I’ve been spending time studying the Gospels lately; while I hate to admit it, I’m not sure I could have cut it as an apostle. These poor guys walked away from their lives completely – honestly, that would have been my first hurdle. They left their homes, their jobs, everything and followed Jesus. I’m afraid I would have wanted to wrap a few things up with the old fishing boat first! Then, these laborers have to learn everything they will need to know about God and eternal life to be able to tell the whole world the message and they have to do this in just a few short years. These aren’t exactly easy topics to comprehend, even if you have literally, the best teacher in the world! I fear I would have been the one needing Jesus to explain the lessons step-by-step all the time, so I could make a few notes.
Assume for a moment that I could have moved past those roadblocks. I think my biggest problem would have been getting fussed at by the Lord. If you read several chapters of any of the Gospels, you’ll no doubt come upon times when Jesus is downright annoyed with the lack of understanding and faith the apostles regularly display. And He lets them know it. I would have burst out in tears if I had been present when Jesus said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?” (Matthew 17:17)
Jesus often chastises these guys. I get that Jesus knew there wasn’t much time and He had to deliver a crash course if this message would be proclaimed throughout the world after He returned to the Father. I’m sure Jesus often felt like He was beating His sweet head against a wall with this group. But I feel bad for the apostles because they were trying! Of course, in the end, we know that their efforts were rewarded and now they are all great saints (well, minus Judas, of course!) Ultimately, even though they still didn’t get it all quite right and still struggled with their own weakness, they did go on to proclaim the Word and hence, change the world. They did exactly what they were called to do, despite themselves.
As I was pondering all this, I was struck by the realization that even though these guys were with Jesus over 2000 years ago, they are still an amazing example for you and me. After all, Jesus still asks us to walk away from the things of the world and follow Him. Today, He asks us to continue to learn and grow in faith. While we have all of these teachings and examples of saints and expert explanations about what the apostles lived on their journey with Jesus, we still struggle to understand much of what Jesus is trying to teach us now. And when Jesus corrects my path, I might cry, but I keep trying and ultimately, God will reward that.
Maybe I wouldn’t have made it as an apostle then, but thanks to them, I know I can now. I’m grateful I have the benefit of their example to give me courage and hope. Their experience shows me that even though I will make missteps time and time again, Jesus will never give up on me. As long as I’m faithful to Him, I will eventually fulfill the mission He has planned for me too.
Copyright 2020 Michelle Jones Schroeder