About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

Home Page

Whose Disciple Are We?


The twelve apostles of Jesus were a motley crew of Jewish men with various backgrounds and opposing personalities.  Why Jesus chose such a diverse group of men who were so incompatible to become a unified community to represent Him is difficult to comprehend.  Take Peter, for example.  He could be compulsive at times, and that created conflict.  He owned a successful fishing business.  Then there was Matthew, a Jew who willingly worked as a tax collector for the despised Roman government.  Matthew would have collected taxes from businessmen like Peter as they entered the city of Capernaum with their produce.  Then, before these men left his excise booth, Matthew would often extort them by demanding extra money from these men that he would have pocketed for himself.  Any refusal to pay up would not go well for men like Peter.  Such practices were commonplace among Roman tax collectors back then.  No wonder they were so despised.        


Simon the zealot was an aggressive militant Jew.  He wanted so much to initiate an armed insurrection that would overthrow Rome with brutal military force.  Simon would have hated Matthew's guts.  In Simon's eyes, Matthew was a traitor to the Jewish cause, a pathetic excuse for a Jew.  Matthew's body should rot on the streets of Capernaum alongside the Roman soldiers that he desperately wanted to kill. 


John, being the loving and caring guy that he was, would have been caught in the centre of the conflict among the motley members of Jesus' disciples.  Attempting to create a unified, peaceful, co-existence among this dysfunctional group was impossible.  Then there was Judas.  Seriously, did anyone really trust that thief?     


These men must have continually been at each other's throats, but still, they were Jesus' hand-picked men.  They were to form the foundation of a godly, unified, counter-cultural community that would represent Jesus as being the supreme universal authority.  Their love for one another would demonstrate to the world that they were the disciples of Jesus, as was Jesus' desire.  John 13:35 reads:


"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


For a brief moment in time the newly-created community of disciples was unified as the Holy Spirit descended into the disciples' lives on the Day of Pentecost, but as the community grew in numbers, it began to fracture.  As recorded in Acts 6, a dispute arose that divided the Community of Christ along ethnic lines.  Did outsiders now question whose disciples these people really were?         


In today's over-politicized western-world church, we seem more committed to the kingdoms of men than the Kingdom of God .  It's yet another divisive issue that has fractured any unity we may have had, and that after a few Holy Spirit inspired revivals over the past century that were meant to create unity in the church.


I realize that divisiveness cannot be avoided in our sinful world, as Jesus implied in Matthew 18:7.


"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!"


Still, the church, the Community of Christ, has been called by the Creator of all communities to be a unified counter-cultural community who demonstrates the life of Jesus to a crippled world community.  We are to be the disciples of Jesus, not the disciples of any philosophical, cultural, ethnic, or political leader.  This question begs to be asked.  Whose disciples are we?  

Home Page