Have you ever noticed how dumb the disciples are portrayed in the gospels?
It’s almost as if they are on a downward trajectory until the resurrection. Think about it. It must have taken GREAT faith to drop their nets (the family business) and follow after Jesus. This new, unknown, Rabbi preaches a sermon near the lake they fished and when He invites them to be His disciples, to follow Him, they immediately leave their trade. This is nuts! It would have taken great faith and a little nerve. What do you think was going through Zebedee’s head when his two boys (James & John) jump out of the boat and take off (Matt. 4:21-22)?
He was probably hacked off! Who is going to help him man the nets/boats?! Leaving to follow Jesus would have taken great faith. But let’s look a little further into their followship…
In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus lays out plainly what will happen to the Son of Man. He told them that He must “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priets and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Peter’s reaction?
He rebukes Jesus! He rebukes the man who has walked on water, fed 4,000, healed the deaf, cast out demons, and calmed a storm. What?! WHY would he doubt the intentions and words of Jesus? Has He not seen the power behind Jesus’ words? This is a royal example of Peter missing the point. A chapter later in Mark 9:30-34 Jesus again foretells his death and resurrection. The disciples response? Fear. Which this somehow parlays into a conversation about which disciple is the greatest. Again, the disciples miss the point. Now let’s look at the disciples followship shortly before the crucifixion.
In Mark 14:43-50 Jesus is in the garden praying before His arrest. The disciples who know Jesus is stressed, somehow fall asleep. When they wake, Judas is on the scene having Jesus arrested. One disciple begins to defend Jesus, but Jesus prevents the fight. We would think that the disciples would be faithful. That they would offer themselves over as well. “If you are going to take Jesus, you have to take us also!” But verse 50 states, “And they ALL left him and fled.” They ran. A few verses later, we find the story of Peter denying Jesus.
The closer to the cross we get, the dumber the disciples become. However, after the resurrection, the disciples begin to proclaim Jesus with boldness, courage, and faith that would inevitably lead to their deaths.
I encounter many students who are in different stages of followship. I see newbies demonstrate great faith and lifelong followers miss the mark completely.
May we as youth workers use the disciples to encourage our students. May we praise those who drop their nets to follow Jesus, but may we also prepare them for the difficult road ahead. When they fail, and they will fail, may we point them to a Savior that lives. A Savior who doesn’t want selfish conformity, but rather humble warriors on mission to make disciples by offering life through Jesus Christ.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Photo-on-2-20-13-at-4.14-PM.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]