When Jesus began his ministry, one of the first things he did was to choose twelve disciples to be his closest followers and to help him spread his message. But what exactly was the job of these first disciples of Jesus? Let’s take a closer look.
The Call of the Disciples
Jesus called each of his disciples individually, asking them to leave behind their former lives and follow him. The Gospels describe how Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew, Philip, Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael), Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus (also known as Judas or Lebbaeus), and Simon (also known as the Zealot) all responded to Jesus’ call and became his disciples.
Learning from Jesus
Once they had joined Jesus’ group of followers, the disciples spent much of their time traveling with him throughout Galilee and other parts of Israel. They listened to Jesus’ teachings and witnessed the miracles he performed. They also asked him many questions about his message and what it meant for their lives.
Preaching and Healing
As they traveled with Jesus, the disciples were also given opportunities to preach and heal in his name. In Matthew 10:1-8 we read that Jesus gave his disciples “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” He then sent them out two by two to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7).
Supporting Jesus’ Mission
The disciples played an important role in supporting Jesus’ mission. They helped him organize events like the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-15) by distributing food among the crowds. They also acted as messengers, delivering important messages from Jesus to others.
Witnessing the Crucifixion and Resurrection
Perhaps the most significant role of the disciples was to witness Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Despite their fear and confusion, they remained faithful to Jesus even when he was arrested and put on trial. After his death, they were among the first to discover that he had risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-12).
The job of the first disciples of Jesus was multifaceted. They learned from him, preached in his name, supported his mission, and witnessed his death and resurrection.
Their work helped lay the foundation for the spread of Christianity throughout the world. As we continue to follow in their footsteps today, may we also be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.