Monday, December 2, 2013

Fishers of Men (Paraphrase of Chapter 2 of The Training of the 12 by AB Bruce) - part 3

 See Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11 

Because so much depended on the twelve, they had to meet the highest standards. The mirrors designed to reflect the image of Christ must be highly polished! The apostles had to be men of rare spiritual ability. Since they would be required to take the gospel to all nations, they needed to be free of Jewish narrowness and have a love as wide as the world. Jesus was introducing a new spirituality that would supersede the ceremonialism of their day. That new spirituality required that they be freed from the yoke of the law. They needed to be free to proclaim the Cross. Crucifixion, previously regarded as a cruel and shameful punishment, would be lifted up as the hope of the world’s redemption and the symbol of all that is noble and heroic. Therefore its messengers must be superior to all conventional ideas of human and divine dignity and be able to glory in the cross of Christ and willing to bear a cross themselves. The apostolic character needed to combine freedom of conscience, enlarged heart and enlightened mind at the highest level.

The humble fishermen of Galilee had much to learn before they would be able to satisfy these high requirements. When we think of it this way, their time of apprenticeship in Christ’s ministry seems all too short. Yes, they were godly men, but at the time of their call, they were exceedingly ignorant, narrow-minded, superstitious, full of Jewish prejudices, misconceptions and animosities.  They had much to unlearn of what was bad as well as much to learn of what was good. They were also both slow to learn and slow to unlearn. Old beliefs already lodged in their minds made the communication of new spiritual ideas a difficult task. While they were men of good honest heart – good soil – they needed a lot of care from the gardener before they would bear fruit.  They were poor men of humble birth who had not experienced a higher education or much social interaction with people of the learned class.

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