The twelve were with Jesus. They saw how He did ministry and how He treated people. His tenderness, gentleness, and compassion for the poor and oppressed were evident. They saw His heart for the lost sheep and the masses without shepherds. He rebuked hypocrites and false leaders. They were with Him when He healed, raised the dead, and cast out demons. They learned sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and servanthood. They went through faith tests of being in a storm on the sea about to down and then saw Jesus still the storm.
Jesus didn’t focus on how-tos (programs, methods, or skills) but rather on heart, character, values, motives, faith, and leading in light of eternity among other things. We would do well to emphasize the same in our equipping. Then He commissioned them. There was an end to His training.
Jesus blessed the twelve at the Last Supper. He did it in a way that shocked them – He washed their feet. He was the Lord of the universe, creator of all, King of Kings. He knew who He was and where He was going – to be seated at the right hand of the Father. With all of this knowledge, He laid aside His robes and girded a towel about Himself, took the role of the lowliest servant in the household, and washed their feet. One by one, tenderly and in a way that blessed and humbled each one.
When He finished, He told them what He did: “Do you know what I have done to you?” (John 13:12). He said in effect, “I am the Lord and teacher, but I washed your feet. I took the low road and lifted you up. I blessed you and so you should do the same.”
Jesus selected the twelve to be with Him and to see His life and ministry up close. Together they experienced His trials, miracles, accolades, and rejection. They were sent out two by two to go to the villages.
They felt their own failures, successes, and questions. They heard His teachings and saw responses from all kinds of people.
Life imparted life.
The Jesus way of life, leadership, and ministry is “together.”
Jesus was a man of action and prayer. No one can miss His emphasis on prayer. Before He even began His public ministry, He spent forty days in the wilderness praying.
Prayer was part of His daily life and fellowship with the Father. His disciples were so curious that they requested, “Teach us to pray.”
His prayers were simple.
He asserted that one should not make a show of praying. He practiced it daily and at all times. He spent the whole night in prayer reviewing His selection of the twelve. The twelve were prayed for throughout their time with Jesus. We know Jesus’s recorded prayer in John 17 where He refers to them thirty-one times in verses 6 through 19.
Looking at the example Jesus provides for us, what can you and I learn about the power of prayer?
When was the last time you spent the whole night praying over an important decision? When was the last time you prayed fervently and faithfully over another person or situation?