About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Relational Priority In Ministry


While Jesus was on earth He interacted with the crowds, the disciples, the twelve, the three, and the one.  Although Jesus interacted with all of the above to one degree or another, His primary relational calling was to the twelve men His Father gave Him.  John 17:6 reads:


"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word."


Jesus did preach to the crowds, but He didn't give Himself to them because He did not trust them, as stated in John 2:24.


"But Jesus would not entrust himself to them [the crowds], for he knew all people."


Jesus spent some of His valuable time with His true disciples.  John 12:2 reads: 


"Here a dinner was given in Jesusí honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him."


From the group of disciples Jesus called out the twelve men that God chose for Him to personally disciple into leadership ministries, as Luke recorded in Luke 6:13. 


"When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:"


Among the twelve were three.  On certain special occasions Jesus pulled Peter, James and John aside for more personalized discipleship, as was the case when He invited them to participate in His hour of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane .  Mark 14:33 reads:


"He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled."


Then there was the one.  Probably due to the blending of personalities, John was Jesus' best friend, the disciple whom He loved.  We all benefit from sharing our lives with a best friend, and Jesus was no exception.  John 13:33 reads:


"One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him." 


In our career-driven, multi-media-ministry Christian environment, majoring on the masses can boost ministry ratings, but there's more to ministry than international notoriety.  Yes, the Great Commission does mandate us to reach the masses, but as Jesus demonstrated, the pathway to people on our planet runs through the twelve, the three, the one, or those of similar number.  Our high-tech internet world certainly does provide many valuable tools to train future leaders and shepherd God's people.  That being said, personal discipleship of twelve, three, or even one, into leadership is invaluable.  The sharing of lives with twelve, three, or even one, is indispensably crucial in the process of pastoral care.  If the prioritization of ministry relationships worked for Jesus, it will surely work for us.   


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