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For Smart People
Who Do Not Want To Be Dummies
About God and the Bible
(Parts I, II, III)
By J. George Cover
Lesson 23 - The Life and Ministry of Jesus - Part III (Text Version)
The Training of His Disciples
Who Were the Disciples?
The Greek word for disciple is "mathetes," meaning a learner. Jesus had many more disciples than the twelve. On one occasion when Jesus was teaching, he said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" (John 6:61). "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66).
Many, Twelve, Seventy.
Although Jesus had many disciples, "He ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach" (Mark 3:14).
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them forth two by two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come" (Luke 10:1). He commissioned them to "Heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:9). He also said to the seventy, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). After sending them forth, they returned and reported, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name" (Luke 10:17). Jesus replied to them, "I beheld Satan as fightning fall from heaven...Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:18, 20).
From among His disciples, he chose twelve, whom he also called APOSTLES (sent ones):
"He called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles" (Luke 6:13). A listing of the names of the twelve are found in four places in the New Testament: Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:6-14; Luke 6:1416; Acts 1: 13, 24-36. They were:
Simon Peter also called Judas (John 14:22),
and Judas, brother of James (Luke 6:16)
Simon Zelotes, called
Simon the Canaanite
James, the son of Alphaeus
We are told more about some and very little about others like Thaddaeus, Simon Zelotes, Bartholomew, and James, the son of Alphaeus.
To illustrate a point, there is a made-up story that says that when Jesus went back to heaven he was asked what about the future of the work that He began on earth. It is said that he replied, I have left it in the care of the twelve. Then He, reportedly, was asked, "And what if they fail?" His answer was, "I have no other plan!"
We know that although the disciples may have given their lives for the gospel in various countries, His plan was even broader than the twelve. The Lord saved and called Saul of Tarsus (Paul) to be an apostle to the gentiles. He moved and worked through the church by the power of the Holy Ghost throughout the earth.
"Please tell me more."