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The Calling Of Discipleship. AG Sunday School Teachers.


Memory Verse: Matthew 4:19


He [Jesus] saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (KJV).

Central Truth

Jesus calls all people to become His disciples.

The Lesson Outline

1. Calling Fishermen to Follow

A. Personal Encounter
Matthew 4:18-20
B. Wider Outreach
Matthew 4:21-22

2. Calling Sinners to Repent

A. Personal Testimony
Matthew 9:9
B. Forgiving Healer

3. Granting Authority to Disciples

A. Deliverance Modelled

Mark 3:7-12
Disciples Empowered
Mark 3:13-19


Learning Objectives
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Understand that the call to discipleship is universal; it includes all followers of Christ.

2. Desire to be used by God to further the cause of the body of Christ in a lost world.

3. Look for opportunities to serve Christ and witness to others within their current day-to-day responsibilities, and continue to pursue open doors to expand their personal ministries.

Introducing the Lesson

From the beginning, Jesus’ plan for establishing His Church was to integrate the Church into the daily lives of His followers–all of His followers. He referred to the Church as His body, powerfully illustrating how belonging to Him within the Church was a totally immersive experience that shapes all that the Christian thinks, says, and does (see 1 Corinthians 12:27). This translates to the process of discipleship, in which all believers help each other to grow as they move through life.


*Matthew 4:18. “` And Jesus, walking by the sea
of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon
called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea: for they were

19. And he saith unto them, follow me, and will make you fishers of men.

20. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

21. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22. And they immediately left the ship and their father and followed him.

9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and
followed him.

10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat. in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with public- cans and sinners?

12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be. whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Mark 3:7. But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea.

10. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

11. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

13. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

14. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

15. And to have the power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

16. And Simon he surnamed Peter;“`

Commentary and Application

1. Calling Fishermen to Follow

A. Personal Encounter- Matthew 4:18-20

As fishermen, Peter and Andrew were in the midst of their profession’s main task- catching fish. Standing on the shore and casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, they would have seen Jesus approaching them.
Matthew doesn’t tell us anything about their thoughts on seeing Jesus, but he clearly records their reaction. When Jesus invited them to fish for people, they put down their nets and followed Him immediately (Matthew 4:18-20).


Peter and Andrew may have had questions about Jesus’ true identity. The Gospels reveal times when the disciples were amazed by some new insight into the Lord’s character and divine mission (e.g., Matthew 8:27;21:20;22:22). Their understanding of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God grew as they spent more and more time with Him. But even at this first meeting, Peter and Andrew acted upon the calling that they heard, and they obeyed the


An important detail to remember is that Jesus used what Peter and Andrew were already doing to help them transition into His greater plan of service. The years they had spent
as fishermen had been preparing them for this moment.

What a powerful model for today’s believer to follow! God often calls Christians into His service by degrees, implementing into their lives step-by-step tasks that give valuable training for the larger mission He has in store. As believers are faithful to life’s tasks, they prepare for ever-growing levels of Kingdom service. The core quality for every follower of Christ to nurture is obedience.


Questions for Application
Can you identify early jobs or life situations that helped prepare you for greater tasks in service to the Lord?

How has the Lord led you to fish for people, perhaps within a career that does not involve Christian evangelism?
B. Wider Outreach.

*Matthew 4:21-22*
Jesus’ next encounter was with James and John, and specifically mentions their father, Zebedee. Matthew noted that the sons were with their father in a boat repairing their nets. Likely, this was a family
businėss and this task had been shared many times over the years–and was expected to continue for many more to Come.

Again, Matthew told us nothing about any thoughts or questions the sons or their father might have had. As with Peter and Andrew, the narrative focused on the immediate obedience of James and John. But it
is important to consider Zebedee. There is no indication that he resented the loss of his son’s assistance.

Although Jesus’ exact words are not recorded, the implication is that He again connected His planned mission for these two additional disciples with what they were already doing. He invited them to follow the same path on which Peter and Andrew had just embarked. It is very possible that all four men had known each other for many years. We could infer from the text that Peter and Andrew were setting an example for James and John by their obedience. A core group of disciples was forming that would continue to grow and be used of God to take the gospel to the world.


All believers have a part in the proclamation of the gospel. Obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading will reveal opportunities to introduce the lost to the Saviour, regardless of job description, personal ability, or any other human factor.

Questions for Application
How have your loved ones reacted to the Lord’s leading in your life?

What can you do to encourage someone to begin their
Christian journey?
*2. Calling Sinners to Repent*
A. Personal Testimony

Matthew 9:9
In recording his call, Matthew focused on Jesus’ invitation and showed his own response to be one of immediate obedience. Also, Matthew noted his current career- that of a tax collector just as he had identified the others as fishermen (chapter 4).

But that one distinction makes an enormous difference in the implications of Matthew’s encounter with Jesus. Where the four fishermen were accepted members of their Jewish community, Matthew was likely resented as a tax collector, as most tax collectors were. Furthermore, Matthew may have been wealthier than most people, and in many cases, a tax collector’s wealth came from exploiting the people.

However, any attitudes the society of that day might have applied to fishermen and tax collectors did not affect Jesus’ view of His disciples. Jesus does not place people on a scale of intrinsic value. His desire to transform lives and use them for His service is equal for every person. Matthew was no more and no less valuable to Jesus than the first four disciples.

Matthew’s abandonment of all that he had been in order to pursue what Jesus wanted him to become speaks a powerful message. Regardless of social position, personal resources, or long-term ambition, nothing can compare with the fulfillment, joy, and significance of heeding Christ’s call into His service.

Questions for Application
How can Jesus’ followers model His equal (and immeasurable) valuation of all people?

If you were to use Matthew’s spiritual autobiography as a framework for your own testimony, what details would you include about your salvation experience and discovery of God’s calling upon your life?

B. Forgiving Healer

Matthew 9:10-13
Soon after Matthew left his tax collecting table to follow Jesus, he undertook an act of ministry he and the other disciples would share.


Matthew is the key person mentioned, as the host, but all the disciples were clearly involved in the events of the evening, since they were collectively approached by the Pharisees (Matthew 9:10-11). Several details in this story shed light on how Jesus desired His followers to live out the ministry of the Church, both then and today. First, such ministry is not limited to religious leaders. In this instance, the leaders were actually in opposition to Jesus.
Second, ministry to hurting people is not about ceremony but about relationships. Here, a meal was being shared in Matthew’s home. This was an everyday event, not some regulated observance of the Law.
Third, everything being done for the gathered crowd was done with an understanding of their spiritual need. The festivities never overshadowed the redemptive purpose at work (verses 12-13).

Jesus’ response to the
Pharisees help to clarify all three points. First, He let the disciples be active to the point that the Pharisees approached them rather than Him directly. Second, He was invested in the events of the evening, so that the crowd was attracted to Him rather than put off in any way. Third, He used the illustration of a physician treating those who were ill to make it clear that His ultimate purpose was to bring spiritual healing rather than mere material provision.



Like His first disciples, all of Jesus’ followers today are to be catalysts of loving service to those around them. As physical and emotional needs are addressed tangibly and meaningfully, the potential for meeting deep spiritual needs will multiply.


Questions for Application
What opportunities can you identify to offer practical expressions of Christ’s love?

How can believers today avoid categorizing people, as the Pharisees did, and reach out to all
with the gospel?

3. Granting Authority to Disciples
A. Deliverance Modelled

Mark 3:7-12
Mark’s Gospel focuses initially on Jesus’ personal interactions with the first disciples He calls, with specific people He heals, and with the community of Capernaum where He teaches in the synagogue. But in Mark 3, the picture changes. Mark described Jesus’ growing reputation, and he reported that an enormous crowd came from regions near and far to hear Him at the Sea of Galilee (Mark 3:7-8).

Imagine the disciples’ feelings at seeing the multitude. Vast numbers of men, women, and children were clamoring to hear Jesus, to be near Him, and to receive answers to their desperate needs (Mark 3:8, NLT). This was a radically different ministry environment than Matthew’s dinner we discussed earlier. In the midst of this immense crowd, Jesus did not press His disciples into service. He gave them a very simple task perfectly in line with what they had been doing for years launch a small fishing boat from shore so that He Would have a platform from which to speak (verse 9).

Mark also records that Jesus had already been active among the throng, healing many and delivering many from demonic possession (verses 10-12). Yet, at this large-scale gathering of Jesus’ public ministry, He allowed the disciples to observe. They watched Him perform many miracles, perhaps wondering when He would ask them to do something. But His only request was for them to acquire a boat.

The believer today can trust Jesus to provide the same nurturing as we see in His call to discipleship and service among His original disciples. The universal key to success and continued growth is continuing to obey the words and teachings of our Saviour.


Questions for Application
Can you remember an early “boat fetching” kind of directive God gave you that helped prepare you for later service?

How does Mark’s narrative reinforce the truth that the Christian’s identity and mission are closely connected to who Jesus is and what He does?
B. Disciples Empowered
*Mark 3:13-19*
Jesus’ selection of the Twelve from among the growing band of devoted followers may appear to be an act of discrimination, as if Jesus was saying, “I’ve decided to stick with you dozen over here, and the rest of you can go home.” But the ministry of discipleship is about close relationships, and the subsequent multiplication of those relationships. Jesus would invest himself in the Twelve mentioned in Mark 3:13-19, so that they, in turn, in turn could invest in others. Also, unnamed disciples beyond the Twelve remained with Jesus, though in the background.


The Book of Acts shows us how this dynamic worked. After the suicide of a guilt-ridden Judas, the Holy Spirit led the remaining apostles to fill Judas’ position of leadership and service in the Early Church. Acts 1:21-26 notes that this prayerful selection was from among men who had been with Jesus throughout His earthly
ministry–from His baptism by John the Baptist to His ascension.


The Twelve would become living illustrations of how Jesus can use obedient servants to grow His Church and transform fallen humanity. This selection conferred much more than the title of “apostle.” The Twelve were not only called to proclaim the good news, but they were called to minister with spiritual authority. The context of these verses Conveys the idea that the Twelve would have the same anointing to perform the spectrum of miracles Jesus demonstrated. They had come far from merely launching a boat from shore!
*Questions for Application*
Why is it important to view the Twelve as examples rather than exceptions?

What practical steps can believers take today to grow in their ability to minister with Jesus’ authority?

Call to Discipleship 

A life-changing invitation to four fishermen and a tax collector gave them the opportunity to take part in Christ’s world-changing ministry. The Gospels powerfully combine people’s everyday experiences with their eternally significant encounters with Jesus. Jesus still invites people to be radically transformed in relationship with Him and then be used in service to Him.   


The common denominator in Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew’s meetings with Jesus was their immediate obedience. Jesus called them to a personal relationship with Him, and to trust Him to direct their lives. Our obedience can open doors to Kingdom service we could never envision on Our own.

Ministry in Action
Take stock of your tasks and responsibilities and look for ways they might
shape you for Kingdom service.

Take time to listen during your times of prayer and Bible study for the Holy
Spirit to lead you into new opportunities.

Ask God to give you the kind of love for all people that Jesus demonstrated, and to help you demonstrate His love.


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