Summary: The call of Andrew, Peter James and John reflects the Great Commission
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
In this morning’s Gospel reading we read of Jesus’ encounter with Peter and Andrew and James and John – and with his call for them to follow him.
Jim Eliot, an American missionary who was killed on 8th January 1956 taking the Gospel to the Waodani people in Ecuador - once famously wrote in his diary on 28th October 1949:
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep
To gain that which he cannot lose”
Last week in John 1, 35-42, we read of Andrew and Peter’s first encounter with Jesus.
St John records the incident as follows:
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
This was the conventional way that Rabbis found their disciples – the disciples chose the Rabbi that they decided to follow.
However, we see in this morning’s reading, Jesus reverses this because HE has a mission for them.
Jesus calling Andrew and Peter and James and John to be more than just followers.
We usually call Andrew and Peter, James and John apostles because the term
apostle is derived from the New Testament word ἀðüóôïëïò - apostolos, meaning one who is sent forth as a messenger
It should not be confused with a disciple - who is merely a follower or a student who simply learns from a "teacher”
Jesus chose 12 apostles – those called to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
We read in Luke 6 12-16 how Jesus chose his Twelve Apostles – those who were intimate to him in whom he would invest his 2½ year ministry.
He did so after prayer.
St Luke records the event like this:
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot,
16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Jesus’s 12 Apostles were called to spread the Gospel after his Crucifixion
Many Christians are happy to be disciples when it comes to learning from Jesus an enjoying spiritual gifts - but one of their greatest fears is that God might be asking them to go out and share their faith with other – as he did with the apostles.
You don’t have to be particularly gifted and holy to be called by God. You just have to be willing
In spring of 1867, a young American shoe salesman came to Bristol and one day he was invited to a prayer meeting in a private home.
During the meeting, the minister, Henry Varley stood up and spoke.
“The world has yet to see what God can do with one man wholly committed to him.” he said
The young American walked out of that prayer meeting an hour later – with these words etched on his mind. They gave him no peace and he resolved to be such a man.
No one remembers Henry Varley – but that young American was D.L.Moody who went on to become the “Billy Graham” of the 19th Century. Thousands came to Christ through his ministry his day.
The world has not seen what God can do with a man totally committed to him.
Jesus gave his Church only one Great Apostolic Commission and that was to “make disciples” (Mt 28:16-20)
And as Jesus himself said: If you love me you will keep my commands (Jn 14:15)
We don’t need to worry about what others think because that is God’s problem and not ours.
Story: There is an ancient legend about Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
He is met by the angel Gabriel who asks him, "Now that your work is finished, what plans have you made to ensure that the truth that you brought to earth will spread throughout the world?"