The group following Jesus seemed to grow every day, some he called, and others just seemed to join the party. And as exciting as the growth was, it was starting to get a little unmanageable.
Everywhere we went it was like a parade, with people following Jesus, pushing and pulling to get closer. There were those who wanted to hear what he had to say, those who were looking for a healing, for themselves or for a loved one, and people just came to see what all the excitement was about.But there always seemed to be a common core, those who always showed up.
One day, when Jesus was teaching, he called a bunch of us by name and led us further up the hill away from the crowd.
When we were out of earshot of the rest, Jesus gathered us together and said, “Okay guys you are it, I need a group I can pour myself into, a group who will change the world.”
I looked around at the group and thought, really? Change the world? This group?
I’m not even sure that we could get along with each other let alone change the world.
Some of us had grown up together, James, John, Andrew, and I had known each other since we were little kids. We had played together, gone to school together and chased girls together.
I knew Philip and Bartholomew through Andrew; My kid brother had never met someone who hadn’t become one of his closest friends.
The Zealot and his friend Judas shared a fervor and seemed to have a history.
As much as Matthew tried, he hadn’t made many inroads into the group, and he seemed satisfied to simply stay on the fringe and watch.
The last three in the group Thomas, the other James and Thaddaeus were all relatively newcomers, and I didn’t know a lot about them. But that would change.
And then Jesus said, “I will give you the power that the Father has given me, the power to heal people and the power to cast out demons. Just remember, it’s not your power; it’s the Father’s power.”
“Jesus, I’m not sure you have the right group.”
“Peter, if it wasn’t the right group, I’d know, trust me on that.”
“No, seriously, what are you thinking? Heal people? Cast out demons? Look at us, a handful of fishermen, a tax collector, and a couple of merchants. We’re not rabbis, priests or scribes.”
“You’ve forgotten already. Again, it’s not your power; it’s the Father’s power. And I would never ask you to do what I didn’t know you could do. All you have to do is believe.”
And with that Jesus paired everyone up.
I figured that I would end up with Andrew or one of Zebedee’s boys,
but Jesus put me with the tax-collector instead.
Well, at least I thought, it will give Esther a chuckle.