Posts Tagged ‘disciples’

170416After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10, NRSV)

Jesus was laid in the tomb Friday evening…

He was dead. When they pierced His side, blood and water flowed, a sure sign of death.

So it was a bit surprising when the Marys head to the tomb to wrap His body and put spices on it that the stone is rolled away and an angel is waiting for them.

And they hear for the first time, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus is not here.

And they believe and run to tell the disciples when they run into Jesus, who also says to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” We have reason to fear when He was dead, but here He is walking with us, but isn’t that what He told us would happen?

Do we not believe He will keep His promises. He said 3 days and I will rise!

So do not be afraid, for He is alive! And He is going to keep all of His promises!

Do not be afraid!

170212“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:21-37, NRSV)

Really Jesus, if my eye offends me pluck it out or if my hand offends me cut it off…

I guess none of us actually believe He meant this, or we don’t really follow it, or we are not honest. Becuase if we believed it and were honest there would be a lot of us without body parts, but I see no one walking around with one eye or missing hands.

So what does all of this mean? What is Jesus saying to us here?

Remember where this teaching falls, in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us who is blessed, those who have been held down because of things out of their control, and those who look after them. Then He continued with telling the disciples you are the salt of the earth and the light to the world. You shine light on the darkness and bring to light things of God and you flavor the earth with the grace of God. And you do this by looking out for those who are held down in the blessings.

And here Jesus continues the look at who we as disciples should be.

We should not be angry with anyone because that draws away from the love that God has for all of us. [And a side note here, this is a scriptural reference for the passing of the peace in the ordo of service before we come to communion. “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Now, this talks about offering a gift but it is also good for when we come and get the Holy Supper. If you have an issue with a brother or sister go and make peace about it before you come to the Lord’s Table.] Anger also keeps us from seeing God’s love for ourselves.

Adultery is us focusing on our own needs instead of the needs of others, and what God is leading us to do.

All of these you have heard it was said help us to focus on God and others and not ourselves. Where is your focus, because the law is fulfilled in us loving God and our neighbor.

So how can we fulfill love?


Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.  For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11, NRSV)

Here Paul reports to the Corinthians how Jesus has appeared to the disciples.

First to Cephas and then the 12, but the 12 would have included Cephas and Judas, so not sure where Paul gets his numbers from.

But then, after this, Jesus appears to 500 brothers and sisters, then to James, then the apostles.

And lastly to one untimely born, Paul.

But has Jesus appeared to you?

Have you seen Jesus?

Look around you, all of creation was made by Jesus, and we are all created in the image of God, so Jesus is with, and in all of us. So in your brothers and sisters is Jesus.

So have you seen Jesus?

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. (Luke 6:12-19, ESV)

There are a lot of things in this passage we probably miss, because we think we know the story.

Jesus called His disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles…

We think the apostles and the disciples are the same. But here we see there were many more than 12 disciples, and from this large group Jesus chose 12 and made them the apostles.

Now I like to think of all of us as both disciples and apostles because of the meaning of the words. Disciple in the original Greek means learner, and apostle is one who is sent. We are all learning from Jesus (I hope!) and Jesus sends us all. But before you can be sent you must learn. So we must first be a learner from Jesus before He will send us…

But to me the most interesting thing and something we probably miss here is the first line. We want to be sent, but before we can be sent we have to learn, and before we can learn we have to listen. And how do we listen?

We pray.

We spend time in relationship with Jesus…

And here in the first line of our text, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray and commune with God, and He was not there for 5 minutes, or even an hour, but He was there all night! He continued in prayer all night before He chose whom He was going to send.

What an example of how we should be communing with God.

So pray and listen.

He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:13-19, NRSV)

The 12 disciples. Or Apostles…

So Jesus appointed 12… Named here in Mark and 12 others in other gospels…

Which is interesting. We talk about the 12 disciples, but the list of names are different depending on where your list comes from. So how many disciples or apsotles were there?

Well given the actual meaning of the two words, there are as many as there are followers of Jesus.

You see disciple is learner and apostle is sent one.

All of us are sitting at the feet of Jesus learning and all of us are sent to show forth His love.

So go as a learner and one to tell of His love!

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” (John 7:40-52, NRSV)

This passage includes one of my favorite characters in the Bible…

He appears only 3 times in the gospel according to John…

His first appearance is in chapter 3 and he comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness and asks Jesus questions. He gives us the verse about a person being born again, and the great verse of God so loving the world! And the verse that follows about why the Son came, so that the world could be saved…

Nicodemus is the man, who gives us a clear picture of what it means to grow in the life of a disciple.

His first appearance to Jesus is under the cover of darkness because he doesn’t want the other Pharisees to know what he is doing…

But in our reading here he is openly speaking before the leadership in defence of Jesus…

And his final appearance is when he helps Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in the tomb. From darkness, to semi public, to public profession…

That is what God calls for in each of us as disciples!

ChangeThis picture is a postcard I got a while ago while I was pastor at a previous congregation I served. It was an advertisement for a book from Spark House. I was not interested in the book, but I was interested enough in the saying to keep the card on my bulletin board.

Change is something we try to avoid, because change is hard even if it is good change. It is hard to do things different, to not do it the same old way.

But the problem with that sometimes leads us to hope things will be different even when we do the same things! Albert Einstein is attributed with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” If we always do things the way we have, nothing will ever change, no matter how hard we wish it would!

I say all of this, because there are changes happening. Some of them you will notice, and others may go without even causing a ripple. Some of them will affect some of you greatly, and others of you may or may not even see a difference. But if it affects one of us, it affects us all!

And my hope is the changes will affect us all. I hope and pray that we will learn how to talk with each other about our faith. Thus helping us to better understand our faith and better be able to share it in the world around us. I hope and pray we will all be disciples of Jesus, helping each other grow in our faith and deeper in relationship with Jesus.

You see we are all learners and teachers. We are helpers and leaders. We are all a part of the body of Christ and we need each other!

So if something has changed and you need to talk about it, my door is open, please come and have a chat! All of us are in this together and we need everyone to be a part of God’s mission so that we can change the world!

Because the change God has for the world is better than any change it will get from the vending machine!