There are several different "callings" of Jesus' disciples, and it can be
difficult to sort them out. Let´s take a look at at least three of them.
- Some of the Disciples were called for the first time in John chapter 1. None
of these men were familiar with Jesus at this time (probably). They were
disciples of John and responded to Jesus as John pointed Him out as the "Lamb of
God" and "The one of whom I am not worthy to untie His sandal." These
disciples spent a period of time with Jesus and then went back to their secular
- A second temporary calling can be found in Mark 1 and also in Matthew 4.
Jesus was calling His disciples to spend a period of time with Him once again.
- The third calling took place about TWO YEARS after the initial calling of John
1. At this point, the disciples were called to leave their work and families
for a period of about a year and a half and to learn from Christ and work with
Him on a fulltime basis. This is the calling referred to in Luke 5. For
simplicity's sake, Luke only mentions this call to full time service and skips
the initial calls.
- The 12 Disciples were later titled, "Apostles." What is the difference?
Jesus had MANY disciples. As a matter of fact, most of us reading this page
are Disciples (followers and learners) of Jesus Christ. Apostles were
"authoritative representatives" of Christ who helped to found the Church
They were all Jews
all witnessed the resurrected Christ
(1 Corinthians 9:1,
and could all work the miracles of an Apostle
(2 Corinthians 12:12).
Putting this all together, the Disciples/Apostles got to know Christ for two
years through temporary meetings with Christ before they committed themselves to
full time ministry. How much contact they had with their families during
this time is not clear, but their families were left in good hands. This was
a truly unique situation and is not intended to be any sort of pattern for
Church Age discipleship.
Also note that after the Resurrection, at least for a while, the disciples went
back to their trades (see John 21). Following Christ does not mean we must
forsake our careers or families, but it does mean we must put Jesus Christ first
and be WILLING to follow His lead.