N.T. Leaders, Part 1
In the N.T. Jesus was the Chief Shepherd and he trained all of the N.T. leaders who were his disciples. He trained them so that their first thought was to win souls. Jesus also gave them instructions in how to build His church. In Luke 13:18-21, Jesus gave his disciples a glimpse of how the church would grow and expand.
He warned his future leaders not to follow what the Jewish leadership had set up for the synagogues and temple worship. He said: “This people draws nigh unto me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” His disciples knew that what they would teach and build as the church would be different than what was commonly expected for religious worship.
We see this in what Peter, James, and John (and later Paul) would form to be the church. Most people of that day expected that a religion would focus on a building, like the temple, as was done in many pagan religions. The disciples knew that “the church” was not a building, but a body of believers. This concept changed how leadership would operate and what the “leader’s” responsibility would be. As expected “the church” would change as it grew and became a larger body of believers. It was in this process of growing and changing that the Apostles excelled.
N.T. Leaders, Part 2
In our last post, this statement was made: “Jesus was the Chief Shepherd and he trained all of the N.T. leaders.” This point needs to be expanded for a better understanding of why it is important. Jesus did not use secular methods for choosing his disciples. Jesus looked into the heart and as the Son of God; he knew what was required for each of them to succeed in their assigned mission. Jesus knew that faith, obedience, and a willingness to suffer were key components for each of them to succeed.
Jesus picked twelve men. One would betray him, but the other eleven would become the spearhead for building His church and establishing its foundation. These men would not meet secular leadership qualities. They were leaders that would change the course of human events. These men lacked higher education and were very unskilled in the Jewish religion by the standards of that day. So, why did Jesus pick them?
Jesus picked them because they were teachable and trainable. Each one had a sincere heart for being honest (except Judas) and wanted to be used by God to do his will. This is why Jesus chose them. Their openness and willingness to believe that Jesus was truly the Messiah made them prime candidates to accomplish what would seem to be an impossible task. They took the Good News that Jesus taught them and as faithful servants to Jesus and God the Father pressed forward to take this important message to a lost and angry world that needed hope. They gave all they had to get the Good News to those who were ready to hear and wanted a reason to believe in life beyond the grave. They started a movement that would grow and expand beyond the borders of the nation of Israel. They started something that could not be stopped. This is the reason why they were chosen.
We will in the next several posts, look at these men, their lives, and ministry. They became the foundation upon which The Church would grow and spread this new way of thinking about heaven and eternity. What they formed and set into motion is still with us even to this day. But many O.T. and N.T. prophecies about future events are still ahead of us and The Church is the key cornerstone to these events.