JESUS! In Word and Song



Sprinkled throughout the Gospels we have words like, “then JESUS said to His disciples . . .” He spent a great deal of time and energy teaching His chosen apostles.

Two years into His public ministry He inaugurated an intense training of the twelve.

One example of His intense focus on training is found in Luke 12:1.  The narrative starts where there were so many thousands of people gathered to hear Him they were trampling one another.  In this case of life and death, I would assume JESUS would first address the problem of the crowds.  But, He did not. “In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples . . . ”(Luke 12:1 ESV).

Jesus retired three times from Galilee to outlying districts, seeking privacy with the Twelve. Leaving the hot shores of the lake, he planned to spend the summer on the cooler plateaus for more intensive training of those whom he had chosen to become apostles.1

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’  For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31 ESV).

The disciples must have been happy for those words. But one time when they arrived at their destination they saw a great crowd coming toward them. And JESUS welcomed them. I doubt that the 12 were happy at this. But the disciples’ discouragement most assuredly grew worse when JESUS asked them to feed the crowd of 5000 (Mark 6:37).

[T]he purpose, the goal of our Lord’s dealings with the disciples was to train them in the area of faith. The means of training the twelve in faith was not ‘teaching’ per se, but testing them. Jesus commanded the disciples to obey Him, without having the human means of doing so, and thus having to trust Him to provide for their needs. [T]he events were intended to teach the disciples to trust and to obey.2

“As Christ acted with his disciples while he sojourned with them, so the Holy Ghost acts with those who believe in his name.”3

[A]ll of the commands of God are impossible for fallen, sinful man to obey. That is why we must not only be saved by faith, but we must walk by faith. Jesus’ burden is light, not because it is easy, but because He provides the means to do what He commands.4

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(17) When the LORD Was With His Twelve

            1. Orville E. Daniel, The Harmony of the Four Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996) 87-112.

            2. Bob Deffinbaugh, “The Training of the Twelve,” 22 June 2004,, 10 February 2021

            3. Adam Clarke, “Commentary on John 14:16,” 1832, The Adam Clarke Commentary,

10 February 2021

            4. Bob Deffinbaugh, “The Training of the Twelve,” 22 June 2004,, 10 February 2021

            5. John H. Sammis, and Daniel B. Towner, “Trust and Obey,” 1887, Hymnary, 10 February 2021

            6. John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1960, reprinted 1990) 85.