Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The resurrected Jesus moves on from Jerusalem to Galilee and the disciples move with him.
First he mysteriously appears on the beach to seven disciples who have gone back to fishing.
He directs them to a great catch of fish and then cooks breakfast for them. Then he turns to Peter and turns his three denials before the cock crowed into three affirmations of love before they make a new beginning.
Then to the mountain. The last time Jesus and his disciples stood on a mountain top together it had been the massive shared spiritual experience of the Transfiguration. From there it was downhill to Jerusalem and the cross. Here they are back on top of the mountain again. Worship and doubt are again joined like Siamese twins. We usually think that the one drives out the other but they often seem to live in the same house in Jesus’s story.
Up to this point we have defined the disciples as those who learn from and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Here we add a third element to the picture. From this moment on disciples will also be those who do the work of Jesus. Disciples do not just sit in Bible studies and prayer meetings. Disciples make disciples. You need the full colour spectrum to paint the discipleship picture and the three primary colours are learning, following and doing.
Disciples have a special relationship to Jesus, I always think of the Celine Dion song as capturing its essence.
You were my strength when I was weak,
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak,
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see,
You saw the best there was in me.
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach,
You gave me faith ‘cause you believed
I’m everything I am,
Because you loved me.
But it goes beyond this because it is not just about me and Jesus. It is about Jesus, me and the world.
Talking to various groups of Christians over many years I have discovered that this mark of going out and making disciples is probably the least popular aspect of following Jesus and becoming like him.
Do I really have to?
This is not my ministry or gift.
I am not very good at this.
These eleven disciples/apostles were in effect called to be both evangelists (Good News Proclaimers) and discipleship makers. The two are part of the same work, baptising or helping people to find Jesus and then helping them to become like him.
These eleven were not the only ones sent out, they were the first ones. We are their children. I’m quite sure that they were as fearful and as self-doubting as we are and yet they went.
A question for all would be disciples, ‘Can you think of three people you know that you could share Jesus with?’
You went out,
You sent the disciples out,
Help me now to go out,
Out to the people I already know,
And to talk with them,
About what I have found in you.