Rerun of the Silent Years?
The Silent Years: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men,” is all that is recorded about the Jesus’ growth as a child and youth. We know little if anything about Joseph’s and Mary parenting skills other than they finally discovered after three days on a trip home he was missing and had to go back to the Temple to retrieve him.
Rerun of the Silent Years: How did Jesus nurture the twelve from tax collector, fishermen, common everyday folk into disciples and eventually evolve into apostles? Jesus did not start a discipleship school based out of Galilee, teaching the twelve how to do Church on Sunday between nine and noon. He traveled all around the See of Galilee and Israel for a little over two years with the twelve “following him”. He was the leader; they were the followers. What were they following?
As a young adult, I use to think the disciples were twelve single men in their late 20’s with no strings attached who just left their professions and families and followed him. I was shocked when reading the passage in the Bible that Jesus “healed” Peter’s mother-in-law! That meant Peter was MARRIED! Did he drag his wife along with the 12? Did he abandon her like a traveling salesman does for two years? I doubt it. He was on good terms with his mother-in-law, for as soon as she was healed, she “served” the twelve, not give Peter lip for leaving!
What is the “Jesus way” to shepherd or nurture a growing believer? Jesus never wrote the book “The 10 Step Plan Toward Greater Discipleship”, or “Shepherding for Idiots”. If he had, the Church would have made “programs” and “courses” out of it, making it a “legal” requirement for “joining” Church.
This doesn’t sound like a good answer, but Jesus just “hung out” with these guys, something every person in their late teens and early twenties knows how to do. Jesus did not “model” who he is, he just remained true to himself and be himself. In order to become “Jesus-like” you got to “like Jesus”, so that means “hanging out” with him. Relationships are so important to twenty year olds, because they want to be “liked”, accepted, by their peers, and want to be understood even though they don’t understand themselves. Shepherding is getting to “like” and accept you, drawing one to grow in your “likeness” as well as getting to “like” oneself. Relationships are the key; shepherding is “liking” Jesus to the point of wanting to become intimate in one’s relationship with him, growing in the “likeness” of Jesus, and learning “who we are” in Jesus! It is all about relationships!