Episode:Jesus Goes Public—Preparation and Preaching (Part 3)
The outstanding feature of James Zebedee’s personality was his ability to see all sides of a proposition. Of all the twelve, he came the nearest to grasping the real import and significance of Jesus’ teaching. He, too, was slow at first to comprehend the Master’s meaning, but ere they had finished their training, he had acquired a superior concept of Jesus’ message, the gospel of the kingdom.
Opening thought: From Charles Luckman: “Success is that old ABC: Ability, Breaks, and Courage.” How might this apply to the apostles and the lives they lived?
Summary by Kermit
Commentary after Review
Preeminence of the individual is one of the divine ideals previously mentioned on SoS. It was an integral feature of the kingdom of heaven as Jesus taught it. Greek philosophy failed to recognize the individual as sacrosanct in favor of the family, and it was Christianity which exalted it to its recognition as divine ideal. Here is an example of an evolutionary phenomenon stimulated by revelation. The 5th ER in the Planetary Mortal Epochs paper lays out the revelatory plan whereby the divine ideals of representative government, national life, family life, and preeminence of the individual are revealed. Due to the rebellion and default these ideals were not adequately established; thus we have the 5th ER attempting to restore these ideals for the sake of securing progressive civilization as an ongoing phenomenon. The revelation reveals ideals and discloses facts and ideas, and it is the proper apprehension of ideals which must precede the entertainment and implementation of facts and ideas in their application if real progress is to be achieved.
139:4.4 John Zebedee (cont.)
Continuing with John Zebedee, we are introduced to his unlovely trait of character, conceit. It being a mere hop, skip, and a jump to self-love. John’s association with Jesus served to greatly ameliorate his conceit, but with increasing age it reappeared somewhat as is evidenced in the gospel bearing his name, wherein he repeatedly makes self-reference as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.
Dependable, prompt, and courageous describe the more laudatory features of his character. He most appreciated Jesus’ love and unselfishness to the extent that his whole life became dominated by the sentiment of love and brotherly devotion, and he became known as the apostle of love. However, it is our authors’ choice of descriptors of John’s love with respect to the levels of meaning that give us pause. Genuine real sixth level of meaning love is a full two levels higher than brotherly love. Reflecting on Jesus’ new commandment that we love one another as he loves us suggests that John failed to grasp the “as he loves us” qualifier. Such a love “as he loves us” knows no exception and gives no place for hatred. Failure to recognize and appreciate this distinction has led to a condition whereby the love we may have for our brothers and sisters is self-righteously withheld from those we may label, enemy, or stranger.
He was reticent of speech, but gifted with a remarkable and creative imagination. He did however, become more verbally expressive when his anger was aroused. Along with James his brother he did share a bigotry and intolerance somewhat uncharacteristic of one so quiet and introspective. John’s character was markedly and permanently changed by his association with Jesus. The was due in particular to John’s inside look at the Master’s itinerant lifestyle while at the same time faithfully making provision for his family’s needs in the face of their lack of understanding of their father-brother’s mission, plus Jesus’ daily life of implicit trust in the Father’s watchcare.
His cool and daring courage was exhibited in his attendance at Jesus’ side through the entire appalling arrest, trial, and death on the cross.
John was early associated with Peter in the early establishment of the Christian church. Imprisoned several times, including his banishment to Patmos where he penned the Book of Revelation which survives today in fragmentary and adulterated form. With increasing age he grew more tactful and sagacious thus avoiding the violent death of his brother James. The outstanding theologian of the twelve and one of the few of the apostles to die of natural causes he lived to the astounding age of 101 years.
139:5 Philip the Curious
Nicknamed the “curious” by his fellow apostles for his incessant inquiries, many of a foolish nature, he is described as lacking imagination, but methodical and thorough, mathematical and systematic all of which served him in his assigned duties as steward of the apostolic corps.
He admired Jesus’ unfailing generosity. He was a commonplace average man, who appealed to many similar individuals in the multitudes, who took comfort to see one such as themselves in an honored and elevated position in the councils of the Master.
Illuminating to us is the disclosure that Jesus was really more interested in Philip’s foolish questions than in the sermon which Philip might chance to be interrupting. Such was the Master’s supreme interest in men of all kinds.
Philip was not a good public speaker, but he was persuasive and successful as a personal worker with the great and rare gift of saying, “Come and see”, I will show you the way. His lack of dogmatic persuasion enabled him to be the first of the apostles successfully to carry the message of the gospel outside the Jewish ranks to the Samaritans.
Philip was accompanied by his wife in his evangelistic efforts. And we are graced in the revelation with a touching narration of the scene of Philip’s crucifixion, with her stepping up to begin the recital of salvation through faith in Jesus when her husband's strength failed, only to be silenced by stones at the hands of irate Jews.