Text: Matthew 4:18-22
In looking at the principles of discipleship, we first need to define what a disciple is. In both the Greek and Latin the word is translated as ‘learner’ or ‘Scholar’. In every case discipleship implies that the learner not only accepts the views of the master but also practices them.
We being the disciples or students of Jesus, learn about Jesus and put into practice what we have learned. This is the essence of discipleship.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Theologian WWII Christian Martyr) ‘When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die.’
Gordon McDonald (Ordering your Private World) ‘True discipleship is an all out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ’
Who Calls Us
The most important thing about being a disciple to anything is the person or the thing that we are following. The Bible speaks of the disciples of Moses, John and the Pharisees. A musician for example, wants to learn from another musician out of a desire to be as good or better than them. We become students of Jesus because of our desire to become like Him. The whole goal of our faith is to become like Jesus.
Even though we are talking about being students, it is important to understand this is not just knowing about Jesus but knowing Jesus in a personal way.
In calling us, Jesus makes our calling possible. Hebrews 9:15(Msg paraphrase) shows us that Jesus had to give His life in order that we might have an eternal inheritance. Through the Spirit, Christ offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.
To What Are We Called?
Relationship – God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
Service – “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”Matthew 4:19
We are called to be disciples not apostles, some may become apostles as a result of first being a disciple. But we are only called to be disciples of Christ.
Jesus Chooses People
v.18 He saw them v.19 He called them v.20 They followed Him
Jesus was intentional in His choice of disciples. In John 15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Jesus Draws People
There was something special about being in the presence of Jesus, He was like a magnet drawing the attention of everything and everyone around Him. John 12:32 ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.’
There was no physical attractiveness about Jesus but there was a supernatural attractiveness that was unexplainable.
When He spoke great crowds were attracted to Him. They would even walk many miles to stay many days just to hear Him speak.
Isaiah 53:2b-3 He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Jesus Challenges People
Jesus made claims that the religious leaders of the day could not handle. He was not religious enough for the Pharisees, they did not like His disrespect for their laws, neither did they like His taste in friends.
They particularly disliked Him because He challenged their comfortable existence. Jesus in some way challenged everyone He met and He still does.
If you are calling yourself a student of Jesus or you want to become a student of Jesus, you had better be prepared for Him to challenge the way you live. Jesus challenges us to make a decision. We either receive Him or we reject Him.
To His disciples He said ‘Put your nets back down in the water’to the rich young ruler ‘Sell all you have.’ to Peter ‘Walk on water.’ To the disabled man at the pool of Bethesda ‘Get up , take your bed and walk.’
Jesus’ challenge is to be totally transformed.
Sadly some of us are crying out for Jesus to change our circumstances but not change out attitudes or our lives. Change my circumstances but leave me the same.
The challenge is to allow Jesus through discipleship to transform our lives
Jesus Has the ability to See the Potential in His Disciple’s Lives.
Sometimes we do ourselves down because of who we believe ourselves to be. Instead of living up to who God says we are.
Jesus didn’t just see some fisherman, He saw what they could become through his teaching, love, power and grace.
And when Jesus looks at us he does not simply see us the way we are today but he sees what we can become by his power and provision.
If we want to be used by God tomorrow, we have to learn to follow him today.
The challenge of Jesus was first to a group of closed thinking, unloving Jews who did not possess one quality of discipleship.
But in spite of this through the transforming power of knowing Jesus, were able to become His disciples. So what qualities was Jesus looking for? Intelligence?, Academic achievement? Appearance? family background? Gender?, Social or Cultural status, Political awareness? Generosity? A go get ‘em attitude?
No, Jesus first and foremost was looking for people who were willing to follow.
The first step is not being qualified, it is being willing.
The disciples were never the same again after they responded to the call of Jesus.
If we are willing He opens up a whole new transformed life to us.
It is not what we are that matters but rather what we are willing.