John 10.1-5 and Matthew 4.18-22 – The call to discipleship
Posted: 2 August 2011 in John, Matthew

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”

“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 fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 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. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

Both of these two passages, one explicitly and one implicitly, speak of the way in which those who have been given to Jesus by the Father will hear his voice and follow him. There is no reason given why precisely these individuals were chosen to be amongst Jesus’ closest disciples; it was the Lord’s good pleasure to call them. Since all four gospels make it clear that Peter was not without his character faults, they were certainly not chosen for their exceptional holiness. What is especially noticable is the way in which those explicitly called by Jesus immediately abandoned their existing lives, and everything they had known before, in order to follow him. All things considered, it was an extremely radical demand which Jesus was making upon them, but they responded nevertheless.

Chapter 4 of Matthew ends with large numbers of people recognising the voice of the true shepherd and following him.

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