The 12: Building A New Spiritual Israel

The 12: Building A New Spiritual Israel

Daily Reading: (John 20:21):

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.”

When it comes to disciple making a lot of people think that we should do exactly what Jesus did, every single way that He did it. Well, that’s not the case? We aren’t called to try to replicate a 12-person discipleship approach. If you notice from our previous devotion, Jesus said, “go and make disciples,” He didn’t say go and make twelve disciples. If we all were active in making a single disciple think about the difference that would make. Great wisdom is gained in asking the question, “why did Jesus choose 12 disciples? Am I called to or should I try to disciple 12 people as well?”

The reason Jesus chose 12 disciples is because God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were divided into twelve tribes. Jesus is calling out a new people for Himself, twelve men who will form the basis of a new spiritual Israel.Jesus reveals this in John 13.

There was a story of a young woman was eager to grow in her Christian faith. She got a piece of paper and she made a list of all the things she would do for God. She started by writing down the things she would give up, the places she would go minister at, and the areas of ministry she would enter in. She was excited to make the list and she took it with her to church where she put it on the altar. She thought she would feel joy, but instead she felt empty. She went home and added to her list. She wrote down more things she would do and wouldn’t do. She took the longer list and put it on the altar, but still she felt nothing. Feeling defeated, she went to her pastor and told him the situation. The pastor said, “take a blank sheet of paper and sign your name at the bottom. Put that on the altar.” The young woman did, and then peace came to her heart. This approach is how disciple making works best. Be intentional about being involved in making disciples, but allow the peace of God to fill your heart, in knowing that God will be the One directing your steps.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).

The word “sent” is where we get the word apostle from, it means “sent one.”

So, what is the difference between an apostle and a disciple? As a believer we all identify ourselves as a disciple of Jesus Christ. That means we are students of His Word. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are His disciple.

All believers are disciples of Jesus Christ but are also called to be apostles (“sent out ones”) who go and make disciples (John 20:21). All apostles were disciples but all disciples are not apostles because many do not engage in disciple making. The same is true today. There are many disciples, those who learn the teachings of Jesus, but there are few apostles- those making disciples.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Just before those powerful words of Jesus sending us (John 20:21), Jesus did something significant—He “showed them His hands and His side.” His pierced hands and side speak of His finished work. Jesus was telling His disciples that He had paid the price for their sins, that they needn’t be afraid of what was happening anymore, and that they could come boldly to God in their time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

As we go back to our text again, we discover the disciples are scared and they aren’t on mission yet (making other disciples). “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders” (John 20:19).

Now the verse right after Jesus sends them on mission in John 20:22:“And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus removes their fear replacing it with His peace and He gives them great power, (the Holy Spirit), so they are enabled to fulfill their God-given mission of disciple making (John 20:21-22).

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23). Jesus says you can have the peace, you can have the power, but if you don’t bring the Gospel, it is impossible to make disciples (John 20:23).

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