When Jesus called his disciples the reward was not much promising. The offer for Simon and Andrew was something strange: “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” If we consider it as a material offer it not that much promising.
It seems it is a random choice but the choice was accurate and worthy. None of them are perfect; they are not much intelligent too. Many instances, they didn’t understand Jesus’ teachings or they misunderstood them. Hard to answer why Jesus chosen a few based on the merits he find in them. But while Jesus praying for them he reveals one attribute: ‘they were God’s own’. “They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word”. John 17:6. It seems if the ownership is with God, man has nothing more to do.
When The scribe came and offer himself to Jesus the response of Jesus was not that much welcoming. Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go. Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Mark 8:19. But scripture doesn’t say whether he came back and asked again to follow Jesus.
The next attribute is : “they kept your word”. Now this part of play is ours, keeping his word. It is hard to keep his word and more hard to understand the real meaning of his word. This search ends with the qualities of a disciple.
“If Any One Strikes You On The Right Cheek..” (Matthew 5:39). In the gospels, Jesus reveals that we have a call to be different. “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). We shall not be slaves under the tyranny of the irrational and primitive law of action and reaction that rules the material world. We shall not be as other creatures, as the brutish world is. How different shall we be then? Jesus places the model for our behaviour – “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36)
“I Bear On My Body The Marks Of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17). The Pope suffered all his lifetime because a cruel act of one person. A considerable segment of his intestines were removed. Till the end of his life, John Paul had a serious digestion complication. His impressive gait had become bent. It must have been quite a painful inconvenience for a world leader and public figure like him having a problem with his stomach when he had to appear in public for hours. Yet he was a disciple of the Master. Every year on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the day he was shot, he would invite the family of Agca to dine with him to emphasize his commitment to love them and to live the call of his Lord.
He went all the way to Fatima with that bullet that had shattered him from within and he encrusted that dark rough bullet on the crown of Our Lady of Fatima. The bullet is there today glowing brilliantly. He went to Poland carrying the band stained with his blood and torn by the bullet and he expressed his desire to hang it on the side of the altar, near that famous picture of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.
We also have dark bullets weighing down our hearts. We have bruised and blood stained experiences casting shadows in our soul. What shall we do with these? Do we leave them to rot and remain as dark, bruised stains in our hearts? We will then be hating and waiting to hit back. The choice is ours.”A Fragrant Offering, A Sacrifice Acceptable And Pleasing To God”(Philippians 4:18) “Sown In Dishonor… Raised In Glory” (1 Corinthians 15:43)
Bertrand Russell wrote a book – “Why I’m not a Christian”. He who declared that he did not believe in anything went on to say, “I am ashamed to say that the only salvation for the world today is, a world Government which is impossible, and that everyone accepts the teaching of the forgiving love of Jesus Christ.” An agnostic world is turning to Jesus to save the world. Where are we turned to? Are there missiles in our hearts? Unfortunately we, the prophets to the world today, are not particularly known for our love. Petty rivalries, running after vain glories, trampling on others to achieve one’s goal, destroying ruthlessly another’s reputation to fulfill our agenda – is not this that dominates our days, our thoughts and our relationships – both personal and professional?
So everything backs to the basic question, am I a Christian? If the answer is yes, the qualities are there with us along with the trials and tribulations and the promises of Jesus too.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seekTo be consoled as to console;To be understood as to understand;To be loved as to love.For it is in giving that we receive;It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Francis of Assissi