“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Luke 6:40)
The Pastoral staff has adopted the theme of “Discipleship: Be like Jesus” for 2020. We would want to focus ourselves on learning, imitating, and following our Lord closely. Disciples literally means learners or students. Oftentimes, we are so proud of ourselves thinking that we are above the teacher who teaches us. Jesus warned his disciples with this parable, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? On the other hand, when we are humble enough, we may after a period of being trained, become like our teacher; a true follower who thinks like Jesus, feels like Jesus and acts like Jesus.
The night before Jesus chose and called his disciples, he went up to the mountain to pray, spending the night praying to God. Then when morning came, He chose twelve apostles from among the many disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Jesus did not pick the cream of the crop like Nicodemus the scholar, or Joseph of Arimethea, the wealthy patron. He recruited a strange mixture of people, Simon the zealot belongs to the party violently opposing Rome, while Matthew the tax collector has recently been employed by Rome’s puppet ruler. In your mind, you may wonder whether Jesus could have done better.
Why did Jesus choose these disciples? Their most obvious trait seems to be their bone headedness. Jesus asks, “Are you so dull?” “Are you still so dull?” Much of the time, a fog of incomprehension separates them from Jesus. When Jesus was teaching them servant leadership, they were fighting and arguing about who deserves the premium position. After Jesus performed miracle after miracle, they fret anxiously about the next; Jesus restores the demon-possessed, raises the dead, heals the sick, feeds the 5,000, they asks how about 4,000?
Why does Jesus invest so much in these apparent losers? Mark mentions Jesus’ motives were “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” (Mk 3:14) Jesus wants to train them to become more like Him and to carry on His mission after He had left. Because Jesus did not choose His disciples on the basis of talent, perfectibility or potential for greatness but rather on their ordinariness, it gives us tremendous hope. Praise God, all but one would become prominent leaders of their time. From such a ragtag team, Jesus founded a living church. Are you willing to follow their footsteps, and be trained?