The school of Jesus Christ.
The disciples learned firsthand that Jesus was the real deal. He didn’t come to beat around the bush. He meant what He said and He did what He said He would do. He wasn’t like the Pharisees who just talked but didn’t practice what they preached (Matthew 23:3).
How did the disciples learn all the things they learned? Everything they knew they learned by spending time with Jesus.
The 12 disciples were chosen by Jesus. He lastly commissioned them. In between these two steps, however, there was a pivotal step. He communed with them. They learned from Him daily by just being with Him (Mark 3:14).
The disciples ate with Jesus. They followed him wherever he went. They watched as He went into town after town and met with people whose lives would be altered forever because they encountered Him. They watched as multitudes followed Him and crowded around Him to listen to what He had to say. They watched as Jesus made time for them and met their deepest needs and answered their questions.
They watched as Jesus ministered to the people with compassion and served them even in the midst of His own hunger and tiredness. They noted how He taught them about God and His kingdom for hours and how He applauded faith and rewarded those who seek the truth. They watched how He spoke with such authority yet was humble. They saw how He had power even over the wind and the waves and recognized Him as God.
They knew Jesus was always about His Father’s will and that He never forgot it. They saw how prayer was a priority in His life and knew he often withdrew in solitude for His time alone with the Father. They saw how He taught others to pray.
They saw His love for others. They saw the tears He wept when Lazarus died and how He loved Mary and Martha.
They saw how Jesus was a discerner of hearts and rebuked hypocrisy when He saw it. They saw how he was zealous and noted His righteous anger when the people desecrated the temple by turning it into a marketplace.
The disciples saw how Jesus was patient with them even though they were slow learners. His power was made perfect in their weakness.
They learned from Him life lessons about marriage, money, forgiveness, stewardship and why not to worry. Jesus loved them to the end and they knew it. They would never be the same. God, through the Holy Spirit, would later use the disciples to establish the church and the world would never be the same.
Now maybe we can appreciate what John said in 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—”
It would be safe then to say that these 12 men saw, touched, heard, lived with, spent time with, witnessed, watched and experienced Jesus in a way nobody else in His day did.
Oh, we can learn so much from the lives of these 12 men if we choose to. The accounts of their lives are fascinating and it is humbling and gives us hope to know God chose these 12 ordinary men to accomplish His extraordinary work. This is how even today He chooses to use those of us who are willing and obedient. How has knowing about the lives of these 12 men changed your life? How has spending time with the Savior equipped you to do His work in the world today?