Several of the twelve were fishermen.
A disciple is a ‘learner'.
In the ancient world, Greek philosophers gathered around them groups of apprentices, and in the New Testament the word ‘disciple' signified one who accepted the teachings of another.
John the Baptist (Jesus' older cousin) had disciples who followed and learned from him, and when Jesus came on the scene he, too, gathered together a group of men and women who were glad to respond to his call to follow.
We may tend to think of the 12 men who followed Jesus as the ‘twelve disciples’, yet we can all be disciples of Christ.
Among those who became Jesus’ disciples were fishermen, a tax official, and at least one member of a strong national party. He must have had quite a time shaping their lives and training them to follow him and live together in harmony! None of them was perfect; none of them deserved any more notice than anyone else. It was Jesus’ proximity, and learning from him, that made them special. It is when we are in relationship with others, and our ‘corners’ get knocked off, that we can see our lives start to change.
There were a number of women among Jesus’ disciples. Two of them were Martha and Mary—sisters with very different characters. Martha was the active one, always rushing around and doing things for her Lord, whereas Mary was more contemplative, and preferred to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen. We have to get the balance right between listening, learning and doing.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the number of disciples increased dramatically. Jesus sent 12 special disciples, called apostles, to continue his work and to preach the good news about him far and wide. All of the disciples, however, were called to serve him and bear witness to him. As a result, all around the Mediterranean countries men and women came to hear of, and then believe in, Jesus Christ.
One of the great invitations Jesus gave is recorded in Matthew’s gospel (NT): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is a promise for all who struggle with life, and those whose consciences are troubled. Jesus is the great burden-bearer. He bore our sins on the cross so that we might be freed from them when we truly turn to him.
Not only does Jesus invite us to come to him, but he also goes on to say, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” He is using an agricultural metaphor in which an untrained ox would be harnessed with one that is mature. Jesus invites us to enrol as one of his disciples.
To this day, all over the world, there are billions of disciples of Christ, worshipping and serving the Lord. Many do so in the face of great opposition, and even persecution.
Pray: Lord, surely I can't count myself alongside the likes of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Yet your word tells me that I can. Help me to respond to the challenge of becoming a disciple of yours. Giving me a heart that wants to learn, and to draw closer to you. Amen.
Watch the video clip Next Step
Look up the 12 aspostles in Wikipedia
Look up disciples in Wikipedia
Read from John (NT) chapter 13 and chapter 8 what Jesus said about how to become one of his disciples
Study what it is to be a disciple of Christ
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