The Disciples Series: 12 Men That Followed Jesus

Welcome to the “Disciples Series!”

Have you ever wondered: What the disciples were like? What drew them to Jesus? What character qualities did they possess that caused Jesus to invest so heavily in them?

Did you ever realize that they failed, struggled, and doubted, just like us?

Over the next 12 posts we will study the group of 12 young men, one at a time, who spent approximately 3 years with Jesus, from the time of his baptism until his resurrection. We’ll look at their character, their transformation, and their relationship with Jesus and learn from their lives.

The 4 Phases of Discipleship:

[bctt tweet=”A disciple is a follower or learner, one who is dedicated to a master.”]

Discipleship (as we saw in a previous post) is the process of being a disciple.

Discipleship doesn’t just happen. It’s a process, an intentional journey that we embark upon and are guided through, both by the Trinity (God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit) and fellow disciples.

A basic grasp of this process is crucial to continuing the journey ourselves as well as evaluating the journey of the immediate disciples of Jesus. If we view the disciples as special exemptions to Christianity, as if they were called by Jesus and instantaneously transformed and matured, we will never fully embrace discipleship for ourselves.

To this end, Bill Hull has pulled from the work of theologian A.B. Bruce, to develop the 4 phases of discipleship. Let’s take a look.

1. “Come and See”

Text: John 1:35–4:46

Time: 4–5 months

Participants: Andrew, Nathaniel, Peter, Philip, John, others

Characteristics: Information gathering and investigation. Light commitment.

The period when Jesus introduced himself to a group of disciples and they saw the nature of Jesus and his ministry.

2. “Come and Follow Me.”

Text: Mark 1:16–18. Matt. 4:19.

Time: 10–11 month period

Participants: 70–120 consistent followers

Characteristics: Through Jesus’ teaching and example, he desired to establish followers in the application of Scripture, the importance of prayer, the need for community, and the work of outreach.

  • When the 5 and some others temporarily left their professions to travel with Jesus.
  • Taking them to a new level of commitment. Issues a second invitation to Andrew, Peter, & John. Matt. 4:19.
  • Jesus invested himself in those who said “yes.”
  • Invitation — not a demand. He did not alienate those who eliminated themselves.
  • Personal
  • Responsibility — “I will make you …” — imparts responsibility
  • Gave vision — “fishers of men”

3. “Come and be with me.”

Text: Mark 3:13–14

Time: Nearly 20 months.

Participants: Concentrated on the Twelve he called to be with him so they could go out and preach.

Characteristics: During this transitional stage, Jesus prepared the 12 to take responsibility for World Mission.

Two purposes:

1. Relationship

2. To send them out. Mark 3:14–15

4. “Remain in Me”

Text: John 15:5, 7.

Time: A few hours in the Upper room and then a lifetime.

Participants: Faithful 11. Entire church.

Characteristic: Learning to live with and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Dramatic change the disciples underwent — Jesus was leaving, and they would relate to him through the Holy Spirit and the church. Began in the Upper Room. Continues today.


Come & See Come & Follow Come & Be With Me Come & Remain * — — — — — — * — — — — — — — — * — — — — — — — — — — — — — — * — — — — — — — → 4–5 months 10–11 months Nearly 20 months Few hours and then a lifetime 5 plus others 70–120 consistent 12 disciples 11 plus Church

The disciples, a brief introduction:

The disciples were a group of men: fishermen, a tax collector, a revolutionary, and unlearned men.

You can find the list of disciples in: Matthew 10:2–4, Mark 3:13–19, Luke 6:12–16, Acts 1:13

The disciples are: Simon (Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (John’s brother), John (James’ brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

The With-God Life:

It’s my joy and passion to lead people to the life with God, the with-God life. That, simply, is discipleship. This series of posts is designed to show you what it looks like when ordinary men have their lives radically changed by Jesus.

They all look different, as different as you are from me and the person reading this across the planet from you.

My hope is that you find courage as you read about the disciples. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself looking at the disciples with more familiarity the next time you read their stories in the New Testament.

Preview of the first disciple:

Our first disciple is Andrew, the greeter. Next time we’ll look at how he brought people to Jesus, no matter who they were.

Get ready to see how he saw the potential in: Jesus as Messiah (John 1:35–42), Jesus as our provider (John 6:5–9), and Jesus as the redeemer of all men (John 12:20–22).

Originally published at

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