Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spiritsand to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The Quirky Dozen that Jesus called out of the larger group of his disciples were a mix. Peter was probably a little older, he was married, and ran a business on the shores of Galilee. He always had something that he could fall back on, and he did when it looked like the disciple thing wouldn’t work out. He was an ‘all-in’ or ‘all-out’ kind of guy – impetuous. He spoke before he had processed what he was saying. A bit of a bunglar at times, eloquent and powerful at other times. He had a view of The Messiah as a conquering king and although he identified Jesus was Messiah he was appalled to think of him allowing himself to die, until after Jesus had risen and he saw the significance of the death and resurrection.
An apostle is a representative. In the case of those designated apostles in the church, they had to have spent time with Jesus and were given special authority. Peter was going to head up this group. What strikes me is how normal Peter and the rest of the twelve were. They were like us. We too are sent by the Jesus we read about yesterday. We are sent under Jesus’ authority on a mission of compassion to relieve the suffering and avert the disaster awaiting a godless world. In fact, it was reported yesterday that those within America reporting no religious affiliation rose from 1/10 to 1/5 of the population. Protestants have dropped below 50% for the first time. Like the twelve, we are given authority to speak the truth and make changes if only we would trust God for the leading and the courage to act.
The disciples were organised into 3 groups of 4. Peter headed up the group that contained Andrew, James and John. Philip headed up the group containing Bartholemew, Thomas, and Matthew. James led the group with Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. I think this shows that within larger groups of disciples/apostles, we need smaller groups for real accountability and learning. This is shown further when Jesus sends out the disciples in pairs (Mark 6:7). People in the crowds do not grow as much as those who are discipled in ever smaller groups. Jesus invested most heavily in twelve. I think that is a good number for a small group. Those twelve worked in fours and twos. I think we can assign tasks in similar ways.
- How many of the twelve disciples can you name?
- Who is always listed first?
- Describe some of the disciples other than Peter. Why do you think Judas Iscariot was chosen?
- How are you like the apostles?
- What has Jesus sent you to do (cf. yesterday)?