Months and months have passed, and the same thought keeps coming back to my heart. This thought has been more of a conviction for me than a joyful thought , because I keep examining who I am, because I say I walk with Jesus. When I truly examine my heart, my actions, my character, I’m disappointed in what I see in me. I say I walk with Jesus, but there’s often contradiction in who I claim to be.
I say I walk with Jesus, yet I get irritable and impatient.
I say I walk with Jesus, but the words that come out of my mouth are unkind.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I have a bad attitude when I’m expected to wait.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I often withhold love.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I get jealous and insecure.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I have a hard time forgiving and letting go of the things that hurt me.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I unfairly judge those around me.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I’m an excluder. Reaching out to a stranger makes me uncomfortable and I don’t even know the names of many of the people who sit near me in church.
I say I walk with Jesus, but I doubt His promises. So often I worry that this is going to be the time He doesn’t come through for me.
So, if I say I walk with Jesus, why don’t I look more like He does?
This thought has made me really think about the disciples that walked side by side with our Lord when He was on this earth. Thinking about the original disciples made me think about the disciple I am. I wondered which of them is me…
There’s Simon Peter
His name translated means Rock. He was one of the very first disciples, Jesus’ rock. He was one of the VERY FIRST PEOPLE to follow Jesus when Jesus began His ministry, and Peter did a lot to contribute to His ministry.
18 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. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20 NIV
Peter dropped everything and followed Jesus. Fishing was Peter’s livelihood, it was how he received an income, how he took care of himself, and in an instant he gave ALL of that up to walk with Jesus. He was one of the very first soul winners too. When Jesus said He was going to send Peter to fish for people, He meant that He was going to show him how to share the message of salvation. Peter was a good man, working hard for Jesus, but he didn’t always look like a follower of Jesus.
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:34
Peter did deny Jesus (the story can be found many places, John 18:15-18,25-26 for example) when it didn’t favor him to be a follower anymore. Simon Peter went from being Jesus’ rock; the man that left everything to follow Him, to being Peter the denyer when the going got tough. Peter ditched Jesus at the time He needed him the most.
Am I like Peter?
Am I the one that claims to walk with Jesus, but denies Him in the way I live. Do I deny him with my words, my character, in the way I complain when the going gets tough? Do I deny my walk with Jesus when I’m mocked and persecuted for walking with Him? What about you? Are you a disciple like Peter? Are you a denyer?
Then there’s Thomas.
I have searched the Bible quite a bit, and there’s not a whole lot that mentions Thomas. I wasn’t able to clearly find when Thomas started walking with Jesus, the text just refers to the disciples as a whole, and that includes Thomas. There is very little mention of him individually, nor what specifically caused him to know Jesus. What I do know from my reading, is that Thomas was with Jesus through some of Jesus’ most difficult times. We all need a friend that is beside us, when our hearts are broken.
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:11-16,32-34 NIV
Thomas was with Jesus when His best friend died. Jesus loved Lazarus, and was so sad about his death (even knowing that He was about to raise him from the dead) He wept. That was a powerful time. The sting of death broke Jesus heart, but his disciples were with Him in His grief. Everyone needs a friend that is there when we are hurting.
But here’s the other thing about Thomas. Thomas walked with Jesus, and Thomas saw Jesus perform MANY miracles (including raising someone from the dead) but even SEEING Jesus perform miracles over and over again, Thomas doubted His power. Thomas was pessimistic, and doubted Jesus.
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29 NIV
Thomas walked with Jesus in His every day life. He was present for Jesus’ saddest moments on earth, and He saw him perform many many miracles, yet when things happened just as Jesus said they would, he had a faith by sight sort of faith. He didn’t trust that Jesus actually resurrected like He said He would, he had to literally see and feel for himself before he trusted Jesus. The other thing I found myself wondering about Thomas is, was he that guy that was there SO MUCH that it didn’t even need to be mentioned? Was Thomas so reliable, and so faithful that when the text said disciples, it was just understood that Thomas would be there without question, or was Thomas wishy-washy? Was he the kind of guy that you’re not totally sure when started walking with Jesus because the change wasn’t as significant? Was his testimony so weak it didn’t bear mentioning?
Am I like Thomas?
Am I the one who needs to see the nail marks for myself, the one who has to stick my hand in Jesus’ side, the one that has to see Him raise people from the dead and perform huge miracles before I’ll trust that He’ll follow through like He said He would? Am I a doubting Thomas with a weak, wishy-washy testimony and trust issues? Are you?
Then there’s Judas.
Just typing his name makes me cringe. He’s my least favorite disciple.
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 NIV
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Matthew 26:47-50 NIV
Judas betrayed my King for just a little bit of money…but first, he walked with Him, just like the other disciples. He was there for the blessings, the testimonies, the miracles just as the others were, but even though he walked with Jesus, he didn’t love him. Am I like Judas? Am I the one who says I walk with Jesus, but looks nothing like Him? I know the stories, I speak of the blessings. I enjoy the association because it often benefits me, but do I love Him? Do I love him more than money? What about the times when I have to choose between serving the Lord, or making a few bucks? The events that keep me out of church, the parties that have me sold out to the world, the greed for more money rather than being involved in ministry when I have to choose between the two.
Am I like Judas?
Am I one who walks with Jesus, then betrays Him with a kiss?
Then there’s the disciple whom Jesus loved.
He was close by, at some of the most pivotal moments in all of time. He was right next to Jesus at the last supper, concerned over what was yet to come. He was there as Jesus hung on the cross. He was there for it all.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25:27 NIV
Jesus loved this disciple so much, He asked him to do something that I’d suspect is one of the most noble, and important responsibilities He could have asked of anyone. He said “beloved friend of mine, please take care of my mom.” What a huge honor and responsibility He asked of that disciple. I can’t imagine anything more noble to be asked of someone. He knew this disciple would be responsible to take care of her well, and love her all the days of her life. But here’s the important thing about this disciple, he wasn’t only the disciple whom Jesus loved, he was the disciple that loved Jesus.
I can’t help but wonder, am I like this disciple? This is the disciple I want to be!
Am I the disciple that Jesus loves and assigns important responsibilities to? Does He know that He can trusts me to take care of them? Am I the disciple that can be reliable, the one who can do His work while He is away?
Am I the disciple that loves Jesus?
Or do I simply say I walk with Him?
How about you?
In His Love,