If you are at all like me…you’re always on the lookout for leaders and leaders of leaders (whether you call them coaches, mentors, community leaders, etc.). Isn’t that our reality?
In the last few weeks I’ve been studying the gospels, examining them to try and understand the sequence of Jesus’ invitations to the disciples. Here are three of the things I’ve discovered and three questions that remain:
First Invitation: Many scholars believe that the first recorded encounter that Jesus had with any of the disciples is found in John 1:35-42. You know the story. Two of John the Baptists’ disciples, Andrew and Simon, hear him call Jesus “the lamb of God” and follow Jesus. He turns around and sees them and asks, “What do you want?” They ask “where are you staying?” And Jesus says, “Come and see.”
My first question: If you had asked Andrew and Peter what they were doing when they accepted Jesus’ invitation to “come and see,” what would they have said?
Second Invitation: The next invitation seems to happen about a year later. Found in three of the gospels (Mark 1:16-20, Matthew 4:18-22, and Luke 5:1-11, this is Jesus’ invitation to Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John to fish for men. In the Luke version of the incident, Jesus uses Peter and Andrew’s boat as a teaching platform and when He finishes teaching the crowd, tells Simon Peter to “put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
You know the story. They’ve already fished all night and caught nothing. Peter reluctantly does what Jesus said to do (“because You said so”) and catches such a large catch that the nets begin to break. They signal their partners (James and John) to come out and help them. They are all astonished, Peter falls to his knees, and Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will fish for people.”
They pulled their boats ashore, left everything, and followed Jesus.
My second question: If you had asked Peter and Andrew, James and John what they were leaving their nets to do?” what would they have said?
Third Invitation: After the feeding of the 5000 there is a conversation recorded in Luke 9:18-27 that happens privately among the twelve. This is probably another 6 to 12 months after being invited to fish for men. Here He tells the twelve, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Now, perhaps 18 to 24 months into their journey, they hear “come and die.”
My third question: What did they hear that and fully understand? As you read the rest of the gospels, Jesus reminds them several more times that they are following someone who is about to suffer and be killed. Peter tells Jesus to quit saying that. Jesus rebukes Peter. The disciples do not seem to have clarity on what is coming.
Conclusions: Jesus made a progressively more challenging “ask.” The disciples’ first response was to “come and see.” Their second response was to “fish for men.” Their third response was to “come and die.” They followed and ultimately died for their cause.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.