During term time I go into Church Lawton School to help with RE lessons. I always
enjoy being with young people talking about religion, faith and history - it helps
if you can think on your feet, and keep positive, of course.
One thing that keeps coming up is about Jesus’ disciples – people insist on thinking
that Jesus just had 12 – which I suppose comes from Matthew 10:
“Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out
evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter) and his brother
Andrew; James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew;
Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon
the Patriot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.”
Of course this was at the start of Jesus’ ministry and it began with these twelve
– a special group who shared Jesus’ life and teaching, and were sent out to share
it with others. That word ‘sent’ in Greek is where we get the title ‘Apostle’ from.
But the Jesus movement didn’t stop with these twelve, and Jesus had many, many more
disciples than these few men. He attracted scores, perhaps many hundreds, of people
who believed in him and followed him – men and women, young and old, Jewish and non-Jews
from Greece and Rome and all around. They all became his disciples.
So let’s remember, Jesus had twelve Apostles, but lots of disciples who followed
him. That word Disciple literally means a Learner – someone who sits at the feet
of the teacher and wants to learn.
You may think of yourself as a Christian, a church goer, an Anglican perhaps – but
do you think of yourself as a Disciple of Jesus – because that is what we are?
When I think of that word I remember that it means we need to keep on learning about
the Christian faith, there is always something new to discover, some new depths to
be plumbed, that we have never arrived at the end of the journey of spiritual exploration
that Jesus leads us on.
As disciples we learn from Jesus by spending time in prayer and reflection, by inspiration
from the Holy Spirit and from other Christians, through music, cinema and books.
But I think the most important way to learn as disciples is by engaging with the
You could almost think of the church of God as an all-age Sunday School where we
all come to learn together. That’s why we are taking time out in our summer months
to focus on learning, with a new topic every month.
In July we are looking more deeply at the Miracles Jesus performed: Cleansing people
from Leprosy, making the Lame to walk, Feeding people with Fish & Bread, restoring
sight to the blind, and raising people from the Dead. Are these just amazing illusions
or just signs pointing to who Jesus is?
Next we look at some of the key women in the Old Testament, starting with the tense
situation of Sarah and Hagar, then the intriguing life of Bathsheba, followed by
the stories of Ruth and then Esther.
In September we take a different approach – looking at contemporary issues in life
and then what the Bible says: We will think about the issue of our money, about our
Relationships, good Health and dealing with Ageing.
In October after our Harvest Festival we are thinking about what happens when we
die and our Christian hope. There are so many different ideas around about life
after death, lots of them coming from other religions – but what does the Bible really
teach us – and what have we got to look forward to?
I think these topics will be interesting and encouraging, and help us to learn and
deepen our Christian faith. I hope that you will be able to join us for our summer