The first disciples

The first disciples.

Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee while the crowd was pressing close to hear him speak the word of God. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake. The fishermen were washing their nets on the shore. He got onto the boat that belonged to Simon (Peter) and asked him to take the boat out a little way into the water. He then sat down and resumed teaching the crowds from there.

When he had finished the lesson, he said to Simon (Peter), “Take the boat out further and have your crew put down the nets into the water.”

“Master,” Simon (Peter) replied, “we have fished all night and caught nothing, but because you asked me, I’ll do it.”

They put down their nets into the deep water and they caught so many fish that the nets began to tear. They signaled to their partners on the other boat (James and John, along with their father Zebedee) to come over and help. They filled both boats so full of fish that they began to sink. Everyone was amazed at how many fish they caught. Simon (Peter) was so overwhelmed that he fell down on his knees before Jesus and said “Go away from me, Lord because I’m a sinful man.”

Jesus told him “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people!”

Then they brought the two boats to the shore. Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John left everything – the boats and other workers, even Zebedee, the father of James and John – and began to follow Jesus.

LK 5:1-11 (MT 4:18-22, MK 1:16-20)

Philip and Nathanael.

Also in Galilee, Jesus found Philip and said to him “Follow me!” Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Simon (Peter). Philip found Nathanael and told him “We have found the One that Moses and the prophets wrote about! He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth!”

Nathanael exclaimed “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”

“Come and see for yourself,” Philip answered him.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching him he said “Here is a man without guile, a true son of Israel!”

“How do you know anything about me?” Nathanael demanded.

“I noticed you under the fig tree before Philip called to you.”

Nathanael replied, “Teacher, you are the Son of God, the king of Israel!”

Jesus asked him “Do you believe this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see even better proof than this. Mark my words, you will see heaven open and the angels of God traveling back and forth between me and heaven.”

JN 1:43-51

Gabriel predicts John’s birth

There once was a man named Zachariah who was a priest in the Abijah division when Herod was the king of Judea. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who, like him, was descended from the priestly line of Aaron. Both were honorable people and followed all the commandments of the Lord. They were childless because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly.

Zachariah was chosen by lot to enter the inner sanctuary to burn incense when his division was on duty in the Temple. The entire assembly stood outside praying while he performed this task. An angel suddenly appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Seeing the angel, Zachariah was startled and a feeling of terror fell upon him.

Then the angel said to him, “Have no fear Zachariah, your prayer has been heard! Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. Both of you will be filled with joy and gladness, and many people will rejoice with you at his birth. He will be a champion of the Lord. He must never drink alcohol, because he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will convince many Israelites to turn to the Lord their God. He will serve God with the same kind of spirit and power of Elijah, and will transform the hearts of parents to be like their children, and the hearts of the disobedient back to the wisdom of the faithful, to prepare all the people for the coming of the Lord.

Zachariah challenged the angel saying “How can I know that this is going to happen? Both I and my wife are very old.”

Then the angel replied “I am Gabriel, who stands in the very presence of God. I was sent to tell you this good news. But because you didn’t believe my words, which will come true in due course, you will lose your ability to speak until the child is born.”

Meanwhile, the congregation outside was wondering why Zachariah was taking so long in the sanctuary. When he finally appeared before them they deduced from his gestures (since he wasn’t able to speak) that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He continued to work at the Temple until his assignment was over, and then he returned home.

Shortly after that, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and she went into seclusion for five months. She said “Blessed is the Lord for taking away my public disgrace!”

LK 1:5-25

The Condensed Gospel, part 1.

Mark 1:1-3 —The story of Jesus is intimately tied up with the story of John, his cousin. John is predicted in the book of Isaiah.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You,
who will prepare Your way.
3 A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord;
make His paths straight!”

John 1:1-18 —In the beginning was the Word.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
4 Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
5 That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man named John
who was sent from God.
7 He came as a witness
to testify about the light,
so that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the light,
but he came to testify about the light.
9 The true light, who gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world,
and the world was created through Him,
yet the world did not recognize Him.
11 He came to His own,
and His own people did not receive Him.
12 But to all who did receive Him,
He gave them the right to be children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born,
not of blood,
or of the will of the flesh,
or of the will of man,
but of God.
14 The Word became flesh
and took up residence[l] among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning Him and exclaimed,
“This was the One of whom I said,
‘The One coming after me has surpassed me,
because He existed before me.’”)
16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace
from His fullness,
17 for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
The One and Only Son—
the One who is at the Father’s side—
He has revealed Him.

Luke 1:5-25 — John’s birth is predicted by the angel Gabriel.

5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.

8 When his division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 it happened that he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome with fear. 13 But the angel said to him:

Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you will name him John.
14 There will be joy and delight for you,
and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord
and will never drink wine or beer.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit
while still in his mother’s womb.
16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel
to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go before Him
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of fathers
to their children,
and the disobedient
to the understanding of the righteous,
to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.

18 “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept making signs to them and remained speechless. 23 When the days of his ministry were completed, he went back home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people.


Luke 1:26-38 —-Gabriel tells Mary that she is about to become pregnant with the Messiah.

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
31 Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”
35 The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

Matthew 1:18-25 —Joseph is told by an angel to take Mary as his wife.

18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”

24 When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her25 but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

Luke 1:39-45 —Mary visits Elizabeth. John, still in his mother’s womb, leaps for joy being so close to the Messiah.

“39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed!

43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me! 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Luke 1:46-56 —Mary praises God

46 And Mary said:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48 because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,
49 because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
50 His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
51 He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;
52 He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
mindful of His mercy,
55 just as He spoke to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

Luke 1:57-66 —John is born.

57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. 58 Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her His great mercy, and they rejoiced with her.

59 When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But his mother responded, “No! He will be called John.”

61 Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62 So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote:

HIS NAME IS JOHN.

And they were all amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard about him took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.

Luke 1:67-80 —Zechariah prophesies about John.

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited
and provided redemption for His people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
70 just as He spoke by the mouth
of His holy prophets in ancient times;
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the clutches of those who hate us.
72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered His holy covenant—
73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
74 since we have been rescued
from our enemies’ clutches,
to serve Him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
in His presence all our days.
76 And child, you will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare His ways,
77 to give His people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

(All text from the Bible is copied from Bible Gateway website, using the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation.)