It has been my privilege to mentor and train others over the years who have gone on to become teachers. Nine of my former assistants went on to become teachers. Each of them have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Each of them needed a different approach from me in mentoring them. It is not a cookie cutter process of trying to force them into a preexisting mold. It is a process of getting to know them and helping them discover skills.
It is fascinating for me to think about who Jesus chose to be his disciples that he trained to send out to start the church. Most were fishermen which would be like blue collar workers. One was a tax collector despised by his fellow Israelites. They were hardly a who’s who of qualified people. But God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
Two of John the Baptist’s disciples heard John call Jesus the Lamb of God, so they left John to follow Jesus. One of them was Andrew the brother of Peter. Andrew went and told Peter about Jesus.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
So these fishermen started to follow Jesus.
The next day Jesus came to Philp and said- “Follow me.”
In those days when a boy or young man followed a Rabbi, teacher, they spent their days with the Rabbi. It was part of the training. By Jesus saying, follow me, he was telling them to join him to be trained for a purpose.
Philip went to tell his friend Nathaniel that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Nathaniel was skeptical saying:
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
When Nathaniel walked up with Philip Jesus said:
“Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
Nathaniel was surprised wanting to know how Jesus knew him. Jesus told him he saw Nathaniel under the fig tree. Nathaniel responded:
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
The three other gospels have more information about Jesus calling his disciples. What is interesting in John is how John records it.
It goes from John the Baptist identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God, as the Messiah, which leads to two of John the Baptist’s disciples and then the brother of one them following Jesus, to Philip and Nathaniel. Nathaniel starts to follow Jesus because of what Jesus refers to as a minor miracle when Jesus says:
“You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
In this last part of Chapter 1, John makes a quick line from Jesus being identified thus the calling of some of his disciples to the focus on miracles and signs in which Jesus proves who he is.
The very encouraging part is that Jesus took men no Rabbi would have chosen and mentored them to become men who would go out and start the church and change the world.
If you feel you are not important or feel God cannot work through you, please consider what Jesus did with these men. Remember- God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. You may also see things you never thought possible.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.