Thursday is for Discipleship
See “How did Jesus Do it” for the beginning of this thread. Five observations were briefly discussed concerning Jesus’ process of discipleship.
- He lived with them
- He conversed with them
- He modeled for them.
- He gave them responsibility.
- He left them.
He did all of this with a determined purpose which we called INTENTIONAL WITHNESS based on Mark 3:13-15.
I want to pick up the discussion and focus on #1–He lived with them.
Most scholars put the public ministry of Jesus at between 3-4 years in length. Shortly after the wedding feast at Cana Jesus began to collect the first 12 men in whom he would invest the remainder of his earthly ministry. There were others, another 60 in addition to the 12, are mentioned in Luke 10. There were the 120 in the upper room, women included in this latter group. Among the twelve apostles, Peter, James and John seemed to be singled out for additional instruction. Some have suggested that near the end of Jesus’ ministry Andrew was becoming a fourth member of this inner circle.
With the twelve, Jesus went everywhere. There is no evidence that Jesus went anywhere alone with three exceptions: one, his 40 days of prayer in the wilderness (Matthew 4), two, his sending of the disciples ahead of him once before the feast of booths (John 7:1-15) and three, when he told the disciples to go to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds and then went up to the mountain to pray (Matthew 14:22-23). I suppose you could count approaching the woman at the well alone as the disciples were out getting food (John 4) but even here Jesus wasn’t going anywhere, he was waiting for the disciples to return and (I think) setting up an opportunity to teach them.
Three to four years of walking from village to village. Three years of conversation, questions and answers, thinking, watching him preach, hearing him explain, seeing him pray, observing him minister to the blind, the poor, the lame, the rich, men and women. Let your mind run a bit on how much time the disciples, who had “left all to follow” (Mark 10:28)–how much time they had in the presence of Jesus. It is a huge number of hours.
How is this type of close proximity possible in our technological society and culture? Answer: It isn’t.
This leads me to two initial thoughts:
- Thanks to God for sending the Holy Spirit, without whom, the work of transformation in my life and the lives of those I lead would be utterly impossible.
- I know Jesus’ pattern (And for that matter, Paul’s) can’t be duplicated but how can it be approximated? What are some ways that we in the post-modern era can get more time, more life on life, more conversation, more modeling, more Q and A with those we seek to influence for the glory of the Name?
Let’s talk about that.