Of the three apostles closest to Jesus, Peter, James and John, James is the one we know the least about. His name never appears alone in the gospels. He is always mentioned with his younger brother John. Much like Peter and Andrew. The only time we see James mentioned by himself is in the book of Acts where it records his death. James was the first apostle to be martyred.
James, and his brother John are often referred to as the sons of Zebedee. This indicates that their father was of some importance. His prestige may have been a result of his financial standing, family lineage, or both. It appears, from Mark 1:20, that the family business was large enough to employ several servants.
"And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Him." Mark 1:20
Early church records tell us that John's father, Zebedee, was most likely a Levite and related to the high priest. This is another explanation for the family's prominence. Prestige must have followed John as well. His acquaintance with the high priest gained Peter entrance to the high priest's courtyard on the night of Jesus' arrest.
The fact that James' name follows Peter's in the list of apostles tells us that he must of been a strong leader. James was present when Jesus:
Isn't that what we need to see to strengthen our faith?
His power | His glory | His sovereignty | His agony
Of the four apostles closest to Jesus, Andrew is the least known. Yet he was often the means by which others were introduced to the Savior. He is known as the apostle of the small things. From the very beginning he had an eagerness to follow Christ and a zeal for introducing others to Him.
"One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus...." John 1:40-42
Those five words, "he brought him to Jesus" define Andrew's purpose in life after he himself met the Savior.
"...it is clear that the four disciples in the inner circle all aspired to be leaders. That is why they sometimes had those shameful arguments over who was the greatest. Their eagerness to lead, which caused so many clashes when they were together as a group, ultimately became immensely valuable when these men went their separate ways as apostles in the early church. Jesus was training them for leadership, and in the end, they all filled important leadership roles in the early church." —John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
Scripture doesn't tell us much about Andrew. Apart from the places where all twelve disciples are mentioned in the New Testament, his name is only mentioned nine times. He lived his life in the shadows, and that's how he preferred it. He realized the value of small things.
I love how the passage in John 1:40-42 says, "He first found his own brother..." After Andrew made the decision to follow Christ, the first thing he did was go and tell someone else—his own brother! Simon Peter was Andrew's brother, and would eventually become the Rock of the early church. Read more about that here. This says a lot about Andrew's character and his mode of operation.
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you deeply, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16
Being rooted and established has been an all-encompassing theme of my life for some time. It began way back in January 2015, and so began the InstaEncouragements movement. You can read more about that here. Follow the movement on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Etsy.
When we are rooted and established, the winds of the storm can blow hard but we will not be tossed like tumbleweed. The deep roots into the Living Water give us stability. In times of drought our roots need to go even deeper into God's Word. They need to go deeper to pull out the spiritual nutrients so that fruit continues to grow.
So I've committed myself to letting the Word dwell in me deeply over the course of the next 12 weeks. I'm excited because I know that the journey is going to have benefits like joy to the heart and light to the eyes! Follow the blog as I document the journey!
Who DIED for me and forgave my sinful soul? Who loves me even through the messy, unloveable, untrusting days? No one like Him! And yet, I struggle to trust. Why? I cannot say. It doesn't even make sense to me.
I do know though, the more rooted and established His Word becomes in my life, the more natural it is for me to trust Him. Without His Word, trusting would be near impossible. So when I saw this opportunity to be one of the first to dive into the Dwell 12-week Bible study journal, I ordered it!
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