Sunday, March 16, 2014

Some Thoughts on Jesus' Selection of the Twelve - Training of the Twelve Chapter 4 (part 1)

My ongoing paraphrase of the AB Bruce classic: The Training of the Twelve

The selection of the twelve from the broader band of disciples is an important turning point in the Gospels. It divides the ministry of Jesus into two parts that are equal in duration, but unequal in terms of importance. In the earlier period, Jesus was the laborer. For the most part, He labored single-handedly and his miracles were confined to a limited area. His teaching was elementary and consisted of foundational truth about the coming Kingdom.

By the time the twelve were chosen, the work of the Kingdom had grown to such a point that it required a greater division of labor. Jesus’ teaching was also beginning to be deeper and more challenging. His ministry was taking on a broader scope. The selection of this small number of people to be His close and constant companions had become a necessity to Christ because of the fruitfulness of the ministry. His followers had become so numerous that they impeded his movements.

It was starting to become impossible for everyone who believed in Him to follow Him everywhere, so Jesus decided that He would select certain men who would be with Him at all times and in all places. They would be His travelling companions, witnessing all His work and serving alongside Him. And so as Mark puts it, Jesus called The Twelve that they would be with Him.

Of course, these twelve were to be more than travelling companions. They became His students and fellow laborers. Eventually they would be His chosen agents for the advance of the Gospel throughout the whole earth. Indeed, from this time forward, the twelve entered into a regular apprenticeship. Here they would learn what they should be, do, believe, and teach, as His witnesses and ambassadors to the world. From this point forward, the training of these men was to be a constant and prominent part of Christ's personal work.

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