This one as well is still looking for excuses to delay answering His calling. Many of us are simply not ready to be His disciples. If we would be honest, we are just the crowd that flock around Him. And what’s worse is that these people were not only left Him, John 6:66, but they were also the ones who shouted, crucify Him, crucify Him in the end. The multitude are those who are not only easily deny the faith for the cry of the stomach, but also the ones who are easily influenced by the wrong things.
Photo above is courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art, Walter Rane: "In Remembrance of Me"
Let me say goodbye first, this is pointing out an excuse for delaying. Those who answer that way to God’s call is not fit, niether worthy for the Kingdom of God! In a different translation, this verse reads something like this.
Luke 9:61-62, still another said to him, “Lord, I want to follow You too. But first, let me go home and say goodbye to my whole family. “Jesus replied,” Why do you still look back on your past, have second thoughts, and finally change your mind to follow Me? When you turn back, you are useless in the kingdom of God. “
It’s not that the Lord would not allow us to say goodbye to our families, but often the act of saying goodbye is just another excuse to delay answering God’s call. We still don’t dare leave everything behind to follow Him. Because when that person comes home to say goodbye, he would open his heart and mind to accept the views and opinions of those who did not have God’s calling. He opens himself to the input of those who were clueless and or even worldly to answer this divine calling. In the end, he will have second thoughts which will cause him to deny God’s call.
Those who doubt, those who have many reasons and excuses, do not deserve to be called disciples of Jesus. They are no use to the kingdom of God, and if they keep trying to follow Him by bringing all their doubts, second thoughts, and considerations, they will clearly become a burden and trouble for those who are sincere to follow Him becoming Jesus’ disciples. They are not fit, neither worthy of the kingdom of God. Are you a disciple? Or are you just one of the crowds?!
70 (72) Mission disciples
After the crowd, there was a group of 70 (or 72 in some translations) disciples of Jesus who were sent out by twos preaching the good news. This is the second kind of those who follow God, Luke 10:1. After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. This group is those who follow the Lord to go out preaching the good news, becoming those who prepare for the way for the Lord’s visit to every city and place He is coming.
This group of 70, including 12 disciples whom Jesus called Himself, went to work on the Great Commission in a capacity like John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord. A group that was much better off, not like the crowds who followed Jesus. The group that was willing to pay the price, leaving behind many things, sent to carry out the task of proclaiming the Kingdom of God had come.
Luke 10:17-20 ESV, The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
12 Word of God disciples
The Word of God was often preached in parables by Jesus to the crowd, but to His 12 disciples, He spoke candidly. To the multitude, the Lord did not give them the ears and eyes of a disciple, they would not understand, Luke 8:10. But these 12 disciples had the opportunity to understand God’s Word further, to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Luke 8:9-10 ESV, and when His disciples asked Him what this parable meant, He said, “To you, it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others, they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
Verse 10 reads like this in a different translation, You have been given a heart that can be taught to understand the secret, hidden mysteries of God’s kingdom. But for those who do not have a listening heart, My Words are just a story, an illustration, or a parable. For even though they have eyes, they will still be blind to the true meaning of what I say, and even though they can listen, they will not receive the full revelation of God’s Word.
Lord, give us the heart of a disciple who can be taught to understand the secrets, the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God. Isaiah 50:4, the Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Out of these multitudes, 70-s or 12-s, which one are you in following Him? Would you go on a mission, to go to serve others? This is a group of the 70. Further, if we want to sit down to study God’s Word, want to have a different heart to be instructed, corrected, and taught, we are in a group of 12. But pay close attention, because there are still groups of 3 and groups of 1.
3 Praying disciples
Matthew 26:37 ESV, And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. The Lord took Peter, James, and John to the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39), to the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36) to pray (to face the Cross). The Mount of Olives is known as an area that grows many olive trees, which its fruit would be processed (pressed, mainly) to produce (olives) oil to be used for many different things, from cooking, health and all kinds of other things. Gethsemani Park itself sits at the foot of this hill, a place whose name means oil-press.
In this garden, the Lord prayed. He brought Peter, in which the preachers love to symbolize him as hope, James as faith, and John as love. Notice the letters John wrote, full of love. He was also known as the disciple Jesus loved. Yet, these 3 disciples fell asleep when Jesus prayed, Matthew 26:40. But only they who accompanied the Lord in His prayer, not the other 9 (of group 12). These were also the same three disciples who experienced Jesus’ transfiguration when He took them up a high mountain. Then Jesus was transfigured before their eyes; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light. Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36.
Yes, if we want to be the disciples who pray, like Jesus, we can experience these things too. Very intimate things we would experience personally, directly with the Lord. Prayer is also the main place the Lord Jesus used to leave His own will behind, surrendered to the will of the Father, Matthew 26:39. He lived and walked according to what the Father thinks, not according to what man thinks, Matthew 16:23. He himself was a disciple of God the Father in Heaven, Philippians 2: 6-8, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Only 1 arrived at the Cross
Among these 3, there was 1 who continued to follow the Lord until He was on the Cross, John. In the Gospel which he wrote, he described how he stood alongside 3 Mary-s, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the sister of the mother of Jesus who was the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:26-27, When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Yes, only John who was still faithful until the death of our Lord. Only Love will enable us to keep following Him even to the Cross. Peter denied God, and James was nowhere around. So were the other 9 disciples, they were all gone. Which are you to Him?
- The crowd?
- One of the 70-s mission disciples,
- or the 12-s disciples who knew God’s Word,
- or the 3 who follow Him to pray?
- Or the only one who still stand by the Cross of Jesus?
What clears is this, to become God’s disciples, there are many things we must leave behind. Not just only our work and family, but our ourselves, our lives, even our souls.
Matius 10:37-39 ESV, He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Interestingly, history records that John was the only disciple of Jesus who died of old age. He was not without persecution or suffering for the name of God, but he was the only disciple who would not die after being tortured and persecuted repeatedly. In his last situation, he was fried in hot sand. He wouldn’t die still. In the end, he was put to death on the island of Patmos, where then he received the Revelation which we have as the last book in the Bible. Yes, if you dare to follow Him to the Cross, you will preserve your life to the end.
The Reward of a Disciple
Matthew 19:27-30 the Passion, Then Peter blurted out, “Here we are. We’ve given up everything to follow you. What reward will there be for us?”
Jesus responded, “Listen to the truth: In the age of the restoration of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will have twelve thrones of your own, and you will govern the twelve tribes of Israel. For anyone who has left behind their home and property, leaving family—brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers, or children—for my sake, they will be repaid a hundred times over and will inherit eternal life. But many who push themselves to be first will find themselves last. And those who are willing to be last will find themselves to be first.”