The students will be able to describe Christ’s call to His disciples. They will further be able to discuss the importance of being alert to the calling of God in their own and answering that call.
Besides Peter and Andrew, and James and John, Scripture cites other times when two brothers were called, but in those cases they had opposite reactions to the call of God (one answering and one not).
Cain and Abel — Genesis 4:1-7
Esau and Jacob — Genesis 25:31-33
Parable of two sons — Matthew 21:28-31
Prodigal son and his brother — Luke 15:11-32
When Jesus was looking for disciples, He did not go among the scribes and Pharisees, men who had studied the Old Testament Scriptures and were at the head of the Jewish church. Those men were filled with their own ideas and would not listen to Christ’s teachings. Neither did He go among the rich, because they thought they had all they needed and were not looking for the heavenly Kingdom. Jesus went, instead, among the humble folk and sought out men who needed help and who loved the truth. Among them He found men He could trust to carry on His great work after He returned to Heaven.
A disciple (Greek, mathetes, a learner) is a pupil of some teacher. The word implies the “acceptance in mind and life of the views and practices of the teacher.” In the New Testament it means, in the widest sense, those who accept the teachings of anyone, whether it be Moses, John the Baptist, the Pharisees, or Jesus. Usually, however, it refers to the followers or close associates of Jesus Christ, and sometimes to the twelve Apostles. More often though, it refers to the believers, the Christians. The term Christian was not applied to disciples until the founding of the church at Antioch. See Acts 11:26.
In calling men and women to follow Him, Jesus always spoke in words that could be comprehended by the hearers. The message of the Gospel is not veiled to the understanding. Throughout the centuries God has called countless men and women who answered and left all to follow Him. How vital it is to be alert to the calling of God in our own lives, and then to answer that call!
As an opener for your class, have a short game of “Follow the Leader” where the students try to do exactly what the teacher does. You could recite the key verse, open your Bible to the Scripture text, bow your head in opening prayer, etc. Lead into the lesson, explaining that Jesus calls us to follow Him.
In a piece of net, put a number of paper fish on which you have written some situations. These should be circumstances where a person might feel a call from God to do something specific for Him. Have each student take out a fish, read the message aloud, and tell what he thinks should be the response or action taken. Examples of some situations might be:
— A new neighbor moves in next door. You wonder if he goes to Sunday school, but he looks older than you and you are not sure if he is friendly.
— Your locker partner asks you to skip class with him.
— Your science teacher assigns a report on evolution.
Show your students pictures which illustrate choices we make every day. With each picture ask such questions as: Would you rather take a trip to the beach or the mountains? Do you want a red dress or a blue sweater for your birthday? Would you prefer to drive a Honda or a Ford? Talk about how we all have a much more important choice to make, to follow God or not. Show a picture of Jesus and contrast it to a group of friends or something else they might choose instead of Jesus.
Visual aid: Dog whistle or dinner bell, used to summon someone.
Call one of your class members on Saturday evening and give him a message. Ask him to call another member of your class with the same message. That person in turn should call another person with the message. On Sunday morning in class, see how many of your members received the message. Emphasize how important it was for each person to pass the message along. Compare this to Andrew and Philip, who passed the message of the Messiah along to Peter and Nathanael.
Give each class member a sealed envelope on which the words OFFICIAL CALL TO DUTY is printed on the outside. Have each student open his envelope to see what duty he has been assigned to perform in class that day (answer lesson questions, recite key verse, read Scripture text, close in prayer, etc.). Compare this “call to duty” to Jesus’ call to Christians. Do we always know exactly what duty we are to perform for the Lord? How do we find out what we are supposed to do?