The Way DAY 25 - BONUS: The Twelve

DAY 25 - BONUS: The Twelve

Luke 6:13-19

** We missed a day earlier this month, so here’s a short bonus devo.**

Earlier in Luke 5, Jesus starts gathering disciples. Remember, disciples are students or apprentices to a master-teacher, someone who’s an expert at something. It’s hard to say how many disciples of Jesus there were at any given time. Some time later, Jesus cherry-picked some of these disciples to be apostles.

Why does Jesus choose twelve? First, they symbolize the ancient twelve tribes of Israel. This is a powerful way of telling people that Jesus is rebuilding God’s people around himself. This is not about replacing the Jewish nation. It’s about returning to its roots while also expanding it. The Old Testament frequently made the point that ethnicity wasn’t the defining marker of being part of Israel. The Old Testament also said that any non-Jew could, in essence, “become Jewish” by faith in Israel’s God. Jesus isn’t into replacement theology (called supersessionism) but restoration theology.

Second, the twelve were the authorized carriers of Jesus’ teachings. Paul says in Ephesians 2:20 that God’s family is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” The Christian movement right away experienced “creative deviations” from the Way of Jesus (just read any of Paul’s letters, like 1 Corinthians, for example). Who decided which “Christianity” was real Christianity? The majority of early Christians said, “The apostles, of course! They knew Jesus, after all!” The twelve were to hand on the Way of Jesus to new generations. Traditionally, that core of teaching is supposed to be the responsibility of bishops and pastors. It’s one of the reasons why church denominations like ours ordain (set apart) certain leaders to learn, safeguard, and pass on the Way.

Finally, the twelve model discipleship to all of us. Jesus insisted the apostles “be with him” (Luke 6:14) so that they could do what he does. That’s discipleship! The key is to be with Jesus. That again presses the question on us: how am I being with Jesus?

How are you “being with” Jesus?

Jesus, I want to be with you. I want to learn how to be and how to do from you. Give me, and give your Church, apostolic leaders who guide us in your Way. Amen.

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