Fishing boat : Fishers of Men, DS ©
Travelling back in time, we meet those 13 Men, those men who believed that the Lord was the Messiah. The truth of the story is that they did not always believe in Him but eventually they left a legacy behind them: the legacy of faith; the journey of faith; the moments that they believed; they doubted, and they believed again.
Wherever I speak about my faith, most of the times, I bring forward those men. What always amazed me was how human they were, how they abandoned Jesus but finally something happened in their lives and they did so faithfully serve the Lord upto the point that most of them died for their faith.
Who were those 13 men? A small search within the scriptures of the Holy Bibles, speaks some information about them:
At first, the Lord chose 12 disciples:
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Similar stories we read of how the rest 10 were chosen and all men were: Peter, Andrew, James (brother of John), James (son of Alphaeus), John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Simon Zealot and Judas Iscariot.
We know that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ and then he took his own life. He was replaced, as we read in the Book of Acts, by Matthias:
“In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus- he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.”…
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed… and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.”
(Please, read all verses from your Bible).
It is important to note here, that Matthias was not a new person in the ministry. As it is written in verses 21+22, he was there with Jesus Christ since the beginning and up to the end. He was a witness of all that happened and told same as the rest 11 disciples.
Remember that all those 12 men had witnessed all the miracles performed in front of their eyes, they had listen Jesus Christ teaching all wonderful teachings, instructions and parables we read also in the Bible.
There is a moment of darkness in the relationship among the 12 men and Jesus Christ. Those men who had witnessed all those amazing, miraculous events, forgot Jesus Christ. They betrayed him, not as Judas did – by a kiss – but by disappearing the only moment Jesus needed them. The moment of His torture, the moment of His trial and His pain; they were not there for Him. We do well know how Peter denied Him three times…but he was not the only one.
When we carefully read the scriptures, we read and I quote:
“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
Note: At this point, the Lord warned them for what was coming…however…
“Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? “I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Then they all forsook Him and fled.”
So, the question that raises is this:
Those 12 men – including Matthias – had seen the Lord doing all amazing things; they had seen, ate, slept, prayed, travel and walked along with Jesus Christ and they knew well that He was the Messiah. At the moment of trial, they fled, they scattered. What was that that happened so they did gather again and went all around the lands and taught the Word of God, the Good news? They saw with their own eyes the Lord arrested, tortured, crucified, dead and buried. What happened that changed their minds? What happened that gave them so much strength and stamina to move endlessly and preach and teach, till the day of their physical death?
There was one more man who was added in the group: Paul. He was a well educated man, Roman Jewish, a man of high status and a man who persecuted Christians. What happened to him? What provoked his amazing change, a change that took him to long suffering journeys?
I remember once that I was talking to an atheist friend of mine and he said: “Ah, Paul? He got mad, for sure he was unstable” and so on…
For the sake of the argument, I would accept that Paul went mad or religiously fanatic, but what about the other 12? All of them went mad? All of them went through a “mass” hypnotic stage, having illusions?
13 men went mad? All of them died by crucifixion or by stoning or by sword or by spear or arrows, except John who had a natural death in old age but he suffered through long exile in island Patmos.
How those men abandoned anything they knew, families, friends, jobs, environment, customs, what it was socially and politically correct and followed the “ideology” of a dead man – Jesus Christ?
They were there, they witnessed His life when He was alive but also they witnessed His death. “Ok, it was nice with all those teachings but now He is dead…so let’s go on with our lives and teach our children the good teachings of this man”, I speculate that they should have said.
To our surprise, it did not happen like this. Those 12 men gave their lives for something that they saw after Jesus Christ was dead and buried. Paul – the 13th man – saw something very real on the road to Damascus.
What they saw? Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lord, alive and well, resurrected and claiming His place in the right side of God the Father!
They did not go mad; how 13 men could go mad!
There are so many truths that we do not understand or acknowledge before we believe and before we receive the Holy Spirit. However, one truth and full evident – before somebody believes – is this story of those 13 men, 13 “Fishers of men”! Amen!
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