Andrew and John first followed Jesus when John the Baptist announced behold “the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). Andrew and John were the first followers. Soon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael (Bartholomew) joined them (John 1:40, 43, 45; Mark 3:16–18).
At 28 A.D., the disciples followed Jesus but not as full-time preachers (John 8:12; 10:4, 27; 12:26; 21:19, 20, 22; Matt. 4:19). They did not at this time permanently cease their daily occupations and become disciples in the full sense of the word.
Not until more than a year later, in the spring of a.d. 29, did they receive the call to permanent discipleship (Luke 5:1, 11). At this time, Jesus asked them to go into the sea and throw their nets for a catch. When they did, they caught a great number of fishes. Only then could it be said that the four partners “forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:11). At the moment of their greatest material success they left their work.
In providing an abundance of fish, Jesus gave the proof of His power to provide for the needs of His followers, and in childlike faith, they believed and followed Him. Jesus told them, “From now on you will catch men” (John 5:10).
But the official appointment of the Twelve came even later, during the summer of the same year “Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14).
The appointment of the Twelve is considered as the formal appointment of the kingdom of grace that Christ had come to set. The Sermon on the Mount, which followed directly, may be seen both as Christ’s opening speech as King of the kingdom of grace, and as the constitution of the spiritual kingdom.
Soon after the delivery of this sermon Christ, with the Twelve, set out on the Second Galilean Tour, on which, by teaching and example, He confirmed the nature of His spiritual kingdom and the benefits of its saving qualities to men.
In His service,
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