Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Calling of the Twelve Apostles

This week, I spent time studying Matthew 10:1-4 and Mark 3:13-19 in order to learn about the twelve apostles. They were Simon Peter, his brother, Andrew, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the publican, James, son of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus also known as Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaaninte and Judas Iscariot. Some interesting information about three of them: James, son of Zebedee was one of the inner circle of three chosen to be with the Lord during certain events, he was also beheaded by Herod. John, brother of James, was also a part of the inner circle of Christ, we also believe that John 21:20-23 means that John has not died, but has been allowed to remain on earth to continue the work of the Lord until the second coming. What I especially loved about these two brothers, is that they were named the Sons of Thunder by the Savior. I'm looking forward to learning more about this. In reading up about the apostles, I enjoyed learning that Philip's name means lover of horses. I'm sure that by looking at my blog, you may have realized that I have a thing for horses. Philip was also from Bethsaida.

 What does it mean to be an apostle? In the Bible Dictionary, it states that the word apostle means one sent forth. An Apostle is set apart to forth into the world as a special witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ and to the reality of his resurrection. In Matthew 10:5-42, the Savior prepared his disciples for their responsibilities in proclaiming the gospel. His teachings prepared the disciples to deal with the many situations they would encounter as they proclaimed the gospel. He taught them not to worry for their food, clothing or shelter, but that all would be provided. He taught them to go serve in his name by healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out devils. He told them where they should go and preach and what they should do if they were or were not received. He taught them that they would be presented to all manner of men in his name and they should rely on the spirit to guide them in what they were to say. He taught them to not worry about losing life, but to fear those who would destroy souls. And finally, he taught them to declare his name and serve without thought for gain and reward and that they would receive the greatest rewards for doing so. These teachings taught the apostles what their duties would be, when to leave without regret and move on to the next assignment, that the Lord would care for their shelter, food and clothing, and that the spirit would speak through them when necessary.

I loved reading up on the twelve apostles and the calling of Peter, James and John was particularly touching. The Savior approached Simon Peter and came aboard his ship. He asked Peter to push out somewhat from the shore, and then proceeded to teach the people on the shore. When finished, he instructed Peter to cast his net in a certain place. Peter had been fishing and unsuccessful all day and stated as much, but nevertheless, he cast his net. Immediately, his net was full to overflowing and broke. He called his partners to come and help and the filled both ships to overflowing. Simon Peter fell to his feet and in humility, expressed his belief that he was a sinful man for doubting the Savior. Simon Peter's partners were James and John, sons of Zebedee. They, too, were overwhelmed by the miracle of their overflowing nets. Then Jesus reassures them, telling them that from now on, they would be fishers of men. They got to shore, and Peter, James and John dropped their nets, their very livelihood, and followed the Savior without question. Their prompt response reminds me that I can apply their action to any calling I may be asked to do or any spiritual nudge I may receive, and quickly go and obey the Lord. When someone is on my mind, or I think of an act of service, that is the Lord asking me to follow him. Sometimes it’s hard to drop what I’m doing and I’m so easily distracted by my hectic life, but when I stop what I’m doing and immediately and humbly follow through, I know that I’m showing the Savior that I’m willing to follow him. He knows that I'm imperfect, faltering and weak. But I know that when I make the effort, he'll help me and my hectic, crazy life will be the richer for it.

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