Audio Lesson by David Daniel
January 25, 2015
Hearing the Call of Jesus
Lesson Goal: To better understand that Jesus uses ordinary folks to do extraordinary things.
No doubt, at this time Jesus had many followers, but He chose to pour His life into a select twelve by investing His time, knowledge, relationship, energy and effort into them. In previous lessons, we looked at some of these men. Today we conclude by looking at the remaining apostles.
Philip—His name literally means “lover of horses.” We are told in John 1:43 that Jesus found Philip. We know Philip shared his knowledge of Jesus, because he went and told his friend Nathanael. Nathanael was somewhat reluctant, but with Philip’s encouragement, he met Jesus and was forever changed. Philip was from Bethsaida, the same general area as Andrew, Peter, James and John. He should not be confused with Philip the deacon and evangelist in the book of Acts. Philip was thought to be cautious, sometimes overly cautious to the point that it became a hindrance to his faith. He was sometimes slow to respond and believe, therefore, missing the opportunity to put faith in action. “Philip’s faith and willingness to act were in constant need of being stirred and strengthened” (Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible). Jesus made Philip a man of strong faith. Tradition says that he died a fearless martyr at Hierapolis. Please read John 12:20-22; 14:1-9; 6:5-7.
⇒ Caution can be good, but how can it also be a hindrance to faith?
Thomas—the twin. Thomas is best known for his times of doubt. He was slow to understand Jesus’ Messiahship (see John 14:5-6) and struggled with the testimony of others concerning the resurrection of Jesus (see John 20:24-29). Thomas may have had his moments of questioning and doubt, but he was no coward. In fact, he was a man of courage and loyalty. It was Thomas who spoke up, in John 11:8, 16, suggesting his willingness to follow Jesus even if it meant death. Tradition says that Thomas took the gospel to Parthia (India) and there died the death of a martyr because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
⇒ What is your faith in Jesus Christ costing you? Has it ever cost you anything?
James and John, brothers and sons of Zebedee and Salome, were perhaps the highest in prosperity and position. They often battled with their own egos and ambitions. They wanted the highest position in the coming kingdom (see Matthew 20:20-21). Jesus gave James and John the name “Sons of Thunder,” because of their fiery tempers (see Luke 9:54). John was called the “beloved disciple.” James was the first apostle to die for his faith. His death is recorded in Acts 12:2. John was the only apostle who did not die a martyr’s death. James, John and Peter formed the inner circle of the apostles.
Some important facts to remember
1. All twelve apostles were disciples of Jesus, but not all disciples were apostles of Jesus.
2. Jesus did not choose the twelve apostles because of what they were, but because of what they had the potential to become.
“Jesus selected His apostles from the simple-hearted men of Galilee, more than seventy miles from the temple in Jerusalem. He did not choose these apostles from the religious establishment” (Swindoll).
3. “Ironically, Judas Iscariot was the only selection that would have made sense to onlookers of his day—a fine, strong-hearted zealot from Kerioth of Judea” (Swindoll). To the world and the religious establishment, Judas Iscariot would have been the most impressive looking of the twelve. Impressive? Only initially!
⇒ What has the calling of the apostles taught you about the kind of people Jesus calls and uses?
⇒ As a follower of Jesus Christ, and based upon the twelve apostles and our brief study, which apostle do you see yourself the most like? Why? Please explain.
⇒ What traits in your own life do you see represented in the lives of the apostles?
⇒ Please finish the following statement, as it pertains to your own life.
When Jesus calls,…
⇒ What is Jesus calling you to do today?
J. Vernon McGee offers us some practical words of wisdom:
If a man devotes his life to some noble but earthly cause, he is applauded. The musician, the athlete, the businessman, the artist or the statesman who gives himself to his work is recognized for his total devotion. But if a man gives himself in total dedication to the cause of God, he is branded as a fanatic.
(V19) This verse ends with the words: “And they went into a house.” Most commentaries are completely silent concerning these words from Mark, but John Phillips offers this:
The selection of the Twelve was completed, and they went into a house. What an ordinary thing to do! Some people might have expected that the Lord would have sent Judas into Jerusalem to look for a suitable building to be the temporary headquarters for the new Messianic Mission. Others might have expected Him to endow His disciples at once with authority over the old tribal territories and send them forth, armed with might and miracle to prepare the clans for the King. But no! He went into a house. We can almost see Him as He shut the door on the outside world, took off his shoes, loosened His belt, had something to eat, and went to bed.
It would be through these ordinary men, eleven of which proved faithful and true to the Lord, that the world would be turned upside down. His plans for these men are described in detail in Matthew 10:5-42. They were to reach out in ever-widening circles. Jesus placed on these common ordinary guys the responsibility of sharing His love and care with the world.
In a true sense, we are the continuing fruit of their labor and service. Their work continues through the passing of the light from one generation to the next. Their influence is far-reaching and still lives on today. These were just simple ordinary men being faithful and obedient to Jesus. At the time Jesus called them, and even throughout their lifetimes, these men probably had no idea they were world changers. They likely never even thought they could change the world.
As we move from the calling of the twelve, I leave you with this closing thought: Never limit who Jesus wants to use, and never limit what He wants to do in and through those He uses.
Next week we will study one of Jesus’ greatest lessons known as “The Sermon on the Mount.”
God bless you. My love and prayers to all of you. I am blessed, thankful and honored to be your pastor.