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Sabbath School Lessons on Discipleship
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Called to Discipleship by Jesus *
Introduction: What did it take for you to become a disciple of Jesus?
What will it take on your part to convince others to be Jesus'
disciples? If you are not a disciple, what will it take to convince
you? Our lesson this week continues our exploration of how Jesus
called His disciples and how they responded. Let's dive into the
Bible and learn more!
- Calling the Disciples
- In our prior lessons in this series we looked at how Jesus
called Andrew, Peter, James and John. Let's continue by
reading John 1:43-45. How easy is it to convince Philip
to follow Jesus? (Jesus simply says "Follow me" and he
- What motivates Philip to follow? (Philip believes
that Jesus is the Messiah. We know that because he
says that to Nathanael.)
- Read John 1:46. Nathanael thinks he is getting a mixed
message from Philip. What seems out of place? (Philip
says this is the Messiah, but he also says this is the son
of a guy named Joseph from a terrible town.)
- Read Matthew 2:4-6. What does this say about the
place of origin of the Messiah?
- Read John 7:52. Nazareth is in the region of Galilee.
Does Nathanael have a reasonable theological point?
(If he had done the genealogical research, he would
have found that Jesus was born in Bethlehem - which
accorded with prophecy. (Compare Micah 5:2 with Luke
2:4-7.) I doubt that Philip is much on genealogical
research, but he seems to know his prophecies!)
- Read again John 1:46. How does Philip answer Nathanael's
- What lesson does this teach us in recruiting
- How would you compare launching into a theological
debate to telling a person what Jesus has done in
your life? Which would be more comfortable for you?
Which would be more compelling?
- Read John 1:47. Nathanael is skeptical. How does Jesus
- Is Jesus "buttering him up" by complimenting him?
- When we face skeptics, should we tell them they look
good, or have nice clothes or are obviously smart?
- Read John 1:48-49. What does this add to our discussion
about whether Jesus is "buttering up" Nathanael? (He is
not complimenting Nathanael. Notice how Jesus changes the
issue. Nathanael wants Jesus to prove He is the Messiah.
Jesus turns the discussion to Nathanael's character -
whether he is qualified to be a disciple. Jesus says, "I
know your character." When Nathanael asks "How," Jesus
shows that He is no mere man.)
- How convincing a proof is it that Jesus saw Nathanael
under the fig tree? Would that convince you?
- Read John 1:50-51. Is Jesus merely a good man? What claim
did He make for Himself? (He tells Nathanael that he will
have much better evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.)
- Read Luke 5:1-3. In our first lesson in this series we
studied how Andrew and Simon Peter became disciples. We
commented on how "at once" Simon and Andrew "left their
nets and followed" Jesus ( Matthew 4:18-20). When do you
think this story (in Luke) took place? Before or after
Jesus first called them? (The commentaries are divided on
this. I consulted about twelve commentaries. A third of
them say nothing about the timing. A third say Luke has a
more detailed account of the Matthew 4 call. About a third
say Luke's report is the last of a series of progressive
calls to the disciples.)
- Read Luke 5:4-5. What was wrong with Jesus' suggestion?
(They had been fishing - all night - which was the logical
time to find fish. Jesus, who was a "preacher" and not a
"professional fisherman," gave Peter some professionally
foolish advice. Peter notes that this is bad advice, but
says he will follow it anyway.)
- Notice that Simon Peter calls Jesus "Master," and has
some reason to follow Jesus' advice over his own
professional learning. What does this suggest about
whether this was the original call to discipleship?
(It suggests that this was a later call.)
- Read John 21:1-6. What is the timing of this story? (After
Jesus was crucified and resurrected.)
- What does this tell us about these disciples and
fishing? (They are back to fishing!)
- What does this suggest about the order of the calls?
(I like the idea of progressive calls to these
disciples because it seems more consistent with my
life and theirs. Jesus calls, and I stumble along
(generally speaking) towards obedience. Leaving "at
once" is the goal. But Jesus keeps knocking on the
door to the heart.)
- Read Luke 5:6-7. Why do you think Jesus performed a
miracle to enhance the profits for the job Jesus wanted
Peter to leave?
- Read Luke 5:8-11. What answer does this suggest to my
previous question? (When Jesus performed an amazing
miracle in connection with Peter's profession, Peter knew
this was the real thing. Nothing was faked here. That
miracle changed his heart.)
- What does this suggest about Jesus' call to you to be
a disciple? What does it suggest about the direction
of your life? (Jesus is pursuing Peter and the
others! I think you can ask God to be clear on the
direction to be taken in your life. If He is not
clear, then follow the direction that your talents
and your understanding of God's will (in general)
- Did you notice who are Peter's "partners?" (The whole
group - Peter, James and John have some sort of
- What do you think about Peter and his partners
leaving the financial rewards of the miracle? (It
shows that they have finally gotten the message that
their career is changing.)
- Read Matthew 9:9. What do you know about the "tax
collectors" in Jesus' time? (They were Jews who were
collecting taxes for the Romans.)
- What do you think Jews would think of that? (Rome was
an occupying nation. As a result, they were looked on
- As I understand it, Rome would "bid out" the taxes
for a certain area. The person who won the bid,
would pay Rome the tax bid, and have the authority of
Rome to collect taxes in that area. What problems do
you see in that scheme? (The idea for the bidder was
to make a profit. The more taxes you could collect,
the higher your profit.)
- Normally we think making a profit for producing
something valuable is reasonable and good. What
product was the tax collector producing? (You
can see why the tax collectors were not only
considered traitors, but they were also looked
on as dishonest and greedy.)
- Why would Jesus call such a man to be His disciple?
(Jesus saw something in him - and Jesus was right
because this man wrote the gospel of Matthew. This
also shows you that Jesus wants you for His disciple,
whatever your background.)
- What do we learn about Matthew from the way he
described his call to be a disciple? (He was honest
about his background. He did not add details to make
himself look better. It gives you some idea about how
he approached writing his gospel.)
- Friend, how about you? Will you answer Jesus' call to be
- Next week: Lessons From Would-be-Disciples.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.