Is there a difference between a disciple and an apostle? We associate the word “apostle” with the twelve who were chosen by Jesus. We recognize they were taught and we see by their actions that they learned. How do we know that? James 1 tells us we are known by our actions…in his way of speaking, he included the word belief by saying that our actions prove the faith we have while failure of action proves the opposite, that we do not really believe in Jesus. I am overwhelmed by his simplicity in this explanation. Many times I fail to understand a text that I am spending time with and I find that I need to hear what James was saying again. It doesn’t matter if I’ve read it a dozen times and still have questions. Think about James’ statement and go back and read it again.
So. what about my question? Are we as followers of Christ, disciples, or, are we apostles like the twelve…learning and putting that learning to work, just as Jesus’s brother, James instructs? First, we need to understand that the apostles didn’t become what they were overnight. You can’t learn, normally, in that fashion, although some people are quicker than others. I don’t see anything mentioned in James’ statement about timing, do you? So we have established…
# 1. Learning takes time, it is not normally mentioned one time and you have it, you have what it takes…you are there. Hmm, well, let’s look some more.
I’m going to use a word I don’t remember ever reading in the Bible, but as sure as James’ statement is true, so is it a fact that we see ‘modeling’ in scripture almost anywhere we look, (remember the word “seeking”? “If you seek me, you will find me”. Why do we seek? I don’t know about your reasons, but I seek in order to learn. Isn’t that what the apostles did with what Jesus taught them? So how do we get from “Learning” to “Seeking”?
Jesus was seeking men who could learn and we as seekers are looking for someone from whom we can learn. I’m not trying to confuse, just to demonstrate that there is a thing that can be called a “phase”. And this phase is saying that you are both seeking and learning, so what do we have?
# 2. We now have a phase, or # 2 or whatever you want to call it, we have a connection to what we have been talking about previously in the way that we worship God. Not even the most intelligent among us can learn everything at once. Godly Worship allows the seeker to learn at his/her own pace.
If we had endless time and opportunity to continue with what we have begun here we would plunge right in and find out what ‘modeling’ signifies. Modeling is another word that is probably a metaphor for copying. If I do what the Lord teaches me and then I teach someone else in the same way I learned, that is a metaphor or two things that are very similar. The route we took to get to that point is a “phase” or a way to reach a conclusion.
God bless you as you study in order for you to follow Him in the way He would have you go.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen”. (KJV)