God Knows…When I Want to be Happy – Part 2
One morning, after praying for an entire night, Jesus chose twelve men to be His special helpers. Besides the fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James and John), you have already heard of Philip and Nathanael (also called Bartholomew) who started to follow Jesus soon after He returned from the wilderness.
Another disciple was Levi-Matthew, a rich tax collector. Then there were Thomas and another James (the son of Alphaeus, or James the less). There were two men we don’t know much about: Thaddaeus (or Judas the brother of James), and Simon the Canaanite, also known as the Zealot. Then there was Judas Iscariot.
Every one of Jesus’ twelve disciples had big faults when Jesus called them. Philip was weak in faith. James and John “the sons of thunder” had bad tempers, a wish for revenge. Matthew, the tax-collector, was considered a traitor because he had been collecting for the Roman masters. Simon was a Zealot and the Zealots were fanatical nationalists who tried to kill every traitor and Roman they could.
These twelve never would have gotten along in peace and happiness on their own. It is only in Christ that the problems of living together can be solved. His love leads to love for one another.
Imagine that Jesus came to your neighborhood. You and two dozen neighbors form a huge circle around Him, standing 15-20 feet (5-10 meters) apart. You all decide to come closer to Jesus, so each person takes 10 steps towards Him. Stepping closer to Jesus results in you getting closer to each of your neighbors as well. Another ten steps and you’re even closer to one another.
The reality of getting to know Jesus is just like that. The disciples experienced this first-hand. By looking at Christ and learning the lessons He taught, they were able to get along together. They could be peaceful and happy together in spite of their differences.
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