As the gospels are read it is easy to see that Jesus led a very interesting crew of men. Many of them came from the Sea of Galilee area, but they had very different view points on life. We know that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were fisherman. Matthew was a tax collector. Simon the Zealot was part of a group that was known for their radical revolution against the Roman government. Apart from their occupations, there were personality differences as well. And yet… eleven of these men went on to begin the church. Jesus assuredly spent a decent amount of time teaching them what it looks like to be His disciple. This wouldn’t have happened with a single sermon or teaching, but with constant reminders to them… that isn’t the way that we do things… this is what we do!
Peter proved to be very spontaneous, boisterous and decisive. This is evident when he cut off someone’s ear, essentially swore during his denial of Christ, and had regular outbursts that were unfiltered, yet shared nonetheless. There were probably a few times, or maybe many, that Jesus said something like, Peter, that isn’t how we address a situation, rather this is what we do. Peter, when we have a thought, there are times that we need to think about it more before we share it. Peter, we don’t respond with such strong words that seem to be callous, instead we respond with love, concern and patience.
Imagine the four guys that used to be fishermen before they were called by Christ. It’s been a week and they’ve been faithfully following Jesus, but they looked out at the sea. It was a beautiful sunrise, the waters were peaceful and they knew the fish were biting. Jesus may have looked at them as they were getting in the boat and said, guys that isn’t what you do any longer. We have more important things to do, we have been called to “fish” for men. They might have responded, “yeah, but it is a beautiful day to catch some fish, can’t we go out a little later today.” Jesus would have looked at them like a dad looks at a nine year old that he is teaching and would have said, “No, this is what we do.”
Matthew would have endorsed the Roman government. His occupation was to collect money for them and so his paycheck used to be signed by Caesar. Simon the Zealot was connected to a party that was known for their rebellion against the Roman government. Not only were they wanting to rebel against the government, but they were also encouraging others to join them in this movement. I am certain there were heated words between Matthew and Simon the Zealot at times. Undoubtedly there were times that Jesus had to break up a fight and say something like, we don’t do this guys, we love… that is what we do!
Imagine the other situations that Jesus may have addressed. Judas Iscariot was the treasurer and known by the others to steal occasionally. What words would Jesus have shared with him? Thomas was a skeptic and I am sure that Jesus had to remind and teach him what it meant to have faith like a child.
More could be shared, but I share all of this to end with this thought: What are we supposed to do? What would Jesus remind us of as we participate in His movement? What have we forgotten about that we are supposed to be involved in? In the life of Bethel Church, what are a few things that we know that we are to be involved in, but have maybe forgotten about or, honestly, gotten lazy in?
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