I was just thinking how much I love not only reading about Jesus in the Gospels, but also about His disciples. How real and imperfect they are, and yet, God still chose them to be His followers and left them in charge of spreading His message to the world- of changing the course of history. This is such a random post, but I was just thinking about stuff and had to get it out of my head. I was thinking about faith today, and what it is that makes me so confident in my beliefs. And one of the main things that encourages me is the reaction of the disciples to Jesus' death and resurrection. The change that occurs from Friday to Sunday is incredible. After Jesus is crucified, every disciple is devastated, heartbroken, and left full of questions- wondering if this man they gave up their lives to follow is really who He said He was. These men hide out- and are frightened for their lives. Despite all Jesus had been trying to explain to them, they still didn't get it- they had no idea what had happened or what to do.
But after those 3 days, it's a completely different story- and it fires me up!!!! These men who, just days before, were cowardly, spineless, doubting- seriously go out ready to take on the world, ready for anything!! There is no other explanation for this- except if they truly encountered Jesus after His resurrection, and realized He meant what He'd been telling them everyday for 3 years. What else would cause such a 180 turnaround?? To the extent that they would all (except 1) be willing to die a horrible death? What would inspire such a reaction- unless they were completely convinced that Jesus is the Christ? These men spent every moment with Jesus the 3 years of His ministry. EVERY MOMENT. I can maybe fool people for a few hours that I've "got it together" or that I'm a "good person"- but what about every waking moment for 3 straight years? Had Jesus been a fraud, these men would have known. And why would they have been willing to die a martyr's death for a lie? Jesus was the real deal. And these men whose natural, human reaction is to first run away and hide- they realize what Jesus is calling them to. And they dive completely in. I try to just imagine it, and I'm overwhelmed.
I love Rob Bell's perspective of the disciples. That these men were what he calls the "not good enoughs". These men hadn't "cut it" to be rabbis- many of them were fishermen, just learning the family business. To become a rabbi back in the day, all Jewish boys started out memorizing the Torah. Then, only the best of the best went on to study and memorize the rest of the Old Testament. Seriously, that's insane. Then, the best of these, would approach a rabbi and ask to be his disciple. If they were chosen, they followed their rabbi around everywhere. They wanted not only to know what the rabbi knew, but to also to become like that rabbi. These young men would leave behind everything in their lives, to devote themselves to becoming like their rabbi. And, as you can imagine, after following around your rabbi for the entire day on dusty roads, the disciples are covered in the dust from their rabbi's feet. So there was a saying, "May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi."
Then Jesus comes into town, and He choses these B team guys to be His followers. These young men who hadn't been good enough to "make the cut" and to be a rabbi. And this is who Jesus chooses to be His followers- which is so cool :) Because His movement is for everyone!! He knows I'm not the smartest, that I don't have the best memory, that I'm overly emotional, and terrified of speaking in groups, and can be incredibly moody and selfish at times (the list could go on for a long time, but I'll stop)- and despite that, He still asks me to follow Him!!
Here's some awesome words from Rob Bell:
"The rabbi doesn't chose you unless the rabbi believes you can do what he does... What if we can actually be the kinds of people God created us to be? What if He believes that? What if He actually believes that we can be the kind of people who live like Jesus lived? The kinds of people who take action because we're aware of all these endless opportunities around us all the time for good, for beauty, for truth? Jesus has faith that you can follow Him and be like Him."
What an honor. He seeks us out, and asks us to come and follow Him. And He truly has faith that we can be like Him. May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.