Lesson 6: Beginnings

There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.

– Dwight L. Moody

Devotion: (We will not read multiple versions of every story in this study, but we will again today to demonstrate how it is important to read various accounts.) Read Mark 1:16-20. This version of Jesus calling his first disciples is nearly word for word with Matthew 4:18-22. Read Luke 5:1-11 and John 1:35-51. Pay attention to how their sources bring different perspectives to the same story. All four writers agree the first disciples leave their homes, families, and jobs to follow. If you are a Christian, what have you left behind to follow Jesus (career opportunities, relationships, attitudes, actions)? If you are not a Christian, what would be the most difficult thing to leave behind in order to follow?

Personal Worship Option: Read 2 Timothy 1:8-10. What calling has God placed on your life? Are you called to be kind, teach, love, forgive, sacrifice, give, witness? Pray about your call.

Dig A Little Deeper:

Mk 1:16 Some of the disciples had witnessed Jesus’ baptism (Acts 1:21-22).

Mk 1:19 Mark emphasizes the immediacy of their response. If Simon, James, and John have heard Jesus teach, it is not reported here.

Lk 5:1 The “lake of Gennesaret” is another name for the “Sea of Galilee.” It is a 13 mile long and 7.5 mile wide fresh water lake.

Lk 5:4 Since Jesus describes catching fish as a sign of Christian service, “put out into deep water” can easily be seen as symbolic. What do you think this phrase might mean?

Lk 5:5 “Master” is a title often given to Jesus in Luke (8:24, 45; 9:33, 49). Jesus also uses it regularly in parables (12:36, 42; 16:3, 13; 19:17). Simon is obedient even though reluctant.

Lk 5:8 What do you think is signified by Peter’s change from “Master” in verse 5 to “Lord?”  

Lk 5:11 Their decision to follow is all the more impressive considering the catch of fish netted.

Jn 1:35 Only John’s gospel reports some of Jesus’ first followers were originally disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus is “the Lamb of God” (Ex 12:3; Is 53:7). Andrew is named, but the other disciple is not. Tradition says the gospel writer John, son of Zebedee, is the other.

Jn 1:38 John frequently translates Hebrew and Aramaic words for his Gentile readers.

Jn 1:41 John reports Andrew finds Simon rather than Jesus calling him directly. He also includes Simon’s renaming as “Peter” in this context as opposed to the other gospels (Mt 16:17).

Jn 1:44 The implication is that Simon and Andrew introduce Jesus to Philip, who is most likely another disciple of John the Baptist.  

Jn 1:46 Nazareth is so small and insignificant, it is never mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures.

Jn 1:48 Jesus refers to some experience Nathanael had, but scripture does not disclose what this is. It is significant enough for Nathanael to believe and respond with messianic titles (2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2:7; Zeph 3:15).

Jn 1:51 Jesus refers to Genesis 28:10-17, Jacob’s dream of a “ladder to heaven.” That dream symbolizes God communicating with humanity. God changes Jacob’s name to “Israel.” This “Israelite in whom there is no deceit” will see greater things than Jacob saw.

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