“The world may not understand our bond, but as long as we stick together, that’s all that matters,” Anonymous
Who do you take with you on your faith journey? Not everyone can go with you. Who you take and allow to speak into you, will either guide you to your destination or deter you from it.
When you are believing God for something out of the realm of normal, whom do you trust with that God vision? Who can you take on that journey with you to stand and believe with you for the things that seem out of the ordinary, the things that are hard sometimes to believe for? Not everyone you call friend will be able to go where God is taking you, or have the ability to see what you are seeing.
We take the life of Jesus and we see how He chose His friends wisely, how He chose His select carefully and in our lives today, we tend to be pretty casual with choosing our friends. We have talked a lot about some of this in our Covenant blogs, but this goes hand in hand with whom that person will be to walk out your God dreams with you and continue to stand for you even when you get weak.
Jesus had the multitude that he taught. He had the 70 that he organized, then the 12 disciples he tookunder Him, and 3 that were his inner most circle.
There are three types of friendships – the outter court (aquaintances), inner court (closer friends) and the holy of holies (inner circle; the closest who you can trust with your heart).
Read Mark 3:13-19as it describes Jesus’s choosing of His disciples.
A disciple is simply one who accepts and assists in the spreading of the doctrines of another. In other words, for us as Christians – one who follows and spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That would mean Jesus definitely had more than 12 disciples following Him, but He chose 12 to train up to go out and spread His ministry, to do the work He was doing and to be His hands and feet, to be in His inner circle so to speak. Not everyone you hang around with can be in your inner circle.
Mark 3:13-15– “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
We see here that Jesus went on a Mountainside and already knew whom He was going to choose. He doesn’t specify in scripture WHY He chose these particular 12, but we can see throughout the New Testament different encounters Jesus had with them and they were all so very diverse –a fisherman, a tax collector and more.
The number 12 can be related to the 12 tribes of Israel in the following verse:
Matthew 19:28– “Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
So from there, we derive why the number 12 was so significant in the Ministry of Jesus.
But, my sister and I want to take this even further. While Jesus specifically chose 12 disciples to mentor and train, He couldn’t possibly have them all in sync, following His every move together. They were human. They doubted at times, rebelled, wavered, questioned like most of us at times. Jesus didn’t fire them or give up on them because of that. He continued to love and teach them because it’s us –just like them, imperfect and sometimes wavering, BUT with a heart for God and that’s what He can use!
That being said, we can all probably say we have friends we can ask to pray for us, friends we can have fun and laugh with and trust to hold us up when our faith is tested…But what about those times God gives you something or tells you to do something that is so far fetched that you can barely believe it yourself!! In those times, you can’t always turn to your 12. In those times, you have to see the select one or ones out of that even to trust with that God vision. Even Moses formed an inner circle, as it was Aaron who was his High Priest.
Everyone wanted to be close to Jesus but he didn’t allow access to everyone, but Jesus had his 3 that were allowed intimate insights… Out of His 12, there were 3 that were especially close to His heart: Peter, James and his brother John. These 3 were key to Jesus’s Ministry. These were the 3 Jesus saw something more in. When an extraordinary manifestation of Jesus’s glory occurred, it was Peter, James and John that Jesus took with Him.
1. The raising of Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:37) “So they left for his home, but Jesus didn’t allow anyone to go with them except Peter and the two brothers, Jamesand John.”
2. The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1)“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and hiked up a high mountain to be alone.”
3. Jesus needing strength in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33) “He took Peter, James, and John with him. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow and agony.And he said to them,“My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
These 3 walked closely with Jesus and showed more maturity in their faith when their calling was still so new to them.
These 3 were dear to Jesus and they got to see and behold things that others did not.
What did the other 9 disciples think? Did they think Jesus showed favoritism? The bible doesn’t tell us, but I wonder if there was any complaining going on among the 9. Was there talk amongst them about why Jesus didn’t take anyone else.
Don’t worry about what others may say. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone. It’s your journey and you get to choose who is in it with you.
Jesus did not worry what the other 9 would think; He knew the importance and value of close knitted friends. He knew in order to go and do certain things in ministry, He needed his inner circle.
Why Peter? It could be many reasons, but scripture tells us that Peters loved Jesus more than any of the other Apostles. John 21:15shows us that Jesus asked Peter 3 times if He loved Him and Peter replied that he had a burning love for Jesus.
In Matthew 16:16– Peter confessed His belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God and that was something even the disciples were still struggling with. It was here we get the verse:
Matthew 16:18-19– “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that soon after, Peter was one of the 3 Jesus chose to experience the Transfiguration. In fact, Jesus called Peter blessed because His confession of Jesus as the Messiah had not yet been revealed by humans means. Peter still showed weakness in His ministry, denying Jesus 3 times; however even in His weaknesses He was still one of the most prominent Apostles, evangelizing the Word of God.
James and John were brothers that were very close to each other and very close to Jesus. Again, imperfect, though.
Luke 9:51-56– “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.”
As we see here, James and John were a bit harsh. You can almost say they reveled in their authority as Jesus’s elect. There was even a situation where these brothers, along with their “momager” asked Jesus if they could sit at His right and left sides in His Kingdom because they could surely endure the same cup and baptism Jesus was about to experience. BUT with all that, they had hearts for Jesus that truly stood out amongst the other disciples, allowing them to hold a special place with Jesus to be trusted more securely with His Ministry. These brothers loved Jesus and as Jesus was dying on the cross, it was John He entrusted His mother to. James was the first apostle to die – he was the first martyr. John was the last apostle to die and the only non-martyr. These brothers, though a bit harsh at times, endured intense suffering for their commitment to Jesus and the Ministry.
We can all have a group of friends. We can all have an Army on our side, but when push comes to shove and you need those who’s hearts are one with yours, who see your visions and will come along side you – it’s impossible to entrust many. They may not be perfect – they may not always agree, BUT they are willing to trust the God that is speaking to you and come in unity with your vision to help you believe and encourage you along the way.