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The Men Jesus Chose #1

 top  The Men Jesus Chose #1    Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Men Jesus Chose

                    The Men Jesus Chose  #1

A study of their character and the message they proclaimed

               By, James And Mary Lee Thornton


1. Introduction

2. The Choice Of The Twelve Was Made After Prayer

3. The First Step To Apostleship, Followers

4. The Call To Discipleship, Andrew, Peter, John, Nathaniel, Phillip

5. The Call Of Matthew

    5a. Matthew Becomes A Publican

    5b. Pulled Back From The Pit

6. James Son Of Alphaeus

7. Changed From Glory To Glory

8. Andrew, The First To Follow Jesus

9. Simon Peter

    9a. A Miraculous Catch Of Fish

    9b. A Storm At Sea

    9c. Peter Walks On The Sea

10. Peter Backsliding Into Business

     10a. The Forces (Causes) That Lead Peter To Go Fishing

     10b. Are These Forces Still At Work Today

     10c. Is It Possible For Us To Be Caught-up And ‘Go-A-Fishing’

11. Steps Jesus Used To Recover Simon Peter

     11a. Failure Fishing

     11b. Secret Of Success

     11c. Come And Dine

     11d. A Fire Of Coals

12. Two Different Words For Love

      12a. Lovest Thou Me

      12b. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Jesus Called And Chose Twelve:

Luke 6:12. “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.
13. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

The twelve were handpicked by Jesus, and became missionaries of a message that changed the world. We could sub-title this study The Miralce Of The Twelve." We want to know these men Jesus chose, in whose honor Cathedrals have been built, and whose names have been used in naming multitudes.

The miracle was that principally through their efforts, within three and a half centuries, proud imperial Rome yielded and bowed to the glad tidings of the redeemer from Galilee.

A fact we cannot deny is that no body of men, large or small, no parliament that ever sit, no kingdom which ever reigned, no army that marched has ever exercised so vast an influence on the world as that small circle of ordinary men whom Jesus called, trained, commissioned and empowered to take His Gospel to the whole world beyond.

To look at it from a human standpoint it seemed hopeless. The Twelve had such small means for the great tasks before them. They were referred to as “ignorant and unlearned men” (Acts 4:13).

To all appearances no mission seemed more hopeless than theirs. They had no social status, no organization behind them. No wealth of their own, nor any wealthy backers. How could they expect success in the world-wide campaign ahead of them?

They became followers of a Man who was born in poverty, spent most of His years in obscurity. Who never had any position in life and never wrote a book. He was crucified as a blasphemer between two thieves at the age of 33.

How could this small group of men expect to have any impact with their witness as followers of one who was despised and rejected of men? Yet the Disciples went forth to summon the world to His feet, and the world came. The world is still coming for in spite of the ungodliness of our age there are millions today who love This Man of Galilee.

We hope you enjoy this study we have undertaken. We hope you will develop a greater love and admiration for these men whom Jesus called to be with Him. We want to walk with these men, as they follow Jesus.

We want to listen to some of their comments. We want to see with their eyes, think with their minds, and above all burn with their passion for the Master. This above all we hope to accomplish in this study.

Thomas Carlyle said, “Great men taken up in any way are profitable company.”
When we company with the Apostles we company and are in fellowship with some of the world’s greatest men.

Dr. J.D. Jones said “Among those born of woman none are greater than the Twelve. Their zeal, Devotion, and sacrificial love has graven their names on the foundations of the New Jerusalem, and has set them on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Sometime during the 14th century a sculptor purchased and had transported to his shop a huge block of marble. The sculptor set to work with his hammer and chisels, but one day a hidden flaw, a defect in the block of marble caused a large portion of the center to fall away. His work ruined the sculptor abandoned the block of marble.

For almost a century it lay among a pile of rocks which had been chipped from other stones. One day another sculptor walked among the abandoned stones. A master sculptor, the world’s greatest sculptor, Michelangelo. He purchased the block which had been ruined and discarded, had it brought to his shop and studied it.

Finally one day he had it stood upon the end and picked up his hammer and chisels and began to chip away the unwanted stone. Days went by and the master sculptor began to smile as one of his greatest works emerged from the discarded and flawed block of marble, David and His sling.

Using the portion which had fallen away to get the curve in the body of David, one of his greatest works. Like Michelangelo, Jesus saw the angel in the rough, uncut marble. “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: Thou shalt be called Cephas,” which is by interpretation a stone (John 1:42).

When we look at these men, whom Jesus chose, it seems as if the Divine Potter had chosen very common clay out of which to fashion His witness and workmen. If there was anything extra ordinary about them only He could see it.
John 2:24.
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

While most of them, earned their livelihood by ordinary occupations, and were for the most part respectable men with good morals. There was not the slightest hint of the qualities of fitness for the great service they were to fulfill. They became twelve of the strongest most noble, and most fearless and serviceable men except for Judas Iscariot who have appeared in human history.

The transformation of the twelve was probably the greatest of Jesus’ miracles. They were to certify the facts of their Lord’s life, death and resurrection.

Peter and the other Apostles said:
Acts 5:30. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

It was necessary to have eye-witness whose testimony would be convincing. To them our Lord showed many infallible proofs of His resurrection. So it is not what we are when we respond to His call but what by His grace and power He can make us as we follow Him.

When Jesus called those first disciples, He said, “Follow me, and I will make you”
There are no self made Christians in His service, they are all Christ made.

The choice of each was of his own sovereign will and plan.

Mark 3:13. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 

Those called were not consulted before hand nor did He seek anyone’s advice upon the qualifications of those He called. The choice was of His own sovereign will and purpose. Their appointment was carefully fore-ordained, deliberate, and momentous and with far reaching results. In connection with our Lord’s appointment of Judas Iscariot and His foreknowledge of men we will deal with that fully.

2. The Choice Was Made After Prayer:

The Men Jesus Chose: A study of their character and moral training, what they were like when Jesus called them, their occupation, Their temperament, nature, disposition, and etc.

Luke 6:12. “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.
13. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”

All night long He called the names of the one’s who had followed Him for the first several months of His ministry. He had watched them and few prayers had left His lips without concern for the ultimate choice of laborers to help Him to gather in the harvest. He wanted Heaven’s guidance in making the choice. Many times in John 17 He refers to them as being given to Him by His Father.

The twelve were God called God chosen and God given. Thereafter, His intercession was for the twelve whom He chose that they might be separated from the world and unto him and bring forth fruit (John 15:16).

So we can but wonder that that night on the mountain, spent with God, was of such monumental importance as Jesus sought guidance. Can we say that all our decisions in life are preceded by intense and prolonged prayer for guidance?

The choice was limited to twelve, no more no less.

Thousands had followed Him, some from great distances and at great sacrifice. Day after day they had followed, but now many were beginning to go back to their homes and jobs (John 6:66).

His ministry was almost half over and the mantle would fall on someone to carry on His earthly ministry. Remember for Moses it fell upon his trusted minister or Joshua who had been on the mountain with him when God had given the Ten Commandments.

Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent to spy out the land of Canaan. So the choice was not made until Joshua had shown himself faithful and had many years of service.

At the death of Moses:
Deuteronomy 34:9. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him:….

The mantle of Elijah fell upon Elisha, who 7 years before had broken up his plow and followed Elijah to become a common servant.
2 Kings 3:11……….Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

Here we have the calling and the commissioning. The commissioning comes only after one is faithful to their calling. What a pity but some who would have inherited the blessing did not receive it because they failed between their calling and commissioning.

Esau bowed at the altar of fleshly appetite. Gehazi fell before the giant of covetousness. Judah Iscariot, who would have had his name engraved upon one of the foundations of the New Jerusalem, who would have set upon one of the twelve thrones “was marred in the hands of the potter.”

Judas Iscariot was not there when Jesus gave the Great Commission in
Matthew 28:19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Luke 24:47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.   

The Work of God is not dependant upon any One Individual, One Family, One Church, One Nation or One Generation.
A Jacob for an Essau
A David for a Saul
A Samuel for an Eli
A Matthias for a Judas Iscariot

When His chosen Bride, the Jewish nation failed Him, He chose one from “Every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” “Redeemed us to God by His blood.”
Revelation 5:9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

So now with His days on earth limited He chose Twelve Men to carry on His work to establish a Church to preach the Gospel unto every nation. Twelve Men, this was a considerable retune for a Teacher. Three would have been a respectable following. Six men would attract attention. Twelve Men was considered remarkable. Every village must have turned out to see what it meant to band Twelve Men of character under one Leader.

For a time, there seemed to be nothing for them to do. Now they have no occupation they have given up their fishing, tax gathering, and their agriculture. They carry on no Business. They simply walk on around and behind their Leader, talking to each other or to Him. When Jesus speaks to the people who gather, they listen just like the others.

Outside His work of redemption, Jesus did His greatest work as Teacher. Without His teaching, training, leading men into a better life, No doubt He would have long ago been forgotten. For a time the Twelve were Disciples or followers, or learners. They had to learn before they could teach. So they followed and watched Jesus day by day.

Jesus said:
Matthew 11:29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

These Twelve were to be the instruments to fulfill. (Isaiah 11:6--12) The prophet speaks of the gathering of the remnant of Israel from the four corners or the earth.

In answer to Peter when he inquired as to their rewards of following Him, Jesus says,
Matthew 19:28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

3. The First Step To Apostleship, Followers:
Andrew, Peter, James, John, Matthew:

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 fishers.
19. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I 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.

Matthew 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.” (A Follower before Apostleship)

There are four records given in the New Testament of the Name of the Twelve Apostles. Three are found in the Gospels, one in Acts, each list varies a little from the other. and followed him.

Matthew 10:2-4                         Mark 3:16-19
1. Simon Peter                           Simon Peter
2. Andrew                                  James
3. James, Son Of Zebedee     John
4. John                                       Andrew
5. Philip                                      Philip
6. Bartholomew                        Bartholomew
7. Thomas                                  Matthew
8. Matthew                                Thomas
9. James, Son Of Alphaeus    James
10. Lebbaeus, Thaddaeus      Thaddaeus
11. Simon The Canaanite       Simon The Canaanite
12. Judas Iscariot                   Judas Iscariot

Luke 6:14-16                          Acts 1:13-26
1. Simon Peter                        Peter
2. Andrew                               James
3. James                                 John
4. John                                    Andrew
5. Philip                                   Philip
6. Bartholomew                    Thomas
7. Matthew                             Bartholomew
8. Thomas                               Matthew
9. James                                James
10. Simon                               Simon
11. Judas                               Judas
12. Judas Iscariot                Matthias

Peter, which seems to be the most prominent character, heads every list of the twelve. The Scriptures records the fact that, “Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). The list of the twelve does not contain the name of a single Nobleman, or a Rabbi, or a man of great wealth. If the rich young ruler had been willing to follow Jesus, he might have become an Apostle.

But it was lowly men, humble men, chosen maybe because they were the best that could be had. He chose those who were teachable—who could be molded as the clay in the potter’s hand. Some of the greatest Spiritual Giants had no formal training. Like John Bunyan in the 17th century and John Wesley in 18th century.

The call to the task of an Apostle came in a variety of ways. At the beginning of His Ministry Jesus found His prospective Disciples where they were laboring for their daily bread, and called them to follow Him.

Let us talk about the first step of Discipleship. First there is the Master’s invitation “Follow Me,” Then there is the crisis of personal decision. A definite, personal commitment to Jesus Christ – This is the first step. Without this commitment, our walk is unsteady, unsure if this is really what we want to do.

Jesus asked them to leave Home, Father, Mother and Business and follow him.  “Follow me, and I will make you ……..”

Unless we are truly forgiven we cannot follow Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, ……
Conversion precedes the call to His work.

Service is not acceptable to God unless there is first of all Salvation. Many are active in religions work who, seek to serve in order to be saved. That’s like putting the cart before the horse. We serve because we have been saved. We must be committed to Christ before He will commit us with the spirit’s power for service. To the eleven faithful committed Disciples Jesus says,
Luke 24:49. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Jesus calls that He might send. When Jesus saved us it was not that we might spend all our time in fellowship with Him, although such fellowship is or prime necessity.
Sad to say but some rejoice in the call then fold their arms and forget about sending.

But the end of His call, the reason is that we might do His work – Sending--.
Proclaim His name, run His errands, further His cause, visit the sick, see to the need of the hungry and set the captive free. There is so much misery in the world; Jesus spent His short life time helping others. He left the Church to carry on this work.

4. The Call To Discipleship: Andrew, Peter. James, John

Let us follow the call to discipleship in the Gospels. The very first meeting of  five men who would eventually become a part of the Apostolic Band, is recorded in the First Chapter of John’s Gospel 1:35-51. It seems that Andrew, Peter, John, Nathaniel, and Phillip were the first to meet Jesus. They had made the journey to the Jordan River where John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing.

While they were there Jesus came also to be baptized by John and when they heard John exclaim “Behold The Lamb Of God,” they followed Jesus that day and spent some time with Him. These men were all from a small town on the Sea of Galilee, named Bethsaida.

I thought it so strange that such an important little town could disappear from the map but not from history. No man can identify the location of the little fishing village where six of the most famous men the world had ever known called home. At least four homes were blessed by their call to Apostleship. Later Jesus was to pronounce a curse upon Bethsaida (Matthew 11:21).

After this first meeting they all seemed to return to their homes and to their occupations. A Job means security, and bread on the table. A job is a status symbol—do we work for someone else, or is the business our own? This is what identifies us in the world, and these men returned to work.

I’m sure that they could not get that time of fellowship they had spent with Jesus off their minds. Something about this man, whom John calls, “The Lamb Of God,” seemed to be speaking to them. They went through a period of Soul-Searching, of Meditation, before their actual calling. It was a time for thorough soul-searching, thinking about their experience with Him.

Several weeks later, after making the rounds preaching and teaching Jesus once again came into their lives.

Mark 1:16. Now as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

The preaching of the Gospel is compared to casting a net into the sea for fish. It is plain that, in the pursuit of his calling, the fisherman has no power to make any separation between the good fish and the worthless. (Matthew 13:47-50)

He has little or no insight into what is going on beneath the surface of the water, so with the ‘Fisher of Men.’ He deals with the world spiritual and invisible; how then can he be fully conscious of the results of his work?

God’s Ministers must take lesson from the Fishermen of the Sea of Galilee. They must try to know thoroughly the portion of the work assigned to them, as the Fishers knew every corner of the lake. They must study the art of winning souls as the fishermen studies how best to allure the fish into their nets.

They must be willing to work hard, to toil all the night. They must work on patiently even when they seem to be taking nothing. But they must have confidence in the Lord’s promise and expect by His grace and in His own good time to “Enclose a great multitude of fishes,” that is, to draw many souls to Christ.

Remember we mentioned a time for thought. God does not want us to rush into something without our minds being involved in it. Remember He sent some home to count the cost. (Luke 14:25--33) Between the first meeting in John 1 and this meeting by the Lake was a time for thought.

In the mind of Peter, Andrew, James, and John many troubling thoughts arose.
1. Is this really the Messiah?
2. How can we know for sure? He must prove Himself.
3. Would we, being fishermen and not Noblemen, be accepted into His fellowship?
4, I’ve got my family, my Father to think about.
5. What about this Business, my lively-hood? A lot of hard work in it.
6. What about food, raiment and shelter?
7. And above all will He fill this spiritual hunger inside of me?

During the time of their Soul Search:
Luke 5:1. 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,
2. And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3. 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.
 4. 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.
6. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7. 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.
8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10. 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.
11. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

5. The Call of Matthew In Capernaum:


Matthew The Publican

Luke 5:27. And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.
28. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
29. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Matthew 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. 

Mark 2:14. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

And Levi left all, rose up, and followed Jesus. Levi made Jesus a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. We want to look at the background of the men, especially Matthew, whom Jesus chose to follow Him.

We want to think of their personalities, attitudes, occupation, and religious as well as their political beliefs. Remember we all bring these with us as we come to Christ. Many factors and events have played on our lives and these all have helped to shape our thinking and condition of our soul when Christ found us.

Some are ‘hardened’ by the circumstances which play upon them. Some leave good Christian homes, with righteous up bringing, and for some unknown reason go into the depths of sin. But Jesus said, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  (Matthew 9:13)

And that’s why Levi, or Matthew, got his call from Jesus to follow Him. The name ‘Levi’ was given to him, most likely, by his Father – A Hebrew name from the son’s of Jacob. The Galilean name ‘Matthew’ was probably given to him by his Mother, it meant ‘Gift from God.’ Raised by such Godly parents Levi or Matthew, learned the Holy Scriptures.

This was indicated in his Gospel so many times when, in page after page, he used the phrase, “That the scriptures might be fulfilled,” Levi’s Godly parents must have been heart broken when he chose a profession of such shameful, and disgraceful repute as orthodox Jews deemed that of a Publican to be.

His very name, Levi, related to the priestly order, indicated his membership in the tribe set apart for the worship and service of God (Numbers 3:6). His name ‘Levi’ means “joined” (Genesis 29:34). It was the name given to the third son of Leah to Jacob. In Numbers 18:1-2 The Tribe of Levi was ‘joined’ to Aaron for Priesthood Ministry forever.

So Matthew was born to serve the Lord, Family, Home, Background and Nation.
Alphaeus and Mary took him to Jerusalem and presented him in the same temple which Jesus was presented in at age 12. How joyful was their hearts as they returned to Capernaum after the sacrifice was made that day.

A son named Levi ‘joined’ to the Lord. Matthew ‘A gift from God,’ what more could one ask? Sometime during this period another son was born which would be called ‘James the Less.’ We will discuss him at a latter time.

5a. Matthew Becomes A Publican:

We do not know all that happened in Matthew’s heart to cause him to take the turn in the road of his life which he took. And in the years that followed as he sat at the receipt of custom, adding up his ill-gotten gains. Levi must have been haunted by the vision of the haggard face and dry-eyed grief of his noble Father.

And by the tense, quivering features of his saintly Mother, over their son’s despicable position. To think that their son, who had brought them such joy, had, because of his love for mammon, taken the hire of the Alien, the enemy, He became the pawn of the Romans. And found himself ‘joined’ by the ‘Gilded Fetters’ of the Roman State, a golden opportunity to become rich.

It must have been a heavy cross for Mary and Alphaeus. Yes this is the story of the original prodigal. Levi became not a Priest but a Publican one of Caesar’s Toll-men. Jews looked upon Publicans as a social outcast, a renegade from the National Faith, and a betrayer of their Messianic hope, an oppressor.

Their law offered them no place of repentance. The Bible grouped together “Publicans and Harlots,” and “Publicans and Sinners.” (Matthew 9:11 & 21:31) In his desire to gain tainted money think of what Matthew lost. He sold his home circle and placed himself outside the fellowship of his loved ones, his Orthodox Jewish friends, he was an outcast.

He sold his country and entered the service of the oppression of Rome. The flame of patriotism was quenched by a baser love-- a traitor. He sold his conscience because he knew this was a dishonest profession. Lust for money quieted the inner voice. He sold his faith. His very name ‘Levi’ was a link with a Godly Ancestry.

He severed the ties which ‘joined’ him to the Law and Commandments and ‘joined’ himself to paganism. Yes, Matthew had been dead for a long while because honor had been sold and conscience was all but stifled. The worst of money is that so often it cost so much to get.

5b. Pulled From The Pit:

Psalms 40:1. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

One of the most interesting things about the call of the Disciples is that it came to them where they were. They do not have to dress up and go to Church to meet Him. Matthew was sitting at his table attending to his business as a customs officer when Jesus came and called him to follow Him.

At this seat Matthew was well aware of all the news. Matthew checked out every stranger who came to town. What kind of business they were in. As the weeks and months passed, more and more news reached Matthew concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

Miracles and Healings --- A woman with an issue of blood, a man with a withered hand, a man who had palsy was lowered through the roof. A Centurion made an appeal unto Him to heal a servant who was dear unto him. A leprous man approached Him “If thou wilt thou canst make me whole.”

Matthew was most likely a listener in the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus may have looked him in the eye when he said, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” His besetting sin. So Matthew sat at the Seat of Customs and thought. All this took place in Capernaum Matthew’s home town.

No one had been turned away. Matthew had in his heart already become a Disciple of Jesus before that great day. But could he ever hope for personal recognition and the call to Discipleship. But that day Jesus looked into his eyes once again and read the secret of his heart. Follow Me!”          

Matthew celebrates with a feast the hour in which Jesus made him a sharer in His work. No doubt he rejoiced when another ‘Publican’ climbed a sycamore tree to see his redeemer pass his way. Matthew would receive a higher call to Apostleship. Later in life, after years of service for his Master, Matthew would write the greatest story ever told.  

6. James Son Of Alphaeus:

James, Son Of Alphaeus

Matthew 10:3. “….and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, ..”
Mark 15:40. (At the foot of the cross) “….and Mary the mother of James the less, ..”

In the last lesson we wrote about his more famous brother, Matthew. We do not know when or how James the Less became a disciple. But he is mentioned in every list of the Twelve Apostles which is given in the Bible.

Although no single incident is written of this son of Alphaeus, we have only his name, No word or deed is preserved for us as one chosen to be an Apostle by our Lord after a night of prayer. One can wonder, did his brother Matthew recommend Jesus to him, or was it the other way around, did he tell Matthew about Jesus. What ever the way they got acquainted with Jesus, it brought a great family into fellowship with Jesus.

There was something about James The Less which prompted Jesus to include him, among the twelve. Jesus had confidence in him and sent him forth to preach the Gospel, teach the way of life, to heal the sick and to cast out demons. Jesus knew that James the Less could be relied upon to render faithful yet unsung unheralded service.

No one left us the story of his life and work. James The Less lived and died, and vanished from the scene of action, past all tracing, as far as the sacred record goes. The Acts of the Apostles mentioned his name only once.

To look at some of these men, with so little Biblical information given about them, is like a little wanting to see a ball game where the field is enclosed all the way around. He finds a small knot-hole and presses his eye to it to get a small view of the game. Here we have our eye pressed up to the knot-hole to see what God will give us.

James The Less I do not feel that he was given this nickname because he was lacking in ability or service. He was probably short of stature. We could call him a background Disciple. As far as we know he never caused his Master any anxiety by backsliding, doubt, or misunderstanding.

James The Less,  The son of Alphaeus represents a long line of Disciples of whom no earthly record would be kept, of whom the world would not be worthy. Many whose names would not be remembered beyond their quiet and faithful and unsung ministry in his Church. Jesus in His insight and wisdom and love found a place for James The Less.

We can take courage that He, who ordained the Twelve has a place for the vast majority of us who have only one talent. Some of the greatest forces in nature are silent and unseen.

Perhaps the greatest virtue of James The Less were;
1. He went where he was sent by Jesus.
2. Fought the good fight of faith.
3. Finished his course with courage.
4. Kept the faith without any thought of applause.

Unrecorded are his labors but they will not go unrewarded. The greatest reward is to hear the judge say well done. We think of Missionaries in lonely places, Sunday school Teachers, Workers in poor corners of the city, visitors to the lonely, the sick and the needy so content with humble, yet hard service. 2 Corinthians 6:9 “As unknown, and yet well known; …..” (Unknown here, well known up there).

After all is said and done the Apostles were not the real workers in the Church but Christ. Had the Apostles been all important, the Holy Spirit would have had minute and detailed accounts of their life and work. Very little is said even of the more outstanding Disciples, others are seemingly dismissed in absolute silence.

The reason: the Holy Spirit insistence upon the center of attention being the all important one the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not I, but Christ be honored, loved and exalted.
Not I, but Christ be seen, be known and be heard.
Not I, but Christ in every look and action.
Not I, but Christ in every thought and word.

Christ only Christ, ere long will fill my vision.
Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see;
Christ only Christ, my every wish fulfilling.
Christ only Christ, my all in all.

James the Less, the son of Alphaeus, found recompense of reward in service though unknown service. 

7. Changed From Glory To Glory:

In this part of The Study Of The Men Jesus Chose we want to take note of the gradual change which took place in their lives. Paul called it From Glory To Glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).” This change only takes place through daily association with Jesus Christ, and will take place in every life that attaches itself to Him.

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 fishers.
19. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I 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.

A Few Months Later
Luke 6:13. “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John,” Philip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once gave this definition of a weed. “A weed is a plant out of place.” But later in life after he had studied Botany, which is a study of plant life. He was very impressed with the many thousands of species and classes of plants which Botanist had already classified.

He wrote “a new definition of a weed.” “A weed is a plant not yet understood.” It is easy to classify Fishermen of Galilee as “Apostles out of place” Then maybe addNot yet understood.” I feel that the more we know about these men whom Jesus chose the better we can understand them.

From rough outspoken Fishermen, renegade tax collectors, zealots, backward and unbelieving men, Jesus would fashion the greatest group of religious leaders the world would ever see. From Fisherman to Apostle, from tax gatherer to Apostolic writer, from Sons of thunder to an Apostle of love – seemingly impossible.   

That is until we realize the one thing that is most influential in the change which took place in their lives. We will simply identify that one thing as The Call of God We say that helpful men must be carefully looked up. Put out a search for men to meet certain of our qualifications.

The scripture expression is Raised Up.”
Judges 3:9.And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.
10. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed……….”

The Lord “raised up” Moses, He “raised up” David, and He “raised up” Pharaoh.
The Lord needed a King to replace Saul. Did He send to the schools of knowledge and wisdom? Did He call one of the son’s of the Prophets? Did He consider one of the men of war, a captain, a mighty man of valor?

Psalms 78:70. He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71. From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

There is no denying that it is the settled principle in Divine government. God will leave nothing to accident. Never, in any age has He waited for the coming man to arrive. When the Lord is ready for his presence, He will summon him to lead.

And so far in the records of the human race in every great emergency the coming man was already on hand only nobody knew it. The call of God is sufficient. Jehovah – shad-dah-ee our God is enough. The Call of God is all that is needed to render the most unlikely individual instantly notable.

Twelve men selected from among hundreds to be a witness of the mission of Jesus Christ. Called out in their mature middle life and hurried into Public notice. They were actuallyRaised Up.” Jesus set about to reproduce Himself in their minds and lives and to take charge of their unfitness and triumph over all their shortcomings.

Later men were to take note of them and remark “They had been with Jesus.”
Acts 4:13. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

What mighty change was wrought at Pentecost! The power the Apostles received was not something but someone.
John 14:17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The story of the Book of Acts can be told in three related lines.
1. The Lord Jesus ‘going up,’
2. The Holy Spirit ‘coming down,’
3. The Apostles ‘going out.’

Acts 4:33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

The Spirit Power is never manifested unless the Word He inspired is preached.
Preachers, who doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts, will never turn the World upside down. Hundreds of present day Preachers never click, simply because theirs is not the Blood-Red Message of the early Church.

 Paul says,
1 Corinthians 15:3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  

8. Andrew, The First To Follow Jesus:


John 1:40. “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”

Matthew 10:2. “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother;”

If there was no more to be said about Andrew than what we have just read it would be enough to fill a library with books. After all, was there a greater soul ever won to Christ than Simon Peter? So right off we could call Andrew The Father Of Personal Evangelism. How happy Andrew must have been at Pentecost to gaze out upon a sea of upturned faces listening to Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon.

A Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball urged a young Boston shoe salesman to accept Christ – A soul winner. All that he knew of him was that his name was Moody. How overwhelmed the teacher would have been if he had known that the boy was destined to become Dwight L. Moody one of the greatest Evangelist of the Nineteenth century. Two continents were rocked nearer to God. What a thrill to lead a soul to Christ. We never know what God will do with them, Witness for Jesus, teach a Bible study, I’m saved because of one.

Andrew, whose name means “manliness.” Andrew was a manly man, as were the rough and hardy Fishermen of his day. -- Manliness --- He is almost always referred to in the scriptures “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” Although overshadowed by his older brother he is always mentioned in the first four names in all the list of the Twelve.

A Disciple of John the Baptist, we first meet Andrew in Bethabara beyond Jordan when John the Baptist was baptizing, some 40 or 50 miles from his home in Galilee.
John 1:28. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Andrew’s mind was full of Old Testament Prophecies and he was very interested when he heard of a New Movement down the valley of the Jordan. Some others had also made the journey down to hear John the Baptist Preach, Simon Peter, John, Philip and Nathaniel.

They heard something that day that was far different from the Synagogue Ministry which was cold, formal and lifeless. John the Baptist preached repentance. John said, “I baptize with water,…” Andrew and his companions made their way down into the water to be baptized, A Convert of John The Baptist.

John 1:29. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

This same thing happened again the next day and from that day forward Andrew followed Jesus. So Andrew along with John had the honor of being the First Disciple to follow Jesus. Andrew brought others to Jesus. First he findeth his own brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. (John 1:41.)

Andrew Found A Lad With A Lunch Sack:
John 6:8. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 
9. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many. 
10. And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

Again John tells the story:
John 12:20. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. What a beautiful opportunity we have to, Go and tell Jesus.”

Jesus told the man out of whom He had cast legions of devils “Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee.” And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. And it came to pass, that when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him: for they were all waiting for Him. (Luke 8:39-40)

The last mention of Andrew in the New Testament we find him in the upper room at Pentecost. Although Andrew was the first to follow Jesus it was to be that he was relegated to a lesser role or position on the Apostolic Honor Roll.

The position of honor went to Peter, James and John. There is far too many who will not play in the band unless they can beat the big drum. Who will not work unless given a prominent position, I do not think that Andrew ever envied Peter.

Andrew’s Old Testament hero could have been Benaiah, one of David’s might men.
(2 Samuel 23:20-23)  “These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honorable than the thirty, but attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.”

9. Simon Peter:

Simon Peter

John 1:42. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

2 Peter 1:1. Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

There is about 40 years that have passed between the first scripture we read and the last one. The last scripture 1 Peter 1:l. is written shortly before Simon Peter’s death
2 Peter 1:14. “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

Told to him by his Lord in,
John 21:18. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Ancient tradition tells us that Simon Peter followed his Lord until, in like fashion, on a cross; he paid the supreme price for his Apostleship. Nearly 40 years in the service of His Master. How I wish we had a record of everyday of his life.

The four Gospels are full of Simon Peter. Only the name of our Lord Himself comes up more often than Simon Peter’s. No Disciple speaks so often or as much as Peter. Our Lord speaks oftener to Peter than to any other of His Disciples. Sometimes in praise, sometimes in blame, no Disciple is so pointedly reproved by Our Lord as Peter, and no Disciple is more honored. No Disciple ever so boldly confessed and acknowledged our Lord as Peter did so often.

No one ever intruded, and interfered, and tempted Him as often as Peter did. Jesus spoke words of approval and praise and even blessing to Peter the like of which He never spoke to any other man. He said harder things to Peter than He ever said to any other Disciple, unless it was to Judas.

No man ever had a greater consciousness of his sins that did Simon Peter. On one occasion he asks the Lord to “depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Jesus stayed with him. On another occasion “He went out and wept bitterly.” Yet again, “Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, He girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked) and did cast himself into the sea.” Simon Peter became the greatest soul winner in the early Church. With so great a subject as the life of Simon Peter we must limit our study to only a few incidents.

1. Simon Peter was a fisherman and, a native of the small town of Bethsaida.
2. His Father’s name was Jona. “Bar Jona” Bar means “Son” and Jona means John.
3. Simon is a shortened form of Simeon which was the name of one of the sons of Jacob.

The name Simon comes to us from the period of the Maccabees. Nine different men in the New Testament bear the name Simon. It is interesting to note that James, the Lord’s brother, calls him Simeon (Acts 15:14). Our Lord gave him a new name the very first time He saw him. “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A Stone.” (John 1:42)   

Isn’t it strange that Paul is the only New Testament writer which recognized him by this new name, Cephas? Five times. Maybe it’s because that during the story in the four Gospels he had not quite become the “Rock” which Jesus said he would become. Peter, a descriptive Greek name (Rock) is the name we know him best by.

We see more human nature at work in Simon Peter than any other Disciple. He was hasty in his remarks, always speaking before he thought, but just as quick to repent when rebuked by our Lord. Simon Peter was a Fisherman by trade. A man of the sea where strength will and self assertion are most useful to put one ahead. We can imagine his loud booming voice was familiar to almost everyone around the Sea of Gennesaret.

I would like to discuss with you four Sea-Episodes in the call and training of Simon Peter.

9a. First Episode-A Miracaleous Catch Of Fish:

Luke 5:4. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5. 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.
6. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7. 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.
8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

Our Lord used extraordinary means to turn ordinary men into Apostles. Miracles were a part of His life as they were to become a part of the Life of the Apostles.

9b. Second Episode –A Storm at Sea:

Mark 4: 35. Tells us that “When even was come,” or the night was approaching. It also tells us that it was Jesus’ suggestion to “pass over unto the other side.” (So whatever happens they were in the will of God).
36. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.”
37. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

The Weary Christ:
He had preached all those wonderful parables. All day long He had preached. “The multitude pressed upon Him to hear the word.” He had not taken time out to eat. Preaching in hot, stifling atmosphere was exhausting. With our Lord preaching was no cheap and easy business—and to no preacher worthy of his calling.

Preachers are ambassadors for Christ—beseeching men and women—it is serious business. There is no vocation so burdensome, so toilsome, so exacting, and so costly. It puts a strain on the body, the mind, the heart, the spirit—it takes blood, sweat, tears, and agony to perform rightly.  “They took Him as He was.” Without food, water, coat, weary, worn, faint, spent, and He fell asleep on the hard boards, a pillow of nets. 

He slept when the wind arose. He slept on when the waves roared. He slept during the excitement of the boat filling with water. Tired, weary, utterly spent the Seemingly Heedless Christ slept on. The disciples were excited doing their best to keep the ship afloat. Sometimes it seems that He sleeps on when we cry but He is not a heedless Christ. He hears our sighs, He counts 0ur tears, He is watching all the time.

The Mighty Christ:
Mark 4:38. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:” and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41. And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

9c. The Third Episode, Peter Walks On The Sea:

This incident also occurred after a long and tiresome day in which Jesus fed a large multitude of people. The day was wearing away and Jesus again sent His disciples across the sea and He dismissed the multitude.

 Matthew 14: 22. “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 

Mark 6:48. Says “And He saw them toiling in rowing;”

Matthew 14:25. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (Just before dawn)
26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32. And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Ancient Egyptians impossible to walk on water, Only the Gods can. Here a Fisherman of Galilee steps out of the boat and walks in the face of a tempest.

10. Peter Backsliding Into Business:

John 21:3. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

John 21:1. “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”

John is writing a ‘postscript’ to his Gospel. This is not something that John has forgotten to include in his story of The Life And Death Of Jesus. No, the incident is much too precious for such a man as John to forget. When John writes this all the characters in the story are dead.

John writes of an experience which happened to an old friend, Simon Peter, whom he had known from boyhood days. It took place not long after the resurrection and John is the only evangelist which mentions it, although seven of them were involved in it. Paul refers to it in 1 Corinthians 15:5.

Jesus was never more kind and tender than in this, John chapter 21. This chapter was truly inspired by the Holy Ghost. It was so needful, it answers a lot of questions which would have always been on our mind concerning the down fall and restoration of Simon Peter.

How else could Simon Peter have rightfully been head of things at Pentecost? All of the Evangelists tell the story of the denial of our Lord by Simon Peter, the downfall and then the weeping. Satan would have liked for his story to end there but John gives us another chapter. It is so priceless.

I love Simon Peter so much that I wish to bring you the story in such a way that you will want to read it over and over again. Read the words which brought him back to his place as one of the keepers and feeders of the flock. This incident was what so changed and molded Simon Peter for all his life. In this incident Peter’s temper and disposition was changed. Here he meets his Master and is forgiven of his deadly wrongs.

We want to go up to Galilee with the company of Disciples and visit the lake again.
We want to study this final miracle in all its details. We want to warm by that mysterious fire upon the shore. Above all we want to hear the words, and see again the form of the Son of Man, and experience His love and tenderness.

10a. The Forces (Causes) Which Lead Simon Peter To Go A Fishing:

John 21:1. “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.”

Jesus had given them a command that they are to go into Galilee and there He would meet them. Verse 2 of John 21 tells us that seven of them were there, Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, and two unnamed disciples probably Andrew and Philip. They were whiling away their time among old cronies and old associations, ten sad demoralizing and debilitating days

So they fell into a dangerous mood and discontent. Seven disciples back at the Sea of Galilee. Maybe they faced ridicule of the village. “The great adventurers are back” “I always said their scheme would come to nothing” Openly to their faces then behind their backs people scoffed and jeered them. They themselves were puzzled, they waited day after day.

The events in John 21 took place sometime during the forty days after the resurrection. The Apostles were disillusioned. Peter had failed in his pledge of allegiance (Matthew 26:31-35). Peter is returning to his former life and six others follow him.

Peter backslid into business and said “I will go fishing.” Such moods are always perilous to Christians and contagious to those around us. Here we see the power of unconscious influence at work.  In one impulse of emotion “They say unto him, we go also with thee.”

Sin loves companionship. Peter did not want to go fishing alone, I go –we go. Even though enticed into sin we all answer for our own actions. But let us never forget the social power of wrong doing, I go – we go. Paul reminds us in Romans 14:7. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”

Remember the words of an old song:
“Every act, every deed you perform is a seed to someone, there’s an all-seeing eye watching you.” Half the drunkards in hell today owe the damnation they lie in to a comrade who invited them to take a swallow.

We must remember that these seven Disciples were just ordinary human beings. Their misstep was the first miserable and common place step leading back to their former life. But, thank God they never took the second step.

10b. Are Theses Sames Forces Still At Work Today?

Let us learn this lesson well. Temptation usually takes the exact form of old indulgence when it comes upon a Christian unaware. Well has it been said that, “Men fall on the side toward which, they lean.” The adversary of our souls never rests. He will be alert until the day of his doom.

The song which heralds the final destruction will certainly be sung. But it is the last earthly music ever to be heard, just before Heaven’s Jubilee begins. The Devil knows every man’s former life. He knows the weakness every man used to have before he got saved. Sin never touches a human being without leaving a scar behind and it is always sensitive.

Satan remembers our habits, our tastes, our old associations of former years. There is where he plans to attack us again. Now maybe we can understand how Simon Peter was caught. The old lake, the home feeling, boats on the familiar beach, and the nets all ready. It is so easy to fall back into the old way of life, Satan sees to that.

He wanted to try his hand, thus the former drunkard is enticed by an offer to take a drink. A gambler can be betrayed with the dice or the shuffle of cards. The person who once loved the world will be lured by the offer of a good time. The Christian must realize that old familiar sin is the foe beyond all others for him to dread. Old temptations, old habits, all die hard.

Seven men chosen by Jesus to be His Apostles are out now among old associations now falling back into old patterns. They had lost their spiritual perception. Someone has said that it was no great backward step when Simon Peter declared his decision to go fishing.

They say he was just passing time until the Master called again. But I say it was a loss of great sadness and shame. Jesus was directly before them and yet these Disciples did not recognize Him. They did not know their Master’s voice because God was not in their thoughts.

10c. Is It Possible For Us To Be Caught-Up In These Same Forces & Go-A-Fishing?

But let us not cast accusations nor point fingers until we ourselves are free of guilt. How many times have we entered the prayer room only out of duty or persuasion? No real consecration. Or sit through the service listless and indifferent?

Is it possible to be so close to the Lord yet so far away spiritually that we do not recognize him? Close enough to touch, Close enough to see Him and still not know Him. Close enough to hear Him and not to recognize His voice?

His first word “Children,” it was the beginning of a new day for them, Simon Peter came to the Lake that evening on a guilt trip, under the burdening power of old guilt. He is distracted with the weight of his denial of His Lord. In his soul he is weeping bitterly. Denial at the door, lying and falling into profanity, the Cock crows. He is seized by an unseen hand. “I thought on my ways and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” (Psalms 119:59).

All the bad past is constantly before him. Satan seized the moment, the opportunity, when the load was heaviest. Peter was torn with conflicting emotions. There the impulse struck him to go out for once into the old life. He spoke his decision, I go a fisihing.”

The night of his choice ended with failure. But thank God, joy came to the lake early that morning. Human nature is fickle capable of falling in and out of love almost overnight. Human nature is changeable, favoring something today and opposed to it the next day.

So we see the lack of stability, the erratic nature of Simon Peter throughout the Four Gospels. James uses the term “Double minded” in his Gospel. All of this Jesus had to contend with in the story. All that Jesus had to contend with in the story we are going to consider in John 21.

Second Jesus is dealing with Satanic forces at work. The Devil from the beginning had tried to thwart or stop Jesus’ purpose. His purpose was,

1. To usher in a “New Testament” or Will.
Hebrews 9:15. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

2. To validate that will with His Blood.
Hebrews 9:16. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

3. To bring into being a Church, which was to preach the Gospel.
Matthew 16:18.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The Devil had failed in the first two. The will had been brought into being. Satan could not keep Jesus from going to the cross and validating the will. He could not keep His body in the tomb. Salvation had been bought with the out poured blood at Calvary. But now this incident in John 21 was Satan’s last grasp and last straw.

Satan seized upon the fickleness of Simon Peter, he had used him before. Satan appealed to the human nature in Simon Peter. The love of the old way of life, the security he longed for. Satan say, “This is where you belong.” “I go a fishing.” Not just to throw a net until Jesus calls again, but abandoning His preaching commission, breaking off relations, cease to be His companion. “A Fishing,” a return to a habitual act. Peter had sinned with publicly denial.

Jesus could have easily rebuked him and forgot him or cast him off as He did Judas and Esau. Not only did Peter say so, “They say unto him, we also go with thee.”

How the Devil must have danced with glee. The whole Church going fishing, but Satan had not considered God’s Divine Power. He is not as smart as he thinks he is.

11. Steps Jesus Used To Recover Simon Peter:

John 21:3. “…They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”

11 a. First Step, That Night They Caught Nothing

Angels were sent to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. Remember this had happened 3 years before, failure (Luke 5:5). All of our ventures end in failure with Christ not in our life. Jesus is teaching them that His presence is essential to each believer’s success in duty. Here we have 7 Apostles, who had under the influence of Simon Peter, gone off on this unnecessary fishing excursion working to catch fish.

Remember they had hired on as Fishers of Men that was their present business. They were far out of the line of their duty in turning again to become Fishers of fish. “That night they caught nothing.” Remember Jesus had taught them. “Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing.”

Let us note two words in this phrase, Night and Nothing. This could be the motto for every Christ less life, every Christ less effort and every Christ less person.  It is “Night and Nothing.” In this boat there were at least four professional fishermen, with at least 40 years of experience.

They were rowing over a piece of water famous for its unusual abundance of fishes, The Seas of Galilee. These men were acquainted with all the best spots, the channels and coves. Yet that night they caught nothing. We know by reading the whole story that God thwarted them for their own good.  God does this, He put warnings, stop signs, and barriers to stop, our headlong rush to destruction. Remember how He stopped Balaam? (Numbers 22:23-34:6)

God is not on the side of His children when they refuse or forget to obey Him. Angels were sent to the bottom of the Sea of Tiberias. “That night they caught nothing.” Weary and vexed the luckless fishermen are pulling in towards the shore. Light is forming in the eastern sky, outlining the Hills of Gadara across from Capernaum.

John says “But when the morning was now come” (verse 4). What he is really saying When the night was finally over,” “Jesus stood on the Shore.” No doubt the Son of Man had been there through the whole night while they were fishing. They do not recognize Him, yet, but they will soon, Thank God. Wonders are soon to happen which they never dreamed, words are to spoken, and feelings are to felt by all which they will never forget.

David says, “….Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5). Weeping is a stranger sojourning in the human heart for one evening only. The early break of day arrives and this passing guest is off and away. Joy, however is a welcome guest who comes, not at sundown but dawn. Joy is willing to remain all the livelong day.

Joy came to the Lake of Tiberias by the early morning light, but they were too sad to recognize Jesus.”

Then by the early morning light they saw the figure of a man on the shore.
John 21:4. “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”

But the disciples knew not that it was the Lord.” That is the most pitiful part of backsliding—when a believer can come so close to the Lord and not know it. And be very near the presence of Christ and not feel it because of spiritual dullness. Neither did they know their Master’s voice because God was not in all their thoughts. They should have suspected at least that Jesus was close by—this should be a lesson for us.

Why did they not know Him? To them Jesus must have seemed like a stranger offering a helpful suggestion. After all He was a least a hundred yards away, yet close enough to call to them. It was early—maybe the light was still dim. But let us search a little more.

Jesus had already made at least two appearances to these who knew Him well, they had been with Him night and day for three years. It may be that the appearance of Jesus was changed in some slight measure; we know that He was wearing His glorified body; the corruptible had put on immortality. The ‘Man Christ Jesus’ had been lost—the humanity swallowed up in Divinity.

But I feel that He was the unseen guest in many homes and with many people during those 40 days. He was walking unseen among them—maybe appearing to some as a stranger (Luke 24:13-32). I would like to think He visited the beloved family at Bethany, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. How about Nazareth, Capernaum, Cana, Jerusalem, and Nain?

Unseen today He will visit us—maybe as a stranger, a gardener, a factory worker, or just a child. He will come today, look for Him. These men and women who saw Jesus during these 40 days—saw God in all of His glory—all of His Deity. He was now untainted by human blood or life. He was not relegated by human ways or weakness—the power He possessed was absolute. (Matthew 28:18) “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”)

For 40 days His ‘Seat’ was vacant as He led those disciples from their former imperfect ideas of His person, and character to a loftier, clearer, purer conception, from walking with them in human form and to place their faith in Him as God.

Yet He wanted them to know that He was “The Same Jesus still. He could be touched by their infirmities. He stayed here 40 days to prove He was God.

His dress was not the same—for John has already told us how His garments were gambled for at the foot of the cross. Sometime He revealed Himself to them in various ways. He drew a veil of some kind over their eyes which hindered their recognizing Him. At other times unseen hands pulled the veil from their eyes. He wanted them to know Him, not by sight alone.

11b. The Secret Of Their Success:

 5. Children, have ye any meat? You didn’t catch anything did you?” Their business ventures would fail without Jesus. “No.” Not even one little fish.

Jesus is teaching them that His presence is essential to each believers success in any venture. Here we have seven Apostles, who had, under the influence of Simon Peter, gone off on this unnecessary fishing excursion. Working to catch fish. Remember they had hired-on as fishers of men—that was their present business.

They were far out of the line of their duty in turning again to become fishers of fish. “That night they caught nothing.” Remember Jesus had taught them, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” We must remember when you sign on with Jesus the world is no longer your business, you may go back to it but it will never be the same. God is not on the side of His children when they refuse or forget to obey Him.

John 21:6. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  (l53 fishes yet the net was not broken – verse 11.)

They remember that 3 years before they had been told to cast the net after an all-night fishing failure and the result was the same, only this time the net did not break as before. Someone even counted the fish, 153.

John 21:7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

John was the first to recognize Him and when he told Peter who it was, can we not imagine the quickening feeling that came over Simon Peter. Peter was the first to react throwing his coat around his naked body and jumping into the water and wading toward the Lord. The very moment he saw Jesus, he rushed ashore, and left his comrades to drag the net.

Few other scenes capture our imagination like this one. Have you ever noticed how ringleaders in wrong always try, and generally manage, to evade blame and escape the law in the moment of discovery. Simon Peter went out of the boat as if to say, “It wasn’t my idea to go fishing.” He comes on shore looking as meek and unconcerned as possible.

11c. Come And Dine:

John 21:9. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
12. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

This was the Third Step to Restoration of Simon Peter. The first thing that caught their eyes upon coming to shore was a mysterious fire with fish laid thereon, and bread.

The first question, that comes to out mind does this mysterious fire have any spiritual significance? Any gospel purpose or meaning?

The second question,  who kindled it. The disciples. Other fisherman? Simon Peter? “A fire of coals.”

The third question, what was it kindled for? To warm the disciples? To cook the fish upon?

The fourth question, where did the fish and bread come from which lay on the fire? Did other fishermen leave them?

Why not come straight to the conclusion that Jesus created the whole heap of fire, fish, and bread by miracle. He did it before and He can do it again. 1 Kings 19:5-8 The Prophet Elijah was pursued by enemies, and utterly discouraged laid down under a Juniper tree to die. He did not die, he fell asleep, “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.”

There was fish, upon the coals, and our Lord gave the invitation to these men to “Come and dine.” They gathered around the little center of warmth and refreshment and they left their Master the office of servant—by serving them.
“Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise” (v 13).

They are awe-struck and solemn—no one says a word. They know Him and stand in the radiance of His presence.

11d. Why was this fire kindled?

First, to relieve the first wants of a group of fishermen who were hungry, cold, and weary—who had been out on the lake all night. On this very shore not more that a mile away, Jesus had once fed five-thousand men and women with fish and bread.

The Second reason, this fire of coals was kindled to prepare them for what He had to say to them. On this occasion Jesus had something to say to them so He was preparing these disciples—especially Simon Peter.

The Third Reason For The Fire Of Coals, Remember it was before a fire of coals that Simon Peter denied the Lord (John 18:18), so Jesus brings him back before a fire of coals as a remembrance of that night. And there before another fire of coals Peter stands and answers Jesus’ question about his devotion to Him. Three times before a fire of coals Simon Peter had denied the Lord.

Now on this morning by the sea Jesus brought Peter back before a ‘fire of coals,’ And three times he questioned him about his devotion to Himself. I feel that this whole scene, this whole interview, has reference to Simon Peter’s defection. The whole purpose is to admonish him, rebuke him, and restore him.

Our Lord has reproduced so much that was important in Simon Peter’s life, the miraculous draught of fish, which was a part of his calling (Luke 5:4-11), his fall before a ‘fire of coals’—and now to rebuke him before another fire of coals.

We could wonder if the material circumstances, possibly the physical scenery of our sins, will come up at the judgment as a reminder—the room, the company, the stream, even the ‘fire of coals,’ may come up as a witness to show our guilt.

Simon Peter had sinned in his public denial of his Lord, now publicly he must be rebuked—reminded—and restored.

Here we see in Simon Peter
1. Human nature at work.
2. His hour of decision.
3. An Apostle the Master molded.
4. An Apostle who had received the keys to the kingdom.
5. An Apostle prominent as spokesman for the Twelve.
6. An Apostle who had denied his Lord.
7. The steps out Lord used to restore Peter to his rightful place.

12. Two Different Words For Love:

John 21:15. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”

We have reached, in our study of Jesus’ dealings with Simon Peter in this crisis of his life there beside the Sea of Galilee, the very core of this lesson.

James Russell Lowell said, “There comes the moment in every man’s life to decide for the good or for the evil side” (The Present Crisis). This Moment had come in the life of Simon Peter and both heaven and earth awaited his decision.

It would have been an easy matter to rebuke a sin so vile and so well-known, and then to cast him off as He did Judas. But Simon Peter was worth saving—yet Simon’s sin could not be condoned. He must be forced to feel that not only had he done wrong—but that he was wrong through and through.

Jesus desired to bring on him the consciousness that the principal of supreme love and loyalty to Himself was the thing which had been rejected. His apologies must be refused (Can we apologize to God)? His testimony concerning his previous experience and purpose must be disregarded (Matthew 26:35.)

Simon Peter must learn that his acceptance rested entirely on his penitence (contrition, sincere remorse for wrongdoing). His return to his former glory would take more than weeping, feeling sorry for the act—but genuine repentance and restitution. He must deplore his actions.

John 21:15. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas,”

Let us first observe the name which Jesus uses-“Simon, son of Jonas, ..” Jesus does not call him Peter. He does not apply to him the epithet of description that as yet he has not attained to. For he was anything but a rock in his behavior. Jesus never did call him by the new name he gave him but once, and that was when he predicted Peter’s denial (Luke 22:34).

Now let us study the question which the Lord asked Peter three times, and the word which Peter used in his answer.

12a. Lovest Thou Me More That These?

Jesus seeks to restore Peter to his fellowship.
John 21:15. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

The Fourth Step to Restoration:
There are two different words in this verse which our Bible translates into love, Agapai, used by our Lord, and Phileo used by Simon Peter.

The Greek word ‘agapao’ which Jesus used in His first two questions that is translated love in our authorized King James Version has a deep and far-reaching meaning. It is the highest degree of love. I have a far deeper meaning than the word Peter used in his answer. Jesus reached far back into the Old Testament for this word.

Deuteronomy 6:5. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Jesus asked for the highest form of devotion which overmasters one’s entire soul. Paul carries it to the farthest extremes in his epistle to 1 Corinthians 13, where it is translated charity. It is an unselfish love, ready to serve. Now let us understand where Jesus asked Peter where his love centered.

“Lovest thou Me.” Jesus is asking that the full intensity of His disciple’s love shall center on Him.

Jesus did not ask, “Lovest thou the cause I came to proclaim”?
Jesus did not ask, “Lovest thou the Church”?
Jesus did not ask, “Lovest thou the My people, My children, My sheep”?
Jesus asks, “Lovest thou Me”?

Jesus claims Himself as “The one altogether lovely” (Songs of Solomon 5:16). And He demands the sole possession of his follower’s hearts.

John 21:15b .., Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?

Two things in this we want to look at.
Jesus is asking Peter if he loved Him more than the things he turned back to when he was disillusioned. Peter had returned back to the old way of life, old habits, old associations, the ship, the nets, the fresh breezes of the open air, with no one to answer to, his own boss, with no cares but just to make a living, free of all other restraints and obligations, free of people coming for help, free of the crowds, free of walking miles each day to another little town where people didn’t like you, etc. And Jesus, standing and waving His hand out across the open lake and all the allures it could hold for Simon Peter, asks, lovest thou me more than these?”

These are the things that everyone must fight against, the old way of life, and the old associations never loose their allure. In a moment of weakness of spirit, a time of discouragement, we are feeling low, and then cometh Satan, like he did to Simon Peter, just go-a-fishing,” it won’t make much difference, they won’t miss you anyway, let someone else worry about the cause. We must renew our allegiance to Jesus daily.

Lovest thou me more than these?” Jesus was looking Peter in the eye. The last time Peter had met that gaze he was standing by a ‘fire of coals’ in Caiaphas’ palace. Now he was standing by a ‘fire of coals’ trying to evade that gaze.

Another thing Jesus is asking Simon Peter, Lovest thou me more than these?” Peter had said before his denial—“Though all men should forsake thee, yet will not I. I’m ready to die for the.” (This is recorded in all the Gospels)

Now Jesus means to have him say whether that has proved true. None of the rest of those gathered around the fire that morning had denied Jesus; and now Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him more that those, who had not denied Him. That issue Peter seems to evade—he says nothing about the rest of those in any of his answers.

Peter does not so much as tell the Lord that he loves the Lord as much as the other did. Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”

But the word which Peter used, ‘Phileo’ has a far less depth of devotion than what Jesus was asking for (agapao). What Peter was really saying, Thou knowest that I am attached to thee,” “I really enjoy your company.”

Jesus’ response to him, “Feed my lambs.” “My little sheep.” “supply food for my lambs.”

Again Jesus challenges Peter, looking once again into Peter’s eye.
John 21:16. “He saith to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (Once again using the highest form of the word love, ‘agapao’).

Peter, no doubt, shifts his eyes away, his feet move almost involuntarily, and he repeats his first answer. “He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (‘plileo’) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:16). (Lord thou knowest that I am fond of thee.” “I have an affection for you.”

But I Know, and you know, and Peter knew, that having an attachment for someone, or being fond of them is far from being in love with them. “He (Jesus) saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Then Jesus faces Peter again...

John 21:17. “He (Jesus) saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, "Feed my sheep.”

This time Jesus drops down to the word which Peter has been using in his answer to Him, phileo’. It is as though Jesus is asking him, “Simon are you even attached to Me?” “Are you sure you are a Christian at all?”

Three times in the hall of of judgment, before ‘a fire of coals,’ Peter had sworn to a plain denial of ever having known Him at all. That day Peter was broken on the wheel and marred (Mark 14:72). Once again the Potter has taken the clay into His hands that was broken and puts it back on the wheel. Peter is grieved.”

Then Peter, from the depths of his heart calls Omniscience as a record. “Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love (agapao) thee.” “Lord, you saw and knew of my shortcomings—“ “You saw me in the hall as I swore I knew Thee not” —  “You saw me likewise in the hours afterward weeping as if my heart was broken.”

“Thou knowest that I am ungrateful, impulsive, and contradictory—“ “Thou knowest all my wickedness, Thou Omniscient God and Saviour—Thou knowest that I love Thee.”

“Jesus saith unto him, “Feed my sheep.” “Shepherd My sheep.” “If includes feeding, guidance, and protection.” (Those other Apostles heard it and accepted it).

12b. Conclusion:

From a fisherman to a shepherd—an Apostle was a long hard road for Simon Peter. Then Simon Peter learns that such an awful covenant of consecration will have to be sealed with his blood.

Jesus shows him a cross in the distance—he will die a horrible death just as his master did. Thus he will glorify the Lord who forgave him.

John 21:18. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”

Ancient traditions tell us that Simon Peter was crucified in Rome sometime around A.D. 65 or 66. It is said that Simon Peter requested that he be crucified upside down because he did not count himself worthy of dying like his Lord.

We hope you enjoyed this Study #1 Of The Men Jesus Chose and we hope you will aslo read Study #2 Of The Men Jesus Chose  also Study #3 Of The Men Jesus Chose. This is a long study and we are putting it on the web in three sections. It wiil all be on here soon.

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By, James & Mary Lee Thornton


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