out again,
shouting out the words, "Behold! The Lamb
of God," they turned their eyes on Jesus, taking a
close look at Him. Today, as again their leader pointed to the
new "Prophet" who had suddenly come into their midst, they
left following John and caught up with Jesus, pressing through
the curious crowd that had gathered to listen to His
teachings. They wanted to get close, to hear His words. Their
hearts had been stirred by John's teachings. They had been
baptized by him. And now they wanted more. They wanted to get
to know this "Lamb of God"
whose praises John had been broadcasting. Could He really be
the promised Messiah?
Jesus, knowing that these men
had made an exerted effort to follow Him, turned and looked at
Andrew and his companion. "What do you want?" He asked. "What
are you looking for?"
Amazed that Jesus should even notice them, and somewhat
intimidated, they blurted out, "Teacher, where are You
staying?" Those were the only words that would come out of
their tongue-tied mouths.
Jesus looked at the eager two, knowing that their yearning
to know Him was genuine. He simply said to them, "Come and see."
By this time it was late evening. The men followed Jesus to
where He was staying at the time. They abode with Him that
night, listening to His teaching, and wondering at all they
Andrew was so excited at Jesus' message that he
just couldn't keep it to himself. As soon as it was light the
next day, he hurried to the lakeside, watching for his brother
Peter, to come in with his fishing boat. While helping Simon
Peter haul in his catch, Andrew blurted out, "We have found the Messiah! Come and
see!" Scarcely waiting until the fish net had been pulled to
shore, he grabbed his older brother by the hand and dragged
him down the road to where Jesus was.
Simon Peter made
no objection. If this quiet young brother of his was this
excited about something, he was eager to see Whom it was who
was causing his enthusiasm. Andrew had been so bored and fed
up with fishing lately and had not always gone out with him.
Peter knew that he had been following the wild man from the
wilderness for a few days, but he figured that the novelty
would soon wear off. But he had NEVER seen Andrew this
energized about anything since they had both been children.
With scepticism, Peter approached the small crowd that had
gathered around the "Prophet", so recently having caused a
stir among the people. To his amazement, he saw the Man look
directly at him. And then He spoke: "You
are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas."
Peter was taken-a back. He had been called many
things in his day, but NEVER had anyone called him "A Stone."
For once in his life he was speechless. He would follow this
Man called Jesus for a while. He would listen to His words. He
was impressed! For the rest of the day Peter observed. He
wanted to find out more about this amazing Man, this Man who
had made such an impressing on his gentle young
"He is truly too good to be true!" Heading
back to the shore to attend to his fish, Peter turned to his
brother and said: "We have to tell Philip about this new
Prophet. You know how devout Philip is." So the brothers found
their friend from their hometown, Bethsaida, and told him
about the incredible Man that they had heard preaching by the
Sea of Galilee.
As Jesus entered Galilee the following day, He saw Philip.
"Follow Me," was all He said to
him. And Philip followed.
After listening to Jesus for
just a little while, Philip couldn't contain his enthusiasm.
He went and found his companion, Nathanael, known to some as
Bartholomew. He said to him, "We have
found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets,
wrote—'Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.' You
just have to come and hear Him. What He teaches is astounding!
Nathanael, always the sceptic, sneered. "I don't believe
you. Can any good come out of Nazareth?"
Nathanael was a student of the Law. He knew about
the promised Messiah. He knew that He was to be born in
Bethlehem, so this Man couldn't be the promised One. Nazareth!
Pshaw! How could anyone of any importance come from such an
obscure little village such as Nazareth?
"Come and see," was Philip's
simple answer. He took Nathanael by the arm and led him to
Jesus. Seeing his friend's passion, Nathanael reluctantly
allowed himself to be taken to meet the Man from Nazareth who
had caused such a surge of excitement in Philip.
Jesus witnessed Nathanael coming towards Him and turning
directly to Him, He said, "Behold, an
Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"
Amazed at Jesus' words, Nathanael shot back, "How could You
possibly know me? I have never ever laid eyes on You in my
life. You must be mistaking me for someone else."
Jesus simply said, "Before Philip
called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
Nathanael thought back on yesterday. He had been relaxing
under the fig tree, reflecting on the things he had been
reading in the Prophets. He had just read about how Jacob had
had a dream of a ladder that reached to heaven. Vaguely he
recalled that as he was sitting under the tree, a small crowd
of people had passed by him. But that was nothing unusual.
Groups of people often walked down the road, going from place
to place. He had scarcely glanced up from his reading, so he
hadn't paid any attention to anyone in particular. So how was
it that this Man had noticed him? And WHY had He noticed him?
He was no one of importance. He was just a quiet man pondering
life. In his slow, thoughtful manner, Nathanael answered,
"Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are
the King of Israel!"
Jesus said, "Because I said to you, 'I
saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see
greater things than these…. Soon you shall see heaven open,
and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of
Mark's account: Mark 1:14-19
The news that John the Baptist was now in prison saddened
his followers. The two men, who had been his faithful
disciples and had left him to follow Jesus, had now gone back
to their duties. Jesus, also saddened to learn that John was
in prison, headed back to Galilee. His time had come to take
up from where John had left off. "The time
is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and
believe in the gospel." The message was the same.
The Messenger was new. John had fulfilled the purpose he had
been born to. It was now time for Jesus to show Himself as
Israel's Deliverer. But would they listen?
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw the usual
activity, men fishing, fixing nets, mending boats, etc. Among
the seaside workers he spotted Simon and Andrew casting in
their nets for another day at sea. He called out to them:
"Men! Follow Me, and I will make you
become fishers of men."
The brothers needed no further invitation. They dropped
their nets where they were, pulled their garments around them
and left their boat, to become Jesus' disciples.
little further down the beach Jesus noticed James and John
with their father, Zebedee, busily mending their nets,
preparing to spend another day at fishing. Fishing hadn't been
too great lately, but it was their livelihood and they had to
carry on. Jesus called out to them. "Follow Me!"
Immediately the brothers dropped their nets and ran after
Jesus, leaving their father looking on. A slight smile crossed
Zebedee's face. He sighed. He had heard of this Prophet who
had recently come onto the scene, and he was glad that his
sons had decided to follow Him. They had chosen the right
path, something his mother and he had prayed for since their
sons had been born. James and John had heard the call of their
Master: "Come and See." And
they followed Jesus, becoming His full-time disciples.
Jesus' ministry was gaining momentum. His popularity
was growing amongst the people. But His time had not yet fully
come to show to the people His full power.
© Helen Dowd
with Study 4