In this Chapter:
35-51: The First Disciples
Jesus picks the Dream Team:
In these last verses of chapter one we see Jesus cruising around, inviting dudes to join Him for the next few years of His life on earth as He continues to communicate who God is and His purpose for being here; “to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). These guys had no idea that this decision to FOLLOW JESUS would be the most important and life-changing decision they would ever make. Over the next few years they would become some of Jesus’ closest friends and most legit followers.
It’s interesting to notice how Jesus went about asking these guys to join Him. Jesus didn’t give them any type of crazy rules or commands to obey or tasks to complete before they could be qualified to join Him. He didn’t tell them to clean up their lives first. He didn’t judge them for the lifestyles they were living or tell them they needed to go improve their temple-attendance. He simply said, “Come,” and “Follow me.” There were no requirements or fine print. Jesus met them each right where they were.
There is a general misunderstanding of what it means to become a Christian. People think they have to stop listening to heavy metal, put away the beers, get “religious” and go to church before God would accept them. This idea of having to “clean up your act” before God will accept you is NOT Jesus’s message at all. He accepts us just as we are and as we get to know Him, we tend to become more and more inspired to live like Him. Our relationship with Jesus is, in a sense, the cleaning process. Pretending like God won’t accept us until we’ve done some work would be like saying that you have to take a bath to get your body clean enough to take a shower.
Jesus wasn’t looking for the perfect, the most talented or the most religious people to become His followers. He invited totally average dudes; there wasn’t an exceptional thing about them.
In Jesus’ interaction with Nathanael(in verse 47), Jesus says something that threw Nathanael for a loop. Jesus had never met Nathanael before, but He told him something very specific about his life, something that only a friend of his would know. This blew Nathanael’s mind, and he instantly knew there was something special about Jesus. Jesus proved to Nathanael, and to us too, that He knows us. He doesn’t just know us as he knows the whole human race, but He is very well acquainted with who we are each individually. He knows our struggles, He knows our past, He even knows what trick we stomped the other day(and He was probably super pumped). The amazing thing is that Jesus, even though He knows everything about us, doesn’t pass any judgment. He knows us (and all of our failures), and He wants us anyway.
Also, Jesus wasn’t asking people to follow Him for the sake of building up a bigger fan base or getting a few more followers on Instagram. Jesus wasn’t just another homie jockeying for popularity. Jesus had a very specific purpose. In these verses He is called “the Lamb of God,” the “Messiah,” and the “Son of God” by those who followed him and watched the things He did. These are all titles that point to Him being the One; the One who would re-unite mankind to their Creator and save the world from sin, the legendary One from God that the world had been expecting for a long time.
The Ante Up:
Jesus ups the ante when he challenges this bunch of random dudes to leave everything they knew and follow Him. What’s really wild is that when Jesus picks these dudes, He was essentially picking His Dream Team (a seemingly poor choice for a Dream Team). Why did Jesus pick a bunch of chumps?! That’s like picking all the slowest and least athletic kids for our dodgeball team. But by doing this, Jesus give us a GNARLY picture of who God is. This reveals to us that God isn’t looking for perfect people. He isn’t looking for the dude who can stomp doubles in every direction or lock in a proper switch back-tail through a double kink. He isn’t looking for someone who has never made a mistake, and He isn’t looking only behind the doors of a church. God is just looking for people; people with baggage and regrets, the successful businessman and the shred bum. He chooses chumps like us so that He can show the real, legit power of God to His creation through us!
Naturally, our Creator knows all about us, just like He did with Nathaniel. He knows what we’ve gone through, our mistakes, and our accomplishments. And despite all our shortcomings, Jesus calls you and me to FOLLOW HIM.