Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fishers of Men (Paraphrase of Chapter 2 of The Training of the 12 by AB Bruce)

See Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
There were three clear stages of growth for the twelve in their relationship with Jesus. In the first stage they were simply believers in Him as the Christ and his occasional companions, especially during festive occasions. We can see this in the first four chapters of John, which tell how some of the disciples first became acquainted with Jesus. They are with him at a wedding in Cana, at a Passover celebration in Jerusalem, on a visit to the scene of John the Baptist’s ministry, and on the return journey through Samaria from the south to Galilee. 

The second stage became an uninterrupted journey with Jesus involving a complete or at least habitual abandonment of their occupations. The passages listed above are stories of the disciples entering this second stage of their discipleship. Of the four people named, we recognize Peter, Andrew and John as old acquaintances who had already passed through the first stage of discipleship. We also meet James the brother of John, for the first time. With James, the first and second stages of discipleship may have been blended together. 

The twelve entered on the last and highest stage of discipleship when they were selected by their Master from the mass of his followers and formed into a select band. They were chosen so that they could be trained for the great work of apostleship. This selection probably did not take place until all of the disciples had been with Jesus for some time. From the gospels, it appears that Jesus began at an early period to gather a group of disciples around Himself. This was his strategy to carrying out the work of the divine Kingdom.

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