1A. Called To Be a Disciple

He was called to be a disciple (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-42) and appointed to be an apostle (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).

Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home began a study of the life and writings of the apostle Peter. In our last meeting before breaking for the summer, I’d distributed a sheet about our planned study called “Peter” (see https://opentheism.wordpress.com/category/simon-peter/). Then in August I posted here two articles on topics relevant to the life and writings of Peter that our group won’t likely study, one on the claim of the Roman Catholic Church that Peter was its first pope (https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/peter-the-first-pope/) and the other on the authorship of 1 Peter and 2 Peter (https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/authorship-of-1-2-peter/).

I opened yesterday evening’s meeting by observing that although I’d listed the above italicised statement as one key event in Peter’s life, a comparison of the passages given in it suggests that they refer to four different events in his life. Here is how those events appear in Kurt Aland’s Synopsis of the Four Gospels (United Bible Societies, 1972):
21. The Call of the First Disciples (John 1:35-51)
34. The Call of the Disciples (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20)
41. The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5:1-11)
49. The Choosing of the Twelve (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16)
I then told the group that we’d study the first two events in yesterday’s meeting and the other two events in next week’s meeting.

We went on to do the questionnaire on John 1:35-42 given in The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups (Zondervan Publishing House, 1988; I have permission from Serendipity House to reproduce material from Serendipity Bible for Groups for small group use), “Calling the First Disciples: Andrew” (page 1391), and to discuss some questions on Mark 1:16-20 (see below). A summary of our discussion of the two events follows.

John 1:35-42

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (ESV)

The Serendipity questionnaire contains two parts, Looking into the Scripture and My Own Story. In answering Looking into the Scripture we concluded:
1. When John the Baptist described Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” he was saying that Jesus was the promised sacrifice for the sin of the world. We attributed John’s knowing this about Jesus to the Holy Spirit.
2. The disciples followed Jesus for the day because he was irresistible. I noted that John’s saying to the disciples “Behold, the Lamb of God!” as Jesus walking by encouraged them to follow, not just to look at, Jesus.
3. Jesus’ telling the disciples “Come and you will see” invited them to examine the evidence that he was the Lamb of God for themselves. This was the choice of the majority of the group; also popular was that Jesus was inviting the disciples to give him a chance to prove himself.
4. When Andrew, Peter’s brother, told Peter, “We have found the Messiah,” he was saying that Jesus was the future king of Israel.
5. Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon (meaning “sinking sand” to Peter (meaning “the rock”) because he saw ahead to what Simon would be some day. This was the choice of the majority of the group; also popular was that Jesus changed Peter’s name because he saw a strength in Simon that justified changing his name.
The questions in My Own Story ask for personal information and so, although we shared our answers in the group, I won’t share them here.

Mark 1:16-20

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (ESV)

We read the account of the event in both Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, and I asked the following questions on it:
– How did Jesus call Peter and the other three fishermen?
– How did they respond?
– What does their response show about them?
– When Jesus called Peter and the others, they immediately left their nets and followed him. What might he be calling you to leave so that you can follow him more faithfully?

In our discussion of the disciples’ response to Jesus’ call, I explained that the narratives of Jesus’ life which I consulted took this event as occurring up to a year after the event described in John 1:35-42 with the events described in John 2:1-4:43 occurring between them. John 2:1-4:43 refers to Jesus’ disciples being with him, indicating that Peter and the other three fishermen continued to follow Jesus. However Mark 1:16-20 indicates that they also continued fishing. The call in Mark 1:16-20 would thus be a call to them to abandon their fishing and to devote themselves to following Jesus.

I also observed that some narratives of Jesus’ life which I consulted combine the account of Peter’s being called to be a disciple in Matthew 4:18-22/Mark 1:16-20 with the account of his being called in Luke 5:1-11 but that Matthew and Mark’s giving their accounts of the call (Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20) before their accounts of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15 and Mark 1:29-31) and Luke’s giving his account of the call (5:1-11) after his account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (4:38-39) indicates that the events of Matthew 4:18-22/Mark 1:16-20 and Luke 5:1-11 were different events. As noted above, we’ll study Luke 5:1-11 next week with the accounts of the choosing of the twelve (including Peter).

Being a small group, our group open to additional members. This year we are studying the life and writings of Peter. The study is preceded by singing and a Voice of the Martyrs story and followed by prayer for prayer requests and lunch.

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