Devotional Scripture: John 17:1-19
"For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me." - John 17:8
One thing we often forget about the disciples . . . Jesus chose every one of them.
In each and every one of them . . . he saw something that caught his eye. He sensed something about them.
Was it potential?
Was it their IQ?
Was it their character, or the condition of their hearts?
Each of these disciples had probably been exited out of synagogue school between the age of 12-15 years of age so that the teaching Rabbi's could focus on the more gifted students. As a result of being told, "you can go home now," they would have been apprenticed to their fathers, or to another male relative, in order to learn the "family" business, which they would have been expected to help with.
This little band of disciples were individual characters in their own right. The late William Barclay and others have written books about what we might know or could assume about them.
I truly do believe that most of the disciples were teenagers, or young adults. Their lack of life experiences and maturity explains so many of their responses to Jesus teachings.
But again . . . Jesus chose every one of them.
There are some teachings in Rabbinic Judaism which imply that rabbis chose their disciples (students) for one reason alone. A disciple was chosen because the Rabbi beleived they could learn, or grasp, his teaching, and that they could teach it to others.
Perhaps Jesus had the same expectation of the disciple he chose. This rag-tag bag of disciples went on to teach what Jesus had taught them . . . and they helped change the world!
In our scripture lesson for today, Jesus was earnestly praying to God on behalf of his disicples. Jesus had taught and mentored them . . . and he truly saw the potential they all had, that they could carry on his teaching.
Teaching or mentoring someone on how to do something is a rather interesting process.
First, the mentor instructs his/her students, "watch and listen to me do what it is that I want you to learn to do."
Second, the mentor tells his/her students, "now, let's do this together."
Third, the mentor tells his/her students, "now, you do it by yourself and I'll watch you."
Fourth, the mentor tells his/her students, "you are ready, go out now and do what you have been taught to do."
The prayer Jesus is praying in chapter 17 . . . it's the prayer similar to what many teachers or mentors pray right before they "cuts loose" their students to go out into the world.
My feeling is that Jesus believes in these disciples he has chosen and mentored.
Jesus believes in you and me. He sees us cleaning and making straight the path that leads to Easter. He believes in us, that we will be ready for Easter in time. He knows we can do it.
Jesus has faith in us . . . His disciples!!!
The knowledge of that makes me feel good . . . it validates the efforts I have made this Lenten season.
That Jesus believes in me . . . inspires me!
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>