John T. Willis

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Biblical Teaching of Disciples--13

Matthew 24 and 26 contain THIRTEEN references to DISCIPLES. There is no reference to DISCIPLES in Matthew 25.

1. Matthew 24 relates several events and teachings about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Here we will not go into great detail. The whole discussion comes from a couple of questions to Jesus from his disciples.
    a. As Jesus came out of the Jerusalem temple, his disciples pointed out to him the buildings of the temple. Jesus told them that every stone of the temple will be torn down. After they came to the Mount of Olives, his disciples asked him privately WHEN will this be and WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN OF JESUS' SECOND COMING AND THE END OF THE AGE. 24:1-3.
    b. Jesus told them that no one knows when this will happen. There will be many people who claim to be the Messiah which are not true. There will be wars and rumors of wars; nations will rise and wall. This is just the beginning of birthpangs. The wicked will persecute and kills Jesus's followers. Some will fall away. Others will endure to the end. The good news of the kingdom of God will be proclaimed throughout the world. 24:4-14.
    c. Just as lightning comes from the east and the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then he will gather his elect from one end of heaven to the other. 24:15-31.
    d. About the day and hour of Jesus' Second coming no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but ONLY THE HEAVENLY FATHER. The point is: Everyone must be prepared, because the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. Every true disciples of Jesus must work faithfully until Jesus comes again. 24:32-51.

2. Matthew 26 relates ELEVEN references to Jesus' DISCIPLES. All of these text allude to THE TWELVE, or THE THREE [Peter, James, and John]. In almost every case, Jesus' DISCIPLES misunderstand Jesus or bluntly reject and abandon Jesus.
    a. After teaching his parables in Matthew 25, Jesus told his disciples that in two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be crucified. 26:1-5.
    b. At Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman poured costly ointment on Jesus' head. Jesus' DISCIPLES became angry about this because this is a waste. Jesus rebuked his DISCIPLES, telling them that this woman prepared Jesus for burial by pouring this ointment on his head. Her gracious gesture is the heart of the gospel message. 26:6-13.
    c. On the first day of Unleavened Bread, Jesus told his DISCIPLES to prepare the Passover. Jesus will keep the Passover at the house of an anonymous man, and Jesus' DISCIPLES prepared the Passover as Jesus told them. Jesus told Judas Iscariot that he will betray Jesus. Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it, and gave it to his DISCIPLES, and for the very first time initiated the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist. 26:14-30.
    d. Jesus told his DISCIPLES that ALL of them will DESERT Jesus. Peter strongly said he would never desert Jesus. All the DISCIPLES chimed in an agreed with Peter. 26:31-35.
    e. Jesus took THE TWELVE to Gethsemane and told them to wait until he returned. Then he took Peter, James, and John further into the Garden of Gethsemane, and left them there as he went farther to pray. After fervent prayer to God the Father, Jesus returned and found that THE THREE were asleep. Jesus sternly rebuked them, returned to pray two more times, and each time, they were sound asleep. Jesus sternly rebuked them for not praying for him in this serious moment. 26:36-46.
    f. Judas Iscariot brought the Jewish elders and chief priests to arrest Jesus to crucify him. Then ALL JESUS' DISCIPLES DESERTED HIM [JESUS] AND FLED. 26:47-56.

These texts are consistent with other texts in the Bible about DISCIPLES. DISCIPLES are followers, servants, slaves of God, but certainly NOT LEADERS!!! Jesus' DISCIPLES often have good intentions, but when the rubber meets the road, all forsake or desert Jesus. All of Jesus' DISCIPLES are weak and frail at best. God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord is able to work in and through and in spite of Jesus' DISCIPLES. The function of DISCIPLES is humility, humility, humility, service, service, service, certainly NOT LEADERSHIP. God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord is our only dependable LEADER.

Share YOUR fears and failures and anxieties and uncertainties and desertions with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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