Jesus’ 12 disciplesQUESTION: What can we learn from Jesus’ 12 disciples?ANSWER:
By the world’s standards, Jesus’ 12 disciples appeared just ordinary—mostly rugged laborers, not overly religious. Yet, Jesus always chose the best individuals to fulfill His purpose—the humble, teachable, and faithful. Despite the disciples’ faults, He desired men who understood what normal people have to go through, worrying about self-esteem and struggles to earn a living. Jesus didn’t need religious professionals who would be so competitive that they couldn’t learn. Faithfulness was always at the heart of Jesus’ teaching.
Jesus spent all His time on earth training His disciples for what was to come. They would have to carry on when He was no longer with them. In order to accomplish this, Jesus did several important things.
- He searched for opportunities to teach heavenly principles on a practical level.
- He set aside His majesty to teach by example, not simply doctrine.
- He sent them out, endowed with His own power and authority.
Jesus’ 12 disciples called Him “Rabbi” (which means Teacher). With so many fishermen among them, Jesus enjoyed sharing “fish stories” with His disciples. Jesus would listen as they argued about who had faced the roughest storms. He realized that those who chose to follow Him would face dangers and difficulties far greater than any storm at sea. Jesus used a furious storm to test their faith. As the waves swept over their boat, Jesus peacefully slept. Suddenly the disciples’ faith wavered. They questioned that Jesus still cared about their safety (Mark 4:35–41).
How often, like the disciples, do we panic and wonder if God cares about us? By remaining faithful, the disciples learned that great storms of doubt and fear in the soul often end in a wonderful calm. Imminent and perceptible dangers should drive us to the only One who can help us in time of need (Psalm 46:1-3). We can triumph in God and in His presence with us, especially when we realize He manifests His power for our benefit.
When Jesus’ 12 disciples gathered to celebrate the Passover Feast, He provided an example of perfect love and humility. The disciples were Jesus’ closest friends. He allowed them to be open and honest with Him, extending great patience with their weaknesses. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that His love for them was both devoted and self-effacing—the Master would serve the servants (John 13:1-17).
As Jesus removed His outer garments and began washing the disciples’ feet, Peter objected. The Messiah—who healed lepers, restored sight, and raised the dead—knelt as a servant before him. Peter would have considered it an honor to have taken the basin and towel to wash his Master’s feet. Yet Jesus humbled Himself to show how low He would stoop to express His love for God’s children. He was willing to wash the feet of Judas Iscariot. Those whom Christ loves, He loves to the very end. Nothing can separate us from that love (Romans 8:38-39).
As His eyewitnesses and “ear” witnesses, the disciples would tell the world of the great Gospel truth about Jesus’ death and resurrection. They would tell a guilty world that there is hope for them. God’s Spirit would be poured out on the disciples in greater measure than ever before. They would receive all the authority and power necessary for them to discharge this great trust. “[Jesus] exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33).Jesus’ 12 disciples – A message to us
Just like Jesus’ 12 disciples, God chooses each of us for a special purpose. It doesn’t matter how hopeless our lives may seem—uneducated, rejected, betrayed. God longs to recreate us by filling us with His power. The same power that flowed through Jesus when He walked on this earth flowed through the disciples (Acts 10:38). Regardless of the storms of life, God’s love remains a steadfast anchor. “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). The same Holy Spirit is available to us. By faithfully and humbly following Jesus, our ordinary lives become extraordinary.