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6 - Calling the Disciples

"The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and 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.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


A few days ago I was having a conversation with someone by my car and casually leaned up against it while I spoke, crossing one leg over the other and thinking nothing of it. After a brief time they nudged me and pointed in the direction of my two-and-a-half year old daughter, who was leaning back against the car and trying everything to figure out how to stand in the exact same pose. It was certainly cute, but also served as a reminder to me that whatever I do, she will also do. It’s important, as we grow, that we find strong models to watch and imitate.


As a seminary student, I was told I would be required to take three semesters of a course called “Mentored Ministry.” The class itself counted for virtually nothing in terms of our overall credit hours, so I was inclined to believe it was something I should essentially disregard. I chose one of our seminary deans as my mentor and learned very quickly that I would do well to sit down, shut my mouth, and take some notes. As I grew in my understanding of pastoral ministry, I began to notice habits, mannerisms, and methods appearing which I had picked up from my mentor and from my former pastors through the years. We learn by observing those who have done the work well and adapting what they’ve modeled for us into our own ministry practices.


It is amazing to consider the perspective which the apostles brought to the early Church. Their time with Jesus was not just over Tuesday lunches or the occasional meeting; it was literally every moment they had over the course of three years. They practically breathed Jesus for the entirety of this time. They watched the way He ate. They knew what made Him laugh and what brought Him to tears. They saw His frustrations and His triumphs. They knew Him and He knew them as no one else did. By the time Jesus’ ministry in the flesh is done and we see the acts of the apostles, they even sound suspiciously like their Master when they speak.


But the key here is this: this term – “disciples” – isn’t only used of the Twelve in the New Testament. In fact, it’s used of everyone who comes to faith in Christ. Acts 6:1-2 uses the following phrasing: “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together…” Disciples aren’t just those twelve guys who got to spend time with Jesus in the New Testament – you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.


As you meet Christ on the road and He asks you, “What are you seeking,” what is your response? Each of us has our own motives in becoming a disciple. Notice, however, the response of the two disciples to Jesus’ question: “Rabbi, where are you staying?” In other words, “We want to be with you.” If your motive is simply to be in the presence of the Master, you will find much contentment awaits.


Today I want to be with Christ. Nothing showy, nothing that feeds my ego, nothing that make others jealous – simply dwelling in the presence of the Master. You have called me, Lord Jesus, into relationship with You. Help me to sit with my call today, not wondering so much where You will lead me but instead being pleased just to know that You have called. Today I present You with my heart; do with it what You will. Lead and I will follow. For now, I rest in Your perfect peace.

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