With the European Championship road races leading to road closures and disruption, quite a few folk are unable to get to church today or next Sunday, some of whom are kind enough to read this stuff.
So, to be kind (I hope!) I'm posting the 'to ponder' questions early in case anyone wants to look at them in the comfort of their own home...
Questions to Ponder
- The gospels tell us that Jesus attracted a lot of followers. Two words are used to describe them:
- Disciples, which means ‘learners’ or possibly ‘students’
- Apostles, which means ‘sent ones’
Both terms are used within Christian churches for ‘the Twelve’, as the gospels also sometimes call them. Which word do you more naturally use (if either) and why?
- Two of the gospels (Matthew and Luke) have lists of the Twelve, with eleven of the same names, and one different.
The fisherman brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew,
The sons of Zebedee, sometimes called the ‘Sons of Thunder’, James and John
Philip, who had brought Nathaniel to Jesus
Matthew the tax-gatherer, who may also be Levi
Thomas – who is often unkindly called the doubter
James son of Alphaeus
Simon the Zealot – a member of the group that wanted to drive out the Romans
Judas the son of James
Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
Thaddeus (Matthew ) or Bartholomew (Luke)
What, if anything do we know about these men? Do you think that makes any difference in how we think about them or about ourselves?
- In Luke’s gospel, we’re told that at a later date Jesus chose 70/72 more disciples and sent them out on a mission. No names are given, though through the centuries there has been a lot of speculation. If you were going to choose people from the gospel stories to be part of the 72, who would that be, and why?
- What do you think it means to a ‘disciple’ or ‘learner’ of Jesus in our church and our day? Is there anything more or different that is needed? What will you do about that?
- Does Jesus still call people to be ‘apostles’ or ‘sent ones’ today? If so, how might that call be heard and tested, and what might it mean for us as a church, or you as an individual?