Summary: Comparison of Peter and Judas shows that a true disciple: holds to belief, not doubt; listens to the Word, not the world; lives by the Spirit, not the flesh.
Discipleship Series # 4
What is the Heart of a Disciple?
John 6, 13, 15
SCRIPTURE READING: John 6: 60-71
Imagine a church that grows from a dozen members to well over 5,000 --- in just 3 years. They have strong leaders, enthusiastic members, and a fantastic preacher. Miracles are happening every day. The whole country is talking about it.
Then one morning … after the Preacher gives one short little sermon … boom … the congregation goes from 5,000 back down to the original 12.
That’s what happened to Jesus in the TEXT we just read. Jesus had developed a huge following. His congregation grew to the point that no building in Galilee could hold them. All 4 Gospels describe one meeting where he fed 5,000 men … not even counting the women and children. (Mt.14, Mark 6, Luke 9, Jn.6). After that, the people wanted to grab Jesus, make him their King, and march to Jerusalem in a big Victory Parade.
That’s when Jesus ducked out. He and his men sailed a boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But the next morning his determined fans tracked him down. Instead of feeding them breakfast, Jesus preached a short sermon where he told them “I am the bread of life.” The people were bewildered. Their stomachs were growling. Their blood sugar level was getting low. Their mouths were watering for bread and fish. What did “I am the bread of life” mean?
The crowd started grumbling. As the day went on, most of them “quit the church” so to speak. Even many of the 70 disciples that Jesus had sent out as missionaries left him. When Jesus looked around at the end of that day, only the 12 remained.
Since we’re studying “discipleship” I think it makes sense to take a little time and look at those first 12 Disciples. They were 12 very diverse men.
• Andrew, was known for bringing others to Christ. As soon as he met Jesus, he ran to tell his brother the news.
• Philip also told his brother, Nathanael about Jesus. Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew),evidently had a good sense of humor. When Philip told him about Jesus of Nazareth Nathanael quipped,“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:43-51)
• Next, we have James and John--- a couple of fisherman brothers. They were the sons of Zebedee, and cousins of Jesus. Evidently they were not the shy, timid type. Jesus nick-named them the “Sons of Thunder.”
• And then there’s James, son of Alphaeus. He was sometimes called "James, the less.” Perhaps he was smaller, younger, or quieter than the other James.
• Matthew was a tax collector, employed by the government of Rome.
• Simon the Zealot --- was an insurgent, working to overthrow the same government Matthew worked for.
• Which brings us to Thaddaeus --- who was sometimes called Jude, or Lebbeus
• Of course, there’s Thomas, who is known for being a skeptic … demanding proof before he would believe.
That adds up to 10. The last 2 were singled out in the TEXT we read --- one for his faith and one for his unbelief. They are probably the best-known of the Apostles, but for opposite reasons. One is famous. One is infamous. But Peter and Judas have more in common than you might think.
• Both were personally called by Christ
• Both answered the call and walked with Jesus every day for 3 years
• Both were leaders among the men: Peter was the spokesman; Judas was the treasurer
• When so many others turned away, both men stayed with Jesus. They stayed with him all the way through that Last Supper at Passover.
From all appearances they both looked like disciples. But, as I Samuel 16:7 says, The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
One man had the Heart of a Disciple and the other did not. So, we need to ask, What is the Heart of a Disciple? Comparing Peter and Judas is a good way to see what is at the Heart of Discipleship. It is interesting to see their similarities. It is essential to see their differences --- because one of these men served Christ all his days. The other one committed suicide.
When we compare Peter and Judas, the first thing we see is that a Disciple Holds to Belief, not Doubt.
1. A Disciple Holds to Belief, not Doubt
Jesus said, The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. John 6:63-64