In Christianity, the word ‘disciple’ has become a synonym for ‘Christian’. In Jesus’ day, however, there was a flourishing movement of disciples and rabbis. Disciples were young men who were training to become rabbis. Jesus and his disciples were a part of that movement, and at least half of Jesus’ “Twelve” were already disciples - of John the Baptist - before they met Jesus.
The usual custom was for prospective disciples to choose a rabbi, and move to the place where that rabbi was teaching. Jesus did the opposite. He picked out the people he wanted, and then moved his home to live near them. Jesus’ wasn’t calling people out of their ordinary lives; he was calling them to live God’s kingdom within their ordinary lives.
This down-to-earth teaching was hugely popular, and that brought Jesus a problem. He had far too many would-be disciples. So he selected just 12, made up of the men from Capernaum he had chosen in the first place, and focussed his attention on them.
In our church today, all of us are called to live out God’s kingdom by loving our neighbours in our daily lives. That is the highest calling. And there are a few who, like Jesus’ disciples, are called to train to become leaders and ministers, to pass on Jesus’ teaching.
These are both godly callings. Which one is God calling you to?