About Jesus Steve Sweetman
How Many Disciples Did Jesus Have?
If I ask, "how many disciples did Jesus have", you might answer 12. Others might answer 70, 120, and a more may answer "lots". I have asked this question to some people and have received a number of answers. The reason why we don't seem to know the answer to this question, and others like is, is because we don't read the Bible and think about what we are reading. When reading the Bible, we should ask, "what is this phrase telling us"? We just read without thinking, learning very little .
In Luke 6 Jesus goes up into a mountain and spends the night praying. In the morning "He called His disciples to Him, and chose 12 of them who He also designated as apostles". (Luke 6:13) Luke 6:17 says that there was a "large crowd of His disciples" there at the base of the mountain that Jesus chose His 12 apostles from.
This is the picture. Jesus spends the night in prayer on a mountainside. In the morning at the base of the mountain He gathers a large crowd of disciples. How many disciples there were, we don't know. We do know that there was a large crowd. Remember, at times Jesus would speak to 5,000 plus people. Most likely not all of these thousands were disciple. Whatever the case, Jesus most likely had a few thousand disciples. We know from Acts 1 and 2 that at minimum He had 120. Anyway, from this large crowd, and in front of this large crowd, "Jesus chose 12 apostles".
The answer to the question, "how many disciple did Jesus have" is, hundreds, if not thousands. He had lots of disciples. He had only 12 apostles. Therefore when using the number 12, this number should refer to "12 apostles", not "12 disciples". It is my suspicion that many people think that Jesus had 12 disciples, but this is not so.