--Mark 8: 14-17, 19. 21
Let’s face it; on the whole, the gospel portrait of the first followers of Jesus is an unflattering picture. Although there are recorded professions of faith in the gospels, there are also many instances where the faith of Jesus’ followers was weak and they were slow to understand His message.
Plain and simple: sometimes the apostles just didn’t get it.
Many times they had to approach Him privately to have Him explain the meaning of parables (Matthew 13:36). They were also sometimes shocked by His message:
“When the disciples heard they, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’” (Matthew 19:25). And they were slow to understand His coming death and resurrection.
Luke recounts three different times that Jesus foretold His coming Passion (Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-33). Yet even after the third explanation, the disciples “understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what He said was hidden from them and they did not grasp what was being said” (Luke 18:34).
The simplicity of the apostles continued to the end. Luke recounts that at the Last Supper, even after Jesus had shared His body and blood with them, they fell into a dispute over which of them was most important to Jesus (Luke 22:24). Jesus tried to warn Peter that he would be severely tested, but Peter brushed His words aside with bluster and bravado (Luke 22:31-33).
Jesus told His disciples to be ready for a time of crisis and they reassured Him that they were indeed prepared for it because they had two swords – misunderstanding the true nature of the coming trial (Luke 22:36-38).
It seems to me that Jesus did not pick the most qualified and promising people to be His disciples, but, instead, simply asked people at random to follow Him. Normally, the leader of any new cause would want to assemble the strongest and the bravest; but not Jesus; He actually selected a group of people who were at best unremarkable.
And that, to me, is the ‘good news’ for each and every one of us. No matter how frail our faith is, or how imperfect we are, or how discouraged and weary we’ve become, we are all in good company. The first followers that Jesus chose were no more adept at following Him than we are yet they found eternal life -- not because they earned it but because Jesus freely gave it to them.
Jesus has chosen each of us personally and despite all or our weaknesses, God really does love us “just the way we are.”
Judi Lynn Lake has kept up with leading edge business trends throughout her varied and successful career. She had already had her "15 minutes of fame" over and over again before starting her family. Judi and her family now reside in South Carolina, but, having been born and raised on Long Island, NY, it is clearly evident that she will always be a "New Yorker." Today, she successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding and package design while she continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. For more information, visit judilake.com
The following video, The Potter's Hands, courtesy of You Tube.