Called to Follow Jesus
God values availability over ability.
And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him. 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. And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
– Matthew 4:18–22
And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax–gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.
– Matthew 10:1–4
After resisting Satan, Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit. Soon, people began to follow after Jesus. Most of these followers were common, ordinary people. But they saw something very uncommon and extraordinary in Jesus. Some left the security of their livelihoods to be with Jesus. Some of these were fishermen, to whom Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” From those who followed Him, Jesus chose an inner group of twelve. These became known as His disciples, and for nearly three years, they traveled with Him and learned from Him. They began to see the world through His eyes. As with everyone who follows Jesus, these men were being prepared for something far beyond anything they could imagine.
– The HOPE, Chapter 9
Observe & Consider
After resisting the temptation of Satan, Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit. He was ready for His earthly ministry. It wasn’t long before people started following Him. From among these followers, Jesus eventually chose a smaller group who became known as His disciples.1 Jesus lived with these men. Day after day He taught them, by word and example. He invested His life in their lives. He shaped their souls. And through this inner circle of men, God started a work and a movement (namely, the Church) that is literally unparalleled in all of history.
Now if you were going to assemble a group to start such a movement to change the world, then you might look for some extraordinarily gifted and accomplished people. But once again, we see that God often does things very differently from the way we would do them. The men that Jesus called to be among His inner circle were not the most educated or influential men that He could have found. By all appearances, these were common ordinary men. Several of them were fishermen. One was a tax collector. And one was a revolutionary. But Jesus saw the potential in each of them, and ultimately God used them to give birth to something very remarkable, something that is alive today and will live for eternity.
Ask & Reflect
- When you consider the disciples of Jesus, do you think of them as common men or great men? Explain.
- Many classic paintings of the apostles portray them as almost super humans.2 Why do you think this is?
- As in the case of the disciples, God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Do you think God might use you to do extraordinary things? Why or why not?
Decide & Do
Although they may not have been exceptional men in human terms (education, wealth, power, etc.), there is one thing that sets the disciples apart from many other men. They were willing to make themselves completely available to Jesus. They chose to spend their lives with Jesus.
If you want to be used of God, then take a lesson from the disciples and make yourself available to Him. God values availability more than ability. If you make yourself available to Him, then He will use you. It is that simple.
For Further Study
- John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men. (W Publishing Group, A Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 2002). To quote the back cover: “This book…brings you face to face with the disciples as you’ve never seen them before. You’ll walk in their shoes. You’ll understand their doubts and hopes. And you’ll hear the power of Jesus’ words in a whole new way. The message of Twelve Ordinary Men is clear. If Christ can accomplish his purposes through men like these, imagine what He has in store for you!” (http://www.amazon.com/Twelve–Ordinary–Men–John–MacArthur/dp/0849917735). Retrieved October 9, 2006.
- Who Were the Chosen Twelve? (© Bible Study Site. (http://www.biblestudy.org/question/12-apostles-twelve-disciples.html). Retrieved September 30, 2014. A brief overview of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
1Bible Encyclopedia, Disciple. (ChristianAnswers.net, a Ministry of Films for Christ/Eden Communications, 2006).
(http://christiananswers.net/dictionary/disciple.html). Retrieved October 31, 2006.
2Compare these earlier paintings of Christ and His disciples that were downloaded from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website
(http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=christ+and+his+disciples&x=-1392&y=-58) with these more recent renderings: (http://christcenteredmall.com/stores/art/disciples_of_jesus.htm). (Christ–Centered Art, 2006. Web pages copyright © 1998–2006 by Christ–Centered Mall, Inc.). Retrieved October 31, 2006.