Posted tagged ‘Twelve Apostles’

ABSENT BY TIMIDITY

April 29, 2019

This is an Afterthought to Easter Week.  Life goes on, people still exist after an event,  and the Apostles chosen by Jesus still existed after Easter.   What about them?

Eleven Apostles were absent at the Crucifixion.   Ten Apostles were absent at the empty tomb.    They were afraid and timid at the Crucifixion.  They were too disbelieving and timid to run to the empty tomb.

Absent because of their timidity, no matter what caused them to be timid.

Timid, but not rejected.

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I chose this image of Tissot’s  famous painting of Jesus exhorting his disciples because it’s rather fuzzy and indistinct,  just like our memories of these men.   We don’t know them too well, even though their work established the Christian church throughout the Middle East, and Turkey, and Europe .

In those days,  a teacher  (a  rabbi)  was not “distant”  and outside of the family or group, appearing only when needed to  “teach.”       A teacher was part of the family  —  intimate,   caring,  loving;  watchful.     The Disciples  (the students)  followed their teacher, lived with their teacher,  followed and imitated their teacher, walked, slept, and ate with Him.

The Great Teacher did not reject the students He loved.

Let’s see those absent Disciples from the view point of Jesus while He was still on the Cross:

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Looking down from the Cross

Bartholomew (Nathaniel)  was not there.   Jesus remembers that Bartholomew “had no guile” – an honest, faithful Israelite.  Nothing more.   But Bartholomew had recognized Jesus as the “King of Israel.”   Honest and clear thinking.

Philip, not there;   Philip had just the night before said “Rabbi,  show us the Father!”   And then as Jesus was answering him,  there was most likely Philip’s long gaze into the eyes of Jesus where he found infinite, patient Love,   flowing through the eyes of Jesus.

Matthew,  the tax collector, who left his lucrative occupation at the first call of Jesus – and then held a banquet in honor of the Rabbi who had shown such love to him.

Thaddeus — Jude Thaddeus  (Judas) —  whose name is so close to the traitor’s name;   John makes sure to notice  this was “not the Iscariot”  but rather a friend of Jesus with faith so strong that he would one day be  known as the patron saint of “things almost despaired of.”     He was timid on this day, but the love of Jesus continued to pour  into him and strengthen him, endowing him with the ability to bring about mighty miracles.   Confident in Jesus’ love right up until his (terrible) martyrdom.

Simon the Zealot.  Not much is said about him, but since he earned the title “the zealot,”  we can imagine he zealously and enthusiastically embraced  first a political movement which promised victory on earth and then after experiencing the Infinite Love of God, he devotes himself to the Gospel which offers Infinite Love to all, forever.

Love in.  Love out.

James, the relative of the Lord, perhaps also growing up with him in Nazareth.    What astonishment he must have felt as he came to realize that this friend and relative not only had something special about Him,  but was actually the long-promised Messiah.  What love he must have witnessed within his family.   What love he saw confirmed as he followed Jesus around.    And what love he lived within during his manhood, as he provided leadership to the church in Jerusalem — until the religious leaders threw him off  a high roof and then clubbed him to death.

James, one of the sons of Zebedee, abruptly left his father’s fishing nets when he heard the involving voice of Jesus calling him.   Returning that love, this James said he was willing to drink the cup that Jesus said He was going to drink.   “I’ll share it with you!”  And Jesus, lovingly, sorrowfully,  replied,  “Yes, you will.”

Peter was not there at the foot of the Cross.    Peter, the alert,  intelligent, strong fisherman,  whose love for Jesus led him to moments of  unrestrained, unthinking enthusiasm,  yet he was taught individually by Jesus and forgiven for all,  even for his confused night of fear when timidity kept him silent as Jesus was being threatened and mocked.  Patience and forgiveness from Jesus were apparent before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

Andrew, the brother of Peter, who wondered if “anything good could come out of Nazareth” and then followed Jesus to his home along the banks of the Jordan and discovered Eternal Love walked among them.  Later Andrew would bring the Greeks, Gentiles,  during that last Passover week.    And yet Andrew could not bring himself to the Calvary.

These flawed, weak, uncomprehending Disciples were deeply loved by Jesus,  never rejected.    “…He loved them to the end…”

In spite of their occasions of timidity,   Jesus Christ still used them.    And He still loved them.    He was still at “their right elbow” through the Spirit which was sent to them as they spread out all over to teach people about Jesus —  and eventually, down through the centuries, to teach us.     They were good examples of faithful Christians because they were like us.

Timid sometimes.   Timid, but not rejected.

If,  for a Christian,   “every Sunday is a little Easter, ”   we can look to the Disciples who were not there at the foot of the Cross.   We can  call down on us the love they discovered and live in this love, obey the Commandment to “love one another.”   It never stops.

We are never rejected.

 

 

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