The people who met Jesus
Jesus began His work, at last.
After he had defeated the Satan in the desert, he came to the Jordan River again. At that time, John the Baptist was preaching to many people about Jesus saying,
“This is the Messiah I have been talking about. I didn't know him before, but, now, I know surely that he is the Son of God.”
After listening to his sermon, the people rejoiced; ready to meet their awaited Messiah. The next day, when John the Baptist was with Andrew and John, Jesus came to them. John the Baptist introduced Jesus to them as 'the lamb of God'. This meant He was the Son of God, and their Messiah. The two men followed Jesus. Jesus turned them and asked.
"What are you looking for?"
"Where do you live, Rabbi?" they asked.
Jesus replied; "Come and see."
So they went with him and were told about God's good news for the rest of that day. (John 1:31-39)
The next morning, they were very happy on their way home, because they had spent a day with Jesus and heard the good news. They could only speak about Jesus with joy. So one of them, Andrew went to Simon, his brother, and told him.
"We have found the Messiah(that is, the Christ)"(John 1:41).
And he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and made his name again.
"You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas(which, when translated, is Peter)"(John 1:42).
Simon was moved by Jesus' words, so he decided to follow Him. “This one is surely the Messiah who I was waiting for.”
The next day, while Jesus went to Galilee, He found Philip and said to him.
"Come and see"(John 1: 46).
Philip was from the town where Andrew and Peter lived. He had been waiting to meet Him, so that he was delighted to become His disciple. Philip ran to Nathaniel, his friend, to deliver this news.
"We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph"(John 1:45).
But, Nathaniel couldn't believe that Jesus, the Messiah came from Nazareth, since this town was a very evil one at that time.
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"(John 1:46).
Philip told him just “come and see” and brought him to Jesus. Jesus already knew Nathaniel, so he told Philip,
"Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."
"How do you know me?"
"I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you"(John 1:47, 48).
Nathaniel was so surprised to hear this that he confessed to Jesus.
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel"(John 1:49).
After that, Nathanael became Jesus' disciple.
Jesus calls his disciples.
One day, Jesus was taking a walk along the Lake of Galilee. There he saw Peter and his brother Andrew who were fishing in a boat. Jesus said to them.
"Come, follow me, and I'll make you fisher of men"(Matthew 4:19).
Fisher of men! What on earth did that mean? They couldn't understand the meaning.
But Jesus was talking about his mission and purpose here on earth. He came to this world to accomplish salvation. So He used the words, 'the fishers of men', to talk about teaching people the way to the heaven.
Jesus called Peter and Andrew to preach the news from heaven. They, at once, left their nets and went with Him. Not long after, they met James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boats getting their nets ready. Jesus called them, and they stopped all their work, left their nets and father, and followed Jesus.
Like this, Jesus looked for His disciples by Himself. How happy were those selected men He selected?
Anything they lacked from renouncing the world could be satisfied in Jesus.
One day, as He walked alone, He saw a tax collector, named Matthew. He was sitting in his office. In those days, people hated the tax collectors, because they took their money unfairly and often by force?and they lived very luxuriously. Some people even called them 'the cursed people'. But Jesus called the tax collector, Matthew.
"Come and follow me".
Matthew couldn't believe what he heard. He had thought always that he was very evil and bad, so when he heard about Jesus, he didn’t have any hope of salvation. But, at that moment, Jesus was calling his name.
He was really happy. In his uncertain and dark mind, there was light. He left everything he had, at once, and followed Jesus. So Jesus had more and more disciples. They were all different; some of them were fishermen, and others tax collectors. But among them, Jesus chose only 12 men to be his disciples(Luke 5:27, 28).
The twelve disciples.
These are the names of the twelve disciples. (Matthew 10:2-4)
Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother, Andrew, James, son of Zebedee and his brother, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
These disciples were not very educated and great. They had many faults like we do. One of them was called 'the son of thunder', because he got angry with others often. Some of them were very ambitious, so they wanted to get a high position when Jesus would be a king. They were very selfish and arrogant, so they didn't care about their neighbors.
But even though they had been those kinds of people, they changed little by little into good men because they were with Jesus?especially, John, the son of thunder. He became a very amiable man. Peter also changed into a very meek and gentle person. Later on he served as the first disciple among the apostles and preached about Jesus all over the country. His powerful message moved three thousand people's hearts and they were baptized.
Other disciples did great work, too.
Sometimes they were arrested and whipped when they preached the gospel. But they weren't afraid at all, and even to their deaths, they did their best to be good witnesses. They always thought about Jesus and heaven. So even though they were beaten to death, crucified, and speared, they were happy in spite of all this.
Only one person, Judas the Iscariot betrayed Jesus. He was the most educated and intelligent person among them. He worked as an accountant. But he was very greedy and thought about money all the time. He eventually became Satan's servant because he didn't follow Jesus with his whole heart.
How about you? Which apostle do you want to be like, Peter or Judah Iscariot?
Yes, I know certainly that you want to follow Jesus sincerely. The man for the right, brave, meek, and gentle!
If you want to be like Jesus, all of you can be this type of person.
I'll follow Jesus with my whole heart!
The rich young man
When Jesus was preaching the gospel, a man came to Jesus. He asked a question in a very humble way.
"Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"( Matthew 19:16).
This man had been thinking about salvation all the time. Jesus answered kindly and gently looking at him.
“If you want to enter the eternal life, obey the commandments!”
“Which ones?” he asked.
“Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 19:17-19).
Those were the Ten Commandments in the Bible. God gave us this law for our sakes. But this young man thought he had kept them sincerely. He said;
“All these I have kept, what do I still lack?”(Matthew 19:20).
Jesus looked at him a moment and then said,
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, then come, follow me”(Matthew 19:21).
This made him hesitate for a while. He knew that Jesus was right, but since he was rich he couldn't give them up easily. So he went away sad.
Jesus was sorry for him, because he knew that the young man could do great work for him if he followed Jesus and abandoned his wealth. The disciples gave up everything and followed Jesus. They realized everyday that Jesus was a very special person. Even though Jesus only stayed with them for three and half years, his teachings touched their hearts deeply. Daily sermons, stories, and miracles...
Even though the disciples didn't get educated well, they could speak firmly in front of kings, famous scholars, and Greek philosophers. Jesus' teachings were spread first by His disciples, and the believers from Jerusalem to other places, and finally all over the world.
In the four Gospels, we can see all the Jesus' miracles and work.
What are the Gospels? They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the first four chapters of the New Testament.
Jesus is preparing mansions for us in heaven. This is His promise that he made to the disciples before he was crucified. When he finishes everything, he surely will come again with great angels. Then He will take all the believers and ones who have been longing for His second coming to live in heaven with Him. So if we become His disciples now, that day will be a joyous and great day for us.
Jesus is talking to each one of us today when he says;
Why don't you be a Jesus' disciple like Peter?
I really want to be his friend.
In the next chapter, we can meet our friend, Jesus again.