It is a well-known fact that Jesus had twelve disciples who followed him throughout his ministry. But how long did they spend together? Let’s delve into the scriptures and find out.
The Early Days
When Jesus first began his ministry, he called his disciples to follow him. In Matthew 4:19-20, we read that Jesus said to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Similarly, James and John were also called by Jesus while they were in their boat with their father Zebedee (Matthew 4:21-22).
These early days were spent with the disciples getting to know Jesus and learning from him. They traveled together, ate together, and witnessed the miracles that Jesus performed.
The Three Years of Ministry
In Luke 3:23, it is mentioned that when Jesus began his ministry, he was about thirty years old. The duration of Jesus’ earthly ministry is generally believed to be three years. During this time, he continued teaching his disciples through parables and performing miracles.
The gospels are full of instances where we see the disciples asking questions or seeking clarification on something Jesus said or did. For example, in Matthew 13:36, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable of the weeds in the field.
The Last Days
As we come closer to the end of Jesus’ earthly life, we see that he spends more time with his disciples teaching them important lessons before his crucifixion and resurrection.
In John 13:1-17, we read about how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet as a lesson in humility. He also spoke at length about the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14-16.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he spent another forty days with his disciples before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3). During this time, he continued to teach them and prepare them for their mission of spreading the gospel to the world.
Based on the scriptures, it can be inferred that Jesus spent approximately three years with his disciples during his earthly ministry. However, the impact that he had on their lives and the lessons that they learned from him lasted a lifetime.
As we read through the gospels, we see how Jesus took ordinary men and transformed them into powerful witnesses for Christ. May we also be willing to follow him and learn from him as we seek to live our lives for him.