Thinking about Commitment

Key Verse: “He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
—Matthew 4:19

Selected Scriptures:
Matthew 4:18-22; 9:9-12; 10:1-4

THE SELECTION OF THE twelve apostles of the Lamb was a very important task. Jesus did not attempt it on his own. Although he already had called several disciples, he did not select any as apostles until he had prayed all night to the Father. (Luke 6:12-16) It is interesting to note that the first four disciples he called, who also became apostles—Peter; Andrew, his brother; and James and John, sons of Zebedee—were all fishermen. (Matt. 4:18,21) We note that these four did not take a long time to think about committing their lives to become “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19), but followed Jesus immediately.

Since they were all fishermen, their experience had taught them much concerning the characteristics of fish, and how to catch them. Now they would need to learn about the characteristics of men, and how to ‘fish’ for men. This was apparent when Matthew, a tax collector, was chosen. (Matt. 9:9; Luke 5:27,28) Tax collectors were hated by Jews because they were working for Roman authorities, and Israel felt extreme enmity toward Rome. Neither did Matthew need much time to think about his commitment, but arose and followed Jesus immediately. As a parting gesture to all his friends, he prepared a farewell feast, to which Jesus and his disciples were also invited.—Luke 5:29; Matt. 9:10

When the Pharisees saw Jesus and his disciples eating with Matthew and his friends, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matt. 9:11, New International Version) Jesus heard this question and replied: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (vs. 12) He continued, saying, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (vs. 13) Were the Pharisees righteous? Far from it; they viewed their keeping of the Law as righteous, and looked down upon those who did not keep the Law as they did, calling them ‘sinners.’ The disciples of Jesus now knew that the sincere, acknowledged, humble sinner was being sought; not the proud, self-esteemed hypocrite.

Those of the disciples who were appointed to be part of the twelve apostles are mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, and Luke 6:13-16. Their personal call is not given in each case, as it was of Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew and Philip, where the response was immediate. (John 1:43) In John 1:44-49 an incident is mentioned concerning the call of Nathaniel [Bartholomew], which convinced him immediately that Jesus was the Messiah and caused him to become a follower. We know little about the others, except Judas, who betrayed Jesus and was later replaced. We believe, however, that all of them gave an immediate response. Likewise, we should not need much time to decide about our commitment to serve the Lord.

The apostles were sent forth by Jesus to be fishers of men. They were given special powers of healing. (Matt. 10:1) The miracles wrought by the apostles were a sampling of the work to be accomplished during the Millennial Age. ‘

Dawn Bible Students Association
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