1. ACCEPTING THE CALL
a. Whom did Jesus first call to follow Him, and what was their response? Mark 1:16–18.
“When Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow Him, they immediately left their boats and nets. Some of these disciples had friends dependent on them for support; but when they received the Saviour’s invitation, they did not hesitate, inquiring, How shall I live, and sustain my family? They were obedient to the call; and when afterward Jesus asked them, ‘What I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?’ they could answer, ‘Nothing.’ [Luke 22:35.]”—Gospel Workers, pp. 113, 114.
b. When Jesus called James and John, what were they doing? Why should we be inspired by how they responded to His call? Verses 19, 20.
“God will call men from the plow and from the vineyard and will send them forth into His service, even as Christ called fishermen from their daily occupation. . . . These devoted servants of Christ will not seek the highest seat, but will follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice, and they will win souls to the Saviour.”—Manuscript Releases, no. 760, p. 11.
2. THE PRICE OF SERVICE
a. What would happen as the followers of Christ shared the gospel? Mark 13:9, 12. How will history repeat itself?
“In the history of prophets and apostles, are many noble examples of loyalty to God. Christ’s witnesses have endured imprisonment, torture, and death itself, rather than break God’s commands. The record left by Peter and John is as heroic as any in the gospel dispensation. As they stood for the second time before the men who seemed bent on their destruction, no fear or hesitation could be discerned in their words or attitude.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 81.
“The time will come when we shall be brought before councils and before thousands for His name’s sake, and each one will have to give the reason of his faith.”—Maranatha, p. 252.
b. When brought to testify before others, what assurance do we have? Mark 13:11; Matthew 10:19.
“The servants of Christ are to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial for their faith. Their preparation is to be made day by day, in treasuring up in their hearts the precious truths of God’s Word, in feeding upon the teaching of Christ, and through prayer strengthening their faith; then, when brought into trial, the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance the very truths that will reach the hearts of those who shall come to hear. God will flash the knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures, into their memory at the very time when it is needed.”—Our High Calling, p. 356.
c. Although we shall be hated of all men for Christ’s sake, what promise has He given to all His followers? Mark 13:13.
“The work of salvation is not child’s play, to be taken hold of at will and let alone at pleasure. It is the steady purpose, the untiring effort, that will gain the victory at last. It is he who endureth to the end that shall be saved. It is they who patiently continue in well-doing that shall have eternal life and the immortal reward.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 101, 102.
3. THE GREATEST SERVANT
a. What price was Jesus soon to pay for the sins of the world? Mark 9:31; 10:33, 34.
“On the journey through Galilee, Christ had again tried to prepare the minds of His disciples for the scenes before Him. He told them that He was to go up to Jerusalem to be put to death and to rise again. And He added the strange and solemn announcement that He was to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 432.
b. What was the disciples’ reaction when Jesus told them of His future sufferings? Mark 9:32; 10:32.
“The disciples did not even now comprehend His words. Although the shadow of a great sorrow fell upon them, a spirit of rivalry found a place in their hearts. They disputed among themselves which should be accounted greatest in the kingdom.”—Ibid.
c. How did they show that they still did not understand the nature of His kingdom? Mark 9:33–35.
“Although [Christ] had spoken so plainly of what awaited Him, His mention of the fact that He was soon to go to Jerusalem again kindled their hope that the kingdom was about to be set up. This had led to questioning as to who should fill the highest offices. . . .
“The Saviour gathered His disciples about Him, and said to them, ‘If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.’ There was in these words a solemnity and impressiveness which the disciples were far from comprehending. That which Christ discerned they could not see. They did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom, and this ignorance was the apparent cause of their contention. But the real cause lay deeper. . . . The strife for the highest place was the outworking of that same spirit which was the beginning of the great controversy in the worlds above, and which had brought Christ from heaven to die.”—Ibid., p. 435.
4. THE BLESSINGS OF SERVICE
a. What comment of Peter’s showed the nature of the commitment the disciples had made? Mark 10:28.
“Jesus called them to forsake their former life, and unite their interests with His. Peter had accepted the call. Upon reaching the shore, Jesus bade the three other disciples, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left all, and followed Him.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 249.
b. What does God provide for those who sacrifice all for Him? Verses 29, 30.
“Before asking them to leave their nets and fishing boats, Jesus had given them the assurance that God would supply their needs. The use of Peter’s boat for the work of the gospel had been richly repaid. He who is ‘rich unto all that call upon Him,’ has said, ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.’ Romans 10:12; Luke 6:38. In this measure He had rewarded the disciple’s service. And every sacrifice that is made in His ministry will be recompensed according to ‘the exceeding riches of His grace.’ Ephesians 3:20; 2:7.”—Ibid., p. 249.
“If we live to do others good and to glorify God, we shall not be considerate of ourselves, but shall seek to be of use in the world, blessing humanity, and we shall receive the blessing of ‘Well done’ from the lips of the Master. . . .
“I have seen that those who live for a purpose, seeking to benefit and bless their fellow men and to honor and glorify their Redeemer, are the truly happy ones on the earth, while the man who is restless, discontented, and seeking this and testing that, hoping to find happiness, is always complaining of disappointment. He is always in want, never satisfied, because he lives for himself alone. Let it be your aim to do good, to act your part in life faithfully.”—This Day with God, p. 280.
“God does not promise us ease, honor, or wealth in His service; but He assures us that all needed blessings will be ours, with ‘persecutions,’ and in the world to come ‘life everlasting.’ Nothing less than entire consecration to His service will Christ accept. This is the lesson which every one of us must learn.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 42.
5. THE CALL TO US TODAY
a. What should have first priority in our life today no matter what our specific calling in life may be? Matthew 6:33.
“We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character and life. Whatever we do is to be done heartily, as unto the Lord.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 99.
b. What should motivate us? How? 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
“When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse, but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling, but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, pp. 1100, 1101.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did the disciples react when called to work for the Master? How does God provide for His workers today?
2. What can we do each day in order to prepare ourselves to be witnesses for God? How will He assist us in our time of need?
3. As Jesus was trying to prepare the disciples for the scenes of His suffering, what was going on among them? Why?
4. Before Jesus asked the disciples to leave their occupations, what assurance did He give them? How? What can we learn from this?
5. What should be the criteria for us when deciding which career to follow or in what activity to engage?