JESUS TRAINS LEADERS
"And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyhond Jordan" (Matthew 4:25).
Jesus successful ministry of healing and deliverance created yet another problem. He made sheep out of them, but the sheep need shepherds, leaders who could continue to lead them in the right paths:
"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion
on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having
no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is
plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of
the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest"
Luke 5:1-11 informs us of the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John. Verses 27-28 tells of the calling of Matthew. The calling of Philip and Nathanael is found in John 2:43-49.
The Bible does not tell us when the rest of the twelve apostles became disciples, nor how. We do read that from the many disciples that followed Jesus, Jesus appointed twelve to receive special training and become His apostles.
This was not only a great honour, but also a great responsibility because the church of Jesus Christ was to be "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples; and of them he chose twelve . . ." (Luke 6:12-13).
"And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and
that he might send them forth to preach. And to have power to heal sicknesses,
and to cast out devils" (Mark 3:14-15).
Some churches are full of believers, but have few disciples--people who are seeking to progressively become more like Jesus, and become useful in His kingdom. People who identify with earthly mission, and have a burden for the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth (the church of Jesus Christ).
Much of the teaching of Jesus Christ was to the multitudes, for example His teaching that we call "the Beatitudes" (Matthew, Chapters 6 - 8). However, from them He chose a select group of people to receive more than just "pulpit teaching and preaching." He chose them "that they should be with him."
There is no substitute for this kind of teaching. The twelve apostles spent much of their time together with Jesus. Jesus taught them concerning prayer, but He also prayed with them many times in the garden of Gethsemane--and whenever and wherever they were together.
Jesus preached, healed the sick, and cast out demons. But He also empowered and encouraged them to do the same (Luke 9:1-2).
THE INNER CIRCLE
1. Peter, James, and John were allowed to enter Jairus' house when Jesus raised his daughter from the dead (Luke 8:49-56).
2. He took them to a mountain to pray, and there they witnessed the transfiguration (Luke 9:28- 36).
3. At the time of the betrayal, He came to the garden of Gethsemane with all of his apostles, except Judas. After entering the garden, he dismissed eight of them by saying, "Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder." He brought His "Inner Circle" friends further into the garden, and before He began to pray, He revealed to them His true feelings:
"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me" (Matthew 26:38).
By this act, Jesus let us know that, as the Son of God, He was human enough that He needed a few close friends that He could be open and honest with. Had He spoken those words to some of the other eight apostles, perhaps they would consider such honesty a weakness in Jesus' character.
THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES CHOSEN
"I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4).
He had taught hundreds of disciples, and had carefully trained the twelve men that would become the foundation of His church.
After His resurrection, He spent His final ten days speaking to His apostles "of things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). This included what we call "the Great Commission":
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
"Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations . . ." (Matthew 28:19).
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
After just 3-1/2 years of ministry, Jesus ascended into heaven, confident that the church which would be born on the day of Pentecost would flourish under the men He had trained.
During those final ten days, the largest group He spoke to consisted of about five hundred disciples (I Corinthians 15:6). That He trained His leaders well is seen in the fact that one week later, about three thousand people were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ! ds