Chapter 14

Jesus of Galilee

 

THE TWELVE

 

Now when Jesus returned the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus who was a ruler of the synagogue, and kneeling at Jesus' feet he besought him to come to the house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age and she was dying. He said, "But come and lay your hand on her, and she will live."

 

Jesus rose and followed him, and as he went, the people pressed around him; one of them was a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, and could not be healed by any one. According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, her name was Veronica. She had suffered much under many physicians and had spent all she had, but grew worse instead of better. The woman came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; for she said, "If I touch even his garment, I shall be made well," and immediately her flow of blood ceased.

 

And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?"

 

When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the multitude surround you and press upon you!"

 

But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I perceive that power has gone from me."

 

And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. She he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

 

While he was still speaking a man from the house of Jairus the ruler came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more." But Jesus on hearing this answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well."

 

And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and bewailing her but he said, "Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.

 

But taking her by the hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." And her spirit returned, and she got up at once, and he directed that something should be given her to eat. Her parents were amazed; and he charged them to tell no one what had happened, but the report of this went out through all the district.

 

The number 12 figured strongly in the above healings -- of the twelve-year-old girl and the woman who sought healing for twelve years. And in both, their own Faith was the secret of their access to his power of healing.

 

Jesus continued to go about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom -- healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. His work load was exceedingly heavy for one alone to bear.

 

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

 

So he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. And whenever those possessed with unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God," but he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

 

The boat was launched into the water, and his disciples remembered well an event of just a few days before, when, as evening approached, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake." So they had set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep.

And a storm of wind came down on the lake; the boat began filling with water, and they were in danger. So they ran to wake him saying, "Save us, Master, we are perishing!"

 

And he awoke and said to them, "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith." Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them then, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and they marveled saying to one another, "What sort of man is this, that he commands even the wind and water, and they obey him?"

 

But today there was no storm. When they landed, he went out into the hills to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. Then when it was day, he called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. From among these he appointed and ordained twelve who would be with him and who would be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons, to heal every disease and infirmity.

 

Now when Jesus once more saw great crowds around him he gave orders to go back over to the other side of the lake in the boat. And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

 

And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."

 

To another of the disciples Jesus said, "Follow me," but the man said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

 

Those who are immersed only in the material world are temporarily dead to spirit, and these have the time and the responsibility to care for their own kind and to bury the vehicle from which human life has flown. The disciple is interested only in the lasting life of the Soul, which in this case had already departed.

Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say fare well to those at my home." Jesus said to him "No one who who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

 

There can be no qualifications for the disciple. He must drop all and follow the Master as did the fishermen when Jesus challenged them, "Follow me," nothing more. The degree of commitment is measured according to the value placed on the work. "You have to give all, in order to receive all," as one has said.

 

Discipleship is a great privilege, and therefore any sacrifice it requires must be met cheerfully and unhesitatingly. The way is narrow that leads to life.

 

Some feel they cannot choose Christ until first having gone back to change an erring brother. The intent is good, but at that point there is almost nothing he could do for the brother that would come out right. He is still too near the same level and must choose the Lord first to prepare himself, so then he may become strong and wise enough to help lift up his brother and many others as well. Being at the crossroads of decision, the right choice is of paramount spiritual importance.

 

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and a great number of people from Galilee followed; also from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan, and from about Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia, a great multitude hearing all that he was doing came to see him.

 

As he would tell them later, "You did not choose me, but I have chosen you, and appointed you that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you."

 

Twelve were chosen by Jesus to form his mystical Body. He needed all twelve to become the equivalent to his One, to carry forward the work he had begun. These would be his Apostles, his Body -- his arms, legs and mouth to send forth in his stead. They were to share and carry further the mission and ministry of Jesus himself.

 

In Christ all are the same -- all are as One, with no difference. It is only the human personality that develops different ways in twelve basic types. The more you renounce personal tendencies to become One in Christ, the less you will identify with the differences, and will no longer proudly announce yourself as being of this sign or that sign -- for you are now born of Christ, the Sun, which motivates all the signs.

 

Yet knowledge of the divisions of the Zodiac is useful, and even valuable, both when working with people to help them and to increase understanding of the cosmic symbology. It is said that there were twelve chairs at King Arthur's Round Table, one for each of the twelve signs; other accounts mention twenty-four, or one positive and one negative aspect of each.

 

These disciples were to become the foundation stones for the spiritual edifice he was building, and upon their soundness would depend the firm establishment of that which would be raised upon them.

 

Until now he had done little toward organizing his followers. They had spent much time with him, but more as spectators gathering in all they saw. Now they would have to give back out again -- manifold, of what they were receiving. And Jesus would spend the remainder of his ministry giving them intense training and private teaching, in whatever time could be found away from the populace.

 

These were not illiterate men, if they truly wrote the Epistles accredited to them. Neither were they impoverished, having moderately prosperous businesses at which they sometimes worked, to help in the support of their families, who in turn helped the disciples.

 

Jesus and his disciples represented the earliest form of the secret inner congregation as established by him in connection with his work. The public preachings carried on by Jesus and his disciples constituted the outer congregational work. What occurred between Jesus and the Twelve in their inner, secret sessions was never known by the public and is not recorded in the Christian Bible or in any of the public books now available, but these teachings have been carried forward in essence and in spirit, and are still available to all who listen long enough to hear the "still small voice" from within.

 

The disciple is any person who comes to any teacher to learn from him. The root of the word "disciple" comes from the Greek word "learn." He is a learner or student, one who follows a certain teacher or doctrine. The twelve were chosen from among many disciples and were more than disciples. They have been distinguished by the term Apostle, which does not fully describe their function.

 

The word "apostle" is from a combination of "apo" and "stolos," and this indicates their office. "Apo" means "away from," and "stello" means "to send forth" ("stolos" means "journey"). In other words, the word "apostle" means "one who is sent forth on a journey." Jesus did send them forth almost immediately after choosing them, to give them a feel of their coming work -- two by two. As Jesus was "sent" by his Father, so he also sends out the apostles with his own authority to continue and extend his mission. Each acts as a commissioned messenger or ambassador.

 

It has been said, "Christ wrote no book to embalm his Thoughts, and yet they are more worthy to live than ten thousand books. And they have lived. How? He did not write on paper. He wrote on the tablets of human hearts. The parchment seems frail and yet after all it is the only durable substance in the world."

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