When Jesus calls his disciples, did you ever wonder why did Jesus choose the number 12 not 10 or 13? How did Jesus choose each one of the 12? Are there modern-day disciples? How can we take greater steps for Christ just like the disciples did?
What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle?
A disciple is someone who is a student. The word Apostle means “messenger, he who is sent.” This tells us that Jesus’s students were disciples. One he believed they were ready to become teachers Jesus chose 12 of his disciples to become apostles.
All apostles were disciples but all disciples are not apostles.
Jesus chose twelve disciples and this inner circle of men came to be known as Apostles who were entrusted to spread the message of Jesus throughout the world so that eventually there would be many disciples on this earth.
What Did Jesus Followers Have To Do To Become A Disciple?
Jesus calls his disciples one by one asking them to give up their current lifestyle and dedicate their lives to follow Jesus Christ.
“Come. Follow Me,” Jesus said. “I will make you fishers of people.” Matthew 4:19
What Were The Disciples Doing Prior To Jesus?
Andrew, Peter, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, all worked as fishermen while Matthew, which is called Levi in Luke, worked as a tax collector.
Simon was known as the Zealot, this was seen as someone who wanted to politically overthrow the government, at that time it was the Roman government.
The remaining apostles do not have records of what they did prior to their mission with Jesus Christ.
How Did Jesus Choose His Disciples?
Jesus went up to the mountainside and prayed all night asking God for wisdom. Heavenly Father chose 12 disciples that would serve his purpose here on earth.
At this point, we need to remember that Jesus came here to earth to minister, heal and give us the greatest gift of all the atonement. Even Judas was chosen to fulfill a purpose for Christ here on earth.
How Did Jesus Call His Disciples?
Luke 6:12 tells us: “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.”
Who Were Jesus’s Apostles
Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot,
How were the Apostles set apart?
Jesus calls his disciples and they were set apart by the power of prayer. Inheriting the gift to heal the sick in all manners of sickness and disease and they were also given the authority to cast out unclean spirits.
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:15
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. ” John 14:12.
Why Did Jesus Choose 12 Disciples?
The number 12 is used many times in the new and old testament.
12 is seen as the government of God.
The meaning of 12 in Hebrew is: Twelve shtayim esre [f.] shnayim asar [m.] perfect government, order, organization, united, perfect subdivisions of time and of people.
Time is broken up into units of 12 hours in day, 12 hours of the night, 12 months in a year.
Abraham was instructed to leave his own country and people and journey to an undesignated land, where he will become the founder of a new nation. The nation of Israel.
The 12 tribes of Israel are direct descendants of Abraham, as his grandson Jacobs children became the 12 tribes of Israel.
Moses built an altar with 12 pillars, representing the tribes (Exodus 24:4). There were 12 stones on the high priest’s ephod, or holy vest, each representing one tribe.
12 Gates of Heaven. “It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.” Revelation 21:12 Once again representing perfect order of government and subdivision.
The 12 Disciples
Jesus Christ, who came from the tribe of Judah, went and prayed about who he should choose to be his 12 apostles. Once again the number 12 displaying the perfect number of government and subdivisions of people.
Heavenly Father chose 12 disciples that would serve Jesus’s purpose here on earth. Jesus calls his disciples together to ensure that they continue to spread his message and continue his work.
The Apostles Responsibilities
A few of these tasks besides healing, casting out spirits and ministering to others was to help his followers be spiritually purified through the baptism of water and fire. Jesus Christ tells his disciples that they must continue this work when he is gone.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18
The disciples were not just awarded to serve on the earth as shown in the above verses. Jesus has plans for his disciples with him in the afterlife.
Not long before the death of Jesus Christ Peter asked:
‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore, what shall we have?’ So, Jesus said unto them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” Matthew 19:27, 28
This leads us to the question: Who are the 12 tribes of Israel?
12 Tribes Of Israel
The Hebrew people inherited the land of Caanan after under the leadership of Joshua. Jacob had 12 sons, each one of these sons became the 12 leaders of the tribes of Israel. This name of the tribes became Israel as Jacob was renamed Israel by God.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Gen 32:28
Leaders of the Tribes
In Genesis 49 we see the blessings that were given to each child:
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him. Genesis 49:28
Each of these blessings gives us insight into the nature of each son.
|Reuben||A son seen||My firstborn; you shall not have pre-eminence|
|Simeon||Gracious hearing||Instrument of cruelty; dispersed in Jacob,|
scattered in Israel
|Levi||My joining||Instrument of cruelty; dispersed in Jacob,|
scattered in Israel
|Judah||Praise of God||His brethren shall praise; the scepter shall not depart from Judah|
|Naphtali||My wrestling||A hind let loose; gives beautiful words|
|Gad||A troop or band||A troop shall overcome him|
|Asher||Proceeding right||His food (bread) shall be rich (fat)|
|Issachar||He brings reward||A strong ass; a slave at forced labor|
|Zebulun||Dwelling wished for||Shall dwell at the seashore; a haven for ships|
|Benjamin||The son of my right hand||A ravenous wolf; devours the prey, divides the spoil|
|Manasseh||He made to forget||Grow into a multitude, a great people|
|Joseph||He will add||A fruitful bough; a crown on the head|
|Ephraim||He increases||A fruitful bough; a crown on the head|
(Joseph and Ephraim are counted as one as they have the same blessing and meaning.)
The 12 tribes of Israel all come from the seed of Abraham. This shows us that if we are born of a righteous father, it does not guarantee that the children will have good character.
Heavenly Father gave us free will and with this choice, we can either choose the right or not. The 12 tribes of Israel will be judged by the 12 apostles in the afterlife who sit at the feet of Jesus Christ.
What Does Jesus Promise To His Followers
Matthew 19:29 ” And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Jesus promises us eternal life and invites us to follow Him. The choice is up to us.
How Can You Be A Modern Day Disciple For Christ?
We all have the opportunity to give up our lives and dedicate them to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ’s disciples were to spread his word, reach the people and minister to them.
While we all may not become Bishops and lead large congregations it doesn’t mean that we still can’t be ministers of Christ.
In our daily lives, we have a certain level of influence over others such as; parents over their children, friends influence each other and we also have an influence in our careers.
Simply talking about Christ is a ministering opportunity. If someone asks you what you are doing on a Sunday it is another opener for you to be able to talk about the gospel. Just remember you can never force someone into Christ and it is not what he wants. That is why we have the gift of free agency.
Sharing God’s word on social media is a great way to:
- Get his message across
- Start conversations
- Give people the opportunity to ask you questions
Help others with your expertise or experience
I personally suffer from major depressive disorder. After having this illness for over a decade I have quite the little tool kit on how to deal with it. I share my advice and strategies to individuals in internet forums so that I can better equip them.
Ok so not everyone has an extreme circumstance like that but we have a lot of experience that we can offer to people in need.
The Gift Of Company
Every single day we interact with other human beings. It is something you are an expert in. You could spend a couple of hours a week keeping the lonely elderly company but visiting them in a home. I did this and it was very rewarding.
Yes, you heard right hugs. I don’t mean it in a weird type of hippy way. It is proven that premature babies have a better chance of surviving if they are held. Hospitals do have volunteer programs where you can go in and hug the premature babies.
We all know how to plate up a bowl of soup or a meal. Volunteering at a shelter that offers food for the homeless can be a very rewarding experience. Not only can you help cook or serve you can also spend your time getting to know the locals. This could lead to opportunities to minister and the conversation is great for someone who does not have a home. They normally live in very harsh circumstances and do not have a caring ear to listen to them.
Be a friend
Whether you are in high school or a mother at church. The world can be a cold and dreary place. Offer your friendship to someone who may need it. The bonus is that you will gain a new friend too!
Be a leader
If you have a strong desire to lead people to Christ then you could start a bible study group, a Christian social meet up or a prayer group.
Not only will you be strengthening your personal connection with Jesus Christ you will be helping others strengthen theirs too. What a blessing that is!
Still stuck for ideas on how to minister? I like to pray for the opportunity to minister and I always seem to have someone cross my path that needs ministering.
What was Jesus’s first miracle?
The first miracle that Jesus ever performed was the miracle of changing water to wine. While this may not be the first written about a miracle in the bible it was the miracle that happened first.
We can also be the hands or mouths of God’s miracles. What are you going to implement into your life in order to become a disciple of Jesus? You never know who you may help or how miracles may be worked through you.
Jesus calls his disciples: An Invitation To Minister