October 16 (Daily reading: Matthew 10) Matthew listed the apostles, writing: “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (10:1). We review His call to the disciples in the order of our readings. He first appeared to the fisherman Simon (later named Peter): “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” These words were symbolic of all that would follow. Simon gave a first requirement of discipleship when he answered: “Master…I will do as You say and let down the nets.” After the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus said to Simon (and by extension, to Andrew, James, and John), “From now on you will be catching men.” Luke wrote: “They left everything and followed Him” (Lk. 5:1-11). Their call was confirmed when Andrew later saw Jesus and took his brother Simon to see Him, saying, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn. 1:41-42).
Next came Levi, or Matthew, who was a tax collector. Jesus simply said to him, “Follow me,” and Matthew “left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him” (Lk. 5:27-28). Jesus also said to Philip, “Follow me.” When Philip told Nathaniel (also called Bartholomew) about Jesus, he asked, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see.” Nathaniel’s encounter with Jesus led him to say: “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (Jn. 1:43-49).
The other disciples were Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. We know only that before He called them, “He…spent the whole night in prayer to God” (Lk. 6:12). Jesus is still calling disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mk. 8:34).
– Al Gary