Who are these friends of Jesus?
Apart from Jesus early age story of engaging scholars and elders in the Synagogue, not much of His growing up was known except in some cases where some writers claimed that He learned His earthly father’s profession which was carpentry until He was ready for the purpose for which He came. Nevertheless, wherever He goes, He was always doing His Heavenly Father’s business which is preaching. The time came when the actual work was to begin that He began to invite people who saw the miraculous works He was doing and became his followers. Hence the question who are these followers whom He called His friends?
I will say His disciples are his first immediate friends ever known because no matter their sufferings and death, they proclaimed the word of God left behind by their master and teacher to the entire world. Without their selfless services as Jesus was eliminated nothing could have been known or done but God in His infinite mercy, wisdom, and grace made all things possible.
But we thank the Lord for calling these great men that stood the test of time. I hope we all can recall their names whenever we are interrogated to name them. But never mind if you cannot remember their names, I am here to give you their names.
Let’s know their names as well as who they are. That being said I asked the question “Who are these disciples?” And how were they called to follow the Master of wisdom?
In order to respond to these questions and others that may come our way, let us turn to our Big Book of Wisdom, Mark 3:16-19 gave their names as follow:
Simon whom He surnamed Peter, James and John his brother whom Jesus named Sons of Thunder; Andrew, Philip, Thomas; Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Canaanite,, Thaddaeus and Judas Iscariot- the betrayer… whom Matthias replaced after lots were cast on two devoted members who have been with the group and have privy knowledge of all that Jesus was and is to the world and all He has done.
Now let’s also look at the second question, “How were they called into the Ministry?”
Matthew 4:13- 22 explains how Jesus left Nazareth His own country and came to dwell at Galilee – especially in Capernaum by the sea in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali where He began to preach that all should Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee saw two brothers Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He told them to follow Him and He will make them fishers of men and immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
From there, He saw two other brothers – James and John the sons of Zebedee with their father mending their nets and He called them and they too left their boat and their father and followed Him.
Mark 2:13-14 stated that He went out again by the sea and all the multitude came to Him and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, Follow Me so he arose and followed Him.
Mark 2:15 also stated and I quote: “And it came to pass that as Jesus was at meat in His house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many and they followed Him.
Let’s see more passages on this same issue.
Mark 3:13-14 have this to say and I quote; ” And He goeth up into a mountain and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, …
Lets also look how other Gospels stated their call
Luke 5:1-11 narrates the story of how they became His disciples. This was based on the miracles Jesus performed in their lives. They saw God’s mightiness in Him hence they forsook all their professions when He called out to them to follow Him and they did without hesitations.
Let’s also look at their calling in the Gospel according to John 1:35-50. Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”. The two disciples heard him speak and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned and seeing them following said to them, What do you seek?
They said to Him, Rabbi which means Teacher, “Where are you staying?”. He said to them, ‘Come and see”. They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found the Messiah which is translated, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.
When Jesus looked at him, He said, you are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas which means A Stone.
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee and He found Philip and said unto him, Follow Me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, we have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathaniel said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Philip said to him “Come and See”. Jesus saw Nathaniel and said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there’s no deceit.
Nathaniel said to Him, How do you know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.
Nathaniel answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”. And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Matthew was a tax collector. He is also known as Levi. Matt.9:9 says thus: And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of Custom and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he arose and followed Him.
We have highlighted how they were called, let’s also see why they were called to follow.
Reasons for their Ordination
The Bible reported further in Mark 3:14-15 thus, “… that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach. And to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils.
So we see the reasons why Jesus have to select apostles/disciples that have to go through the period of training under Him. Without being equipped for these period of time, and if not for the gift of the Holy Spirit, they could have achieved nothing ordinarily. Because soon after the death of Jesus, they were afraid of their lives and some returned to their businesses while some were hiding away for fear of death but the promised Spirit of God came upon them on Pentecost and every thing turned around for the salvation of many today. To God be the glory.
What were the miracles Jesus performed to gain so many followers?
Luke 5:1-11 is one of such scenario that turned illiterate fishermen to Disciples and Apostles of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and who acquired honor both on earth and in heaven.
And it came to pass that as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret. And saw two ships standing by the lake, but the fishermen were gone out of them and were washing their nets.
And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people out of the ship.
Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word, I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they in-closed a great multitude of fishes; and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came and filled both the ships so that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished and all that with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.
And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not! from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
We can notice from the passage that Jesus went out there to preach the word of God and the multitude pressed on Him hence He requested for the boat to stay out them to be able to share the word of God.
Now remember, that before He went out to seek for these friends, He just ended a 40 day and 40 night fasting and prayers where He was even tempted by the devil in many ways but He never fell to the tempters snare.
The Bible also recorded in Luke Gospel Chapter 6:12-17 that; “And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom He also named Peter and Andrew his brother…. And he came down with them and stood in the plain and the company of his disciples and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases..
The above passage indicates that Jesus did not just get up and choose these disciples but was led by the Spirit of God. Let us take note that these were not the only followers of Christ as there were others who met His needs in various ways. Lazarus and his family were also his friends but were not His disciples. Jesus also had secret followers who disguise or hide themselves to seek for help and hear the word of God from Him, some of who also showed up one way or the other during his death and burial.
Jesus also appointed 70 elders along with his disciples and sent them out on official assignment to disseminate the word of God and to heal the sick wherever they were given audience and even among the twelve He has some special ones who were always at every walk with Him such as Peter, James and John. At most times Peter was always with Him either interrogating Him for His speeches because they never understood Jesus mission. They thought the Messiah has come to dwell and rule here on earth with them but they never knew He was going to die and leave them for the task he has prepared them for the three and half years He spent with them.
More of this will be coming your way, Please remain connected to this website and be filled spiritually and you will never be the same. Salvation is Free, Jesus is still calling us today. There is so much to be done in the house of God, answer your call today while it is still day. Fell free to contact me and I will be more than happy to respond to you.