The Disciples: Come Follow Me

(Written by Ange van der Leeuw)

This is the introduction to a series on the Disciples. In the weeks to come, we will draw on scripture and historical tradition to look at their lives and their mission. Those who followed Jesus during his lifetime are referred to as his disciples. The word apostles refers to the twelve individuals whom Jesus chose from among his disciples for positions of leadership. Luke writes that Jesus “called his disciples to him, and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and also Judas Iscariot who became a traitor” (Lk 6:13-16 also: Matthew10:1-4). Complete lists of the apostles can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. Later on, Judas was replaced by Matthias.

The 12 disciples of Jesus were the foundation stones of His church, several even wrote portions of the Bible. In Revelation 21:14 we are told that the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem will have in them the names of the twelve disciples/apostles. It is evident, therefore, that God attaches great importance to these 12 men. From the rough beginnings, coming from mostly around the province of Galilee, came these rugged, rough, band everyday fishermen, revolutionaries, outcasts and a couple of scribes. These were the people Jesus chose to fulfil His mission and to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-20 AND Jesus has continued to call people to follow Him right through the ages.

Following Jesus, in the area where they had lived and worked, meant they could not forget where they had come from but had absolutely no idea how they would be transformed and empowered to advance the Kingdom Jesus preached.

Where were you when Jesus first called you to follow Him? How old were you? What were you doing? Who were you with? What attracted you to Him? What did you have to give up for Him? At that time and since? Who did you first tell about this? Try and remember what those first steps meant? Where did you think He would lead you? Have you stayed true to His call?

Paul reminds us to remember where we have come from Ephesians 2:12-13 “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” And read Revelation 2:1-6, when John writes to the Church in Ephesus, rebuking them for forgetting their first love.

PRAYER: Jesus thank you for calling me to follow you. Help me to always heed the call, help me to not drop the ball. Please reveal any things that are hindering me from wholeheartedly following you or that have reduced the fire and passion of when you first called me. Please show me so as I can take you and your love to this hurting world. Amen.

SONG: Oh Lord You’re Beautiful Keith Green –