Introduction: What did it take for you to become a disciple of Jesus?
What will it take on your part to convince others to be Jesus’
disciples? If you are not a disciple, what will it take to convince
you? Our lesson this week continues our exploration of how Jesus
called His disciples and how they responded. Let’s dive into the
Bible and learn more!

  1. Calling the Disciples

    1. In our prior lessons in this series we looked at how Jesus
      called Andrew, Peter, James and John. Let’s continue by
      reading John 1:43-45. How easy is it to convince Philip
      to follow Jesus? (Jesus simply says “Follow me” and he

      1. What motivates Philip to follow? (Philip believes
        that Jesus is the Messiah. We know that because he
        says that to Nathanael.)

    2. Read John 1:46. Nathanael thinks he is getting a mixed
      message from Philip. What seems out of place? (Philip
      says this is the Messiah, but he also says this is the son
      of a guy named Joseph from a terrible town.)

      1. Read Matthew 2:4-6. What does this say about the
        place of origin of the Messiah?

      2. Read John 7:52. Nazareth is in the region of Galilee.
        Does Nathanael have a reasonable theological point?
        (If he had done the genealogical research, he would
        have found that Jesus was born in Bethlehem – which
        accorded with prophecy. (Compare Micah 5:2 with Luke
        2:4-7.) I doubt that Philip is much on genealogical
        research, but he seems to know his prophecies!)

    3. Read again John 1:46. How does Philip answer Nathanael’s
      theological questions?

      1. What lesson does this teach us in recruiting

      2. How would you compare launching into a theological
        debate to telling a person what Jesus has done in
        your life? Which would be more comfortable for you?
        Which would be more compelling?

    4. Read John 1:47. Nathanael is skeptical. How does Jesus
      approach him?

      1. Is Jesus “buttering him up” by complimenting him?

      2. When we face skeptics, should we tell them they look
        good, or have nice clothes or are obviously smart?

    5. Read John 1:48-49. What does this add to our discussion
      about whether Jesus is “buttering up” Nathanael? (He is
      not complimenting Nathanael. Notice how Jesus changes the
      issue. Nathanael wants Jesus to prove He is the Messiah.
      Jesus turns the discussion to Nathanael’s character –
      whether he is qualified to be a disciple. Jesus says, “I
      know your character.” When Nathanael asks “How,” Jesus
      shows that He is no mere man.)

      1. How convincing a proof is it that Jesus saw Nathanael
        under the fig tree? Would that convince you?

    6. Read John 1:50-51. Is Jesus merely a good man? What claim
      did He make for Himself? (He tells Nathanael that he will
      have much better evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.)

    7. Read Luke 5:1-3. In our first lesson in this series we
      studied how Andrew and Simon Peter became disciples. We
      commented on how “at once” Simon and Andrew “left their
      nets and followed” Jesus ( Matthew 4:18-20). When do you
      think this story (in Luke) took place? Before or after
      Jesus first called them? (The commentaries are divided on
      this. I consulted about twelve commentaries. A third of
      them say nothing about the timing. A third say Luke has a
      more detailed account of the Matthew 4 call. About a third
      say Luke’s report is the last of a series of progressive
      calls to the disciples.)

    8. Read Luke 5:4-5. What was wrong with Jesus’ suggestion?
      (They had been fishing – all night – which was the logical
      time to find fish. Jesus, who was a “preacher” and not a
      “professional fisherman,” gave Peter some professionally
      foolish advice. Peter notes that this is bad advice, but
      says he will follow it anyway.)

      1. Notice that Simon Peter calls Jesus “Master,” and has
        some reason to follow Jesus’ advice over his own
        professional learning. What does this suggest about
        whether this was the original call to discipleship?
        (It suggests that this was a later call.)

    9. Read John 21:1-6. What is the timing of this story? (After
      Jesus was crucified and resurrected.)

      1. What does this tell us about these disciples and
        fishing? (They are back to fishing!)

      2. What does this suggest about the order of the calls?
        (I like the idea of progressive calls to these
        disciples because it seems more consistent with my
        life and theirs. Jesus calls, and I stumble along
        (generally speaking) towards obedience. Leaving “at
        once” is the goal. But Jesus keeps knocking on the
        door to the heart.)

    10. Read Luke 5:6-7. Why do you think Jesus performed a
      miracle to enhance the profits for the job Jesus wanted
      Peter to leave?

    11. Read Luke 5:8-11. What answer does this suggest to my
      previous question? (When Jesus performed an amazing
      miracle in connection with Peter’s profession, Peter knew
      this was the real thing. Nothing was faked here. That
      miracle changed his heart.)

      1. What does this suggest about Jesus’ call to you to be
        a disciple? What does it suggest about the direction
        of your life? (Jesus is pursuing Peter and the
        others! I think you can ask God to be clear on the
        direction to be taken in your life. If He is not
        clear, then follow the direction that your talents
        and your understanding of God’s will (in general)
        take you.)

      2. Did you notice who are Peter’s “partners?” (The whole
        group – Peter, James and John have some sort of
        business relationship.)

      3. What do you think about Peter and his partners
        leaving the financial rewards of the miracle? (It
        shows that they have finally gotten the message that
        their career is changing.)

    12. Read Matthew 9:9. What do you know about the “tax
      collectors” in Jesus’ time? (They were Jews who were
      collecting taxes for the Romans.)

      1. What do you think Jews would think of that? (Rome was
        an occupying nation. As a result, they were looked on
        as traitors.)

      2. As I understand it, Rome would “bid out” the taxes
        for a certain area. The person who won the bid,
        would pay Rome the tax bid, and have the authority of
        Rome to collect taxes in that area. What problems do
        you see in that scheme? (The idea for the bidder was
        to make a profit. The more taxes you could collect,
        the higher your profit.)

        1. Normally we think making a profit for producing
          something valuable is reasonable and good. What
          product was the tax collector producing? (You
          can see why the tax collectors were not only
          considered traitors, but they were also looked
          on as dishonest and greedy.)

      3. Why would Jesus call such a man to be His disciple?
        (Jesus saw something in him – and Jesus was right
        because this man wrote the gospel of Matthew. This
        also shows you that Jesus wants you for His disciple,
        whatever your background.)

      4. What do we learn about Matthew from the way he
        described his call to be a disciple? (He was honest
        about his background. He did not add details to make
        himself look better. It gives you some idea about how
        he approached writing his gospel.)

    13. Friend, how about you? Will you answer Jesus’ call to be
      His disciple?

  2. Next week: Lessons From Would-be-Disciples.