Friday, January 29, 2016

The Apprentice

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

With the simple words "follow me" Jesus called his first disciples. A good word for this today would be "apprentice". A dictionary uses this definition, "One bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade. "One who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling." Like other apprentices, Jesus' disciples committed their lives to living as if Jesus were them. They spent their time listening to his teaching and doing what he did, including healings and miracles. When Jesus said to Peter and Andrew "follow me", he was asking them to leave their jobs as fishermen and become his apprentice. An apprentice learns to do what their master does so they can one day do it themselves.

So how does this relate to us today? Jesus' last words to his disciples was, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded." So we might translate this as "disciples making disciples". Of course you can't make a disciple unless you are one. You can't teach what you don't do. Peter could not be the first apostle of the church without first learning how to follow Jesus himself first. Peter learned from following Jesus, and then taught others to do the same.

So a question is how much is the principle being practiced today in the church. Are we more interested in making disciples or church members? How would we measure discipleship, as opposed to only membership, attendance, and offering. The only thing Jesus asked the disciples to do was be a disciple and make disciples of all nations. Jesus invites you and I to "follow him". To learn about how he lived and what he practiced, and allow him to lead us and guide us through the power of the Holy Spirit. A church is a gathering of Jesus' disciples, who live out their calling together, and seek to bring God's kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. This was the exciting revolution Jesus started 2,000 years ago. The Good News is we get to participate in this revolution today.

Are you following Jesus? Do you spend time praying with him and listening to Him as you read His Word? Do you gather with others who are following Jesus to support, encourage and hold you accountable. Jesus is still calling men and women today to follow him, to be his apprentices.

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