In the next few months, we will follow Jesus around with an imaginary video camera, watching and pondering as we watch Jesus recruit, coach, and commission His disciples. Most of the scenes are scripted by the Gospel writer Mark, who learned the stories later while traveling with and assisting the apostle Peter. Be asking how Jesus’ example applies to us today!
Part I: JESUS TEAM-BUILDS AS HE BEGINS HIS MINISTRY
- The first things described in the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry are preaching and recruiting disciples.
1:14f “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God… And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew…casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. (And) He saw James…and John… (with) their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants.”
Notice Jesus went to their workplace while they were busy with their livelihood, and observed them in the active disciplines of their daily lives. But notice also that this was not the first encounter he had had with some of them.
Remember John 1:35f: “John (the Baptist) was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi,… where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’ They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day... One…was Andrew…He found first his own brother, Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’…He brought him... Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called [Peter].”
Here we see Jesus informally connecting with potential disciples prior to calling them to follow Him with a disciple’s commitment – which was commonly understand in the culture of the day and place.
- After some relational prelude for mutual assessment, Jesus offers the contract of a rabbi to potential interns (disciples) with a vaguely described outcome of their association with Him . “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ [Peter and Andrew] immediately left the nets and followed Him…” accepting His offer without reservation.
Jesus went a few yards down the sea shore and “called [James and John]; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.” Notice there were employees - in addition to family members - on the job, showing that the business was strong enough to pay additional help. Other references show that the two sets of brothers were partners in business. Note that these two sets of brothers were hard working and successful with a business strong enough to allow for hired help. They did not leave their lives out of desperation, but out of the sense of a hirer purpose and relationship to be gained by associating with Jesus at the expense of their earthly securities and reputations.
NEXT MONTH: Part II: THE DISCIPLING PROCESS BEGINS