Dr. Doug Bookman

A. Jesus Calls Men to Be His Disciples

Scripture: Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20

Notes: Given the cultural/religious dynamics of first century Judaism, the calling of disciples was very strategic. By definition, a disciple was one who (for a season) abandoned home and profession and traveled with a rabbi. By day the disciples would find day-work and then put the wages in a common bag; this is how the rabbi lived, and this is why rabbis were generally itinerant - they were following the work (harvest, shipping, etc.).


  1. Who are the four men Jesus calls in these passages?
  2. What is it Jesus asks of these men?
  3. Why is it strategic to Jesus's ministry to have disciples with Him as He travels?

B. Jesus Travels with His Disciples

Scripture: Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39; and Luke 4:42-44

Notes: The point to be made here is simply that as Jesus travels in Galilee (which He does almost constantly), He is accompanied by His disciples.

Questions/Observations: Notice that although some of these men will be later called as apostles, at this point that has not happened; they are traveling with Jesus as His disciples.

C. Jesus Re-commissions Disciples Who Had Grown Careless

Scripture: Luke 5:1-11


  1. Some regard this passage as parallel to those under section A above. Compare this passage with those. What indications can you find as to whether they are indeed parallel?
  2. In that regard, notice the distinction (slight, but important) between the commission Jesus gave these four disciples in the Matthew/Mark passages and the commissions He gives here.

D. Jesus calls Matthew to be His disciple

Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13

Notes: These accounts are probably representative; there were others whom Jesus called to follow Him as His disciples.

E. Jesus Selects 12 from among His Disciples to be His Apostles

Scripture: Mark 3:13-19 and Luke 6:12-16

Notes: This is rather late in His Galilean ministry, and Jesus does this because His enemies are growing sufficiently enraged and emboldened that Jesus knows the time He will have to move about freely in Galilee is short.


  1. How did Jesus spend the night before He chose these twelve?
  2. According to Mark, what was Jesus's purpose in choosing these twelve, and how did He empower them to accomplish that purpose?
  3. It is very important to understand the significance of the term apostle in the culture of the New Testament - and thus the significance and intent of choosing these men and designating them as apostles.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

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