Summary: The Apostles were very human men, just like us. And just as Jesus took these diamonds in the rough and polished them into gems, so God wants us to reach our spiritual potential by spending time with Jesus.
The Transformation of the Twelve, Part Two
Main Idea: The Apostles were very human men, just like us. And just as Jesus took these diamonds in the rough and polished them into gems, so God wants us to reach our spiritual potential by spending time with Jesus.
I. John, The Son of Thunder Who Learned to Balance Conviction With Love
1. Like James, John wanted to be at the control center…hindered exorcists (Mark 9:38)
2. The youngest (a teen?), and Jesus was a father-like figure to John; "the disciple whom Jesus loved."
3. Took care of Mary immediately after the crucifixion…a special bond with Jesus that would dissipate his angry disposition…
4. Though as a young man John had been harsh, he became known as the "Apostle of Love," yet he never gave up his firm stand on doctrine (see I,II, and III John).
5. John went on to author 5 NT books, the last of which was Revelation in about 95 A.D.. He died in his 90’s after having suffering and being exiled to Patmos.
6. John learned the secret of balance; God wants us to be us, but He wants to round off those rough edges, to move us more toward center. John got there because he grew consistently over time, little by little. He got away from the nasty influence of his mother and learned to live life from someone who knew how, the Lord Jesus. And this principle is the principle of discipleship; not a course or a program, but an informal mentoring.
II. Philip, Nothing Special, A Slow Learner, But Teachable And Wanting to Learn to Please God
1. This Philip is not to be confused with Philip the Deacon in the Book of Acts....
2. Philip is a Greek name meaning "lover of horses;" also the name of several famous rulers
3. From Bethsaida, grew up with Peter and Andrew (likely a fisherman too)
4. Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel, and likely James and John were close friends even before they met Jesus....
5. The day after Jesus called Peter and Andrew, he called their friend Philip....Philip was probably influenced to follow Jesus because of the credibility of his friends
6. Philip was a loyal friend, and as soon as Jesus called him to be a disciple, Philip went to Nathaniel who was likely his best friend....
7. The different Apostles had responsibilities for the group (e.g., Judas Iscariot was the treasurer). Thomas was probably the one responsible to buy food
(1) John 6:5-6
(2) Philip failed the test...
He had seen the water turned into wine and many other miracles...
He was too absorbed with his own understanding and abilities--no room to God to work a miracle
8. He was not spiritually perceptive...THREE YEARS LATER ---John 14:8
9. Yet Jesus made a great man out of him; likely that he preached and helped establish churches through Phrygia; died a martyr (stabbed)
10. Philip is a testimony that God can take someone who is spiritually dull and form him or her into a great person; but it takes time spent with Jesus and trials and maturity.
III. Nathaniel, A Serious Student of the Word But Prejudiced
1. Nathaniel Bar Tolmai was very different from his close friend, Philip
---Possibly partners in Bible Study with Philip
2. Most Jews tried to observe the OT Law, but some were more Psalm 1 like than others...
3. Nathaniel was prejudiced, as we see when Philip told Him that they had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth
---The town of Nazareth was despised as the town of trashy or uncultured people; "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" was probably a common Proverb
---"Prejudice is an unwarranted generalization based on feelings of superiority and it can be a powerful obstacle of truth." Mac Arthur
---- A committed Christian couple I knew....talked about the Hawkinses...
4. What is neat about Nathaniel is that he love the truth more than he loved prejudice...
----may I suggest that loving the truth is still the best way to overcome prejudice? (John 1:46-47)
5. From that point on, Nathaniel submitted to Jesus Christ....humbly, quietly, whole-heartedly....
6. Jesus took a very good man, Nathaniel, and made him better....
7. I know many wonderful lost people; I enjoy their company and respect their behavior....but none are so good that Christ could not make them better....
IV. Thomas: The Dedicated Skeptic Pessimist Who Did Us All A Favor
1. Thomas really was man of great dedication
(1) look at John 11:16
(2) Thomas was willing to die for Christ because He believed in Him
2. He was also a confused man....look at John 14:5---but, unlike the other Apostles, he asked for an explanation
3. Thomas had a hard time believing what he did not understand