Friday, August 11, 2017

55 - Choosing The Foundation Stones of the Holy City

The wall of the city also had twelve foundation stones, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  Rev. 21:14

12 In the progress of these days he went out into the mountain to pray, and he continued the whole night in prayer to God. 
13  And when it was day, He called His disciples. Luke 6:12-13 MKJV

13 He ascended a mountain and summoned those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 
14 And he formed a group of 12, whom he also named apostles, those who were to accompany him and whom he would send out to preach
15 and to have authority to expel demons.
16 And the group of 12 that he formed were Simon, to whom he also gave the name Peter, 
17 James the son of Zebʹe·dee and John the brother of James (he also gave these the name Bo·a·nerʹges, which means “Sons of Thunder”),
18 Andrew, Philip, Bar·tholʹo·mew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Al·phaeʹus, Thad·daeʹus, Simon the Ca·na·naeʹan, 
19 and Judas Is·carʹi·ot, who later betrayed him. Mark 3:13-19 NW

Twelve Apostles

In his Biography of Christ, Matthew has nothing to say about the choice of the seven last apostles, but Mark and Luke both do. Luke starts with two very important notes which Mark does not include.

1. Christ had some tough decisions to make the next day so He spent the whole night in prayer to God.  This sounds so much more profitable than staying up all night fretting and trying to figure out what tomorrow's decisions should be.

2. And when it was day, He called His disciples. By this time many common folks were following Jesus and they are here called His disciples.  The word disciple means a learner; pupil. Strong G3129.  It was from among all those people that he formed a group of 12, whom he also named apostles. These twelve would go with Him and he would send them out to preach and to have authority to expel demons.

From our studies, we recall that before now He had already chosen Peter and His brother Andrew; James and his brother John and Matthew the tax collector. He needed to add only seven more to have a group of twelve.

These were His twelve chosen disciples:

1. Simon Peter; The name Peter comes from the Greek Petros and it means “a mass of rock detached from the living rock."
2. James; son of Zebedee and his brother
3. John; Jesus gave these two the nickname Boanerges which means "Sons of Thunder".  Some Bible scholars suggest that this happened because James and John said, Lord, do You desire that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did?
Luke 9:54
4. Andrew; Brother of Peter.
5. Philip; lover of horses.

6. Bartholomew; In the Gospel of John he is known as Nathanael.  Jesus said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile! John 1:47
7. Matthew; The son of Alphaeus and the writer of the Gospel of Matthew.
8. Thomas; was his Hebrew name and Didymus, the name used by Luke, was his Greek name; it means twin. Then Thomas (he being called Twin). John 11:16. It is believed that he was the twin brother of Matthew or James and that all three of these were brothers.  Because Thomas, at first, did not believe that Christ had risen from the dead that we now have that famous line "a doubting Thomas".
9. James; the son of Al·phaeʹus, just like Matthew.
10. Thaddeus; Mark uses the surname, Thaddeus, but Luke uses his given name, Judas.  However, this Judas must not be confused with Judas Iscariot.  We know this Judas better by the name Jude, the writer of the second last book in the Bible.
11. Simon; The Canaanite
12. Judas; who later betrayed him. Easton Bible Dictionary

A man once asked a theologian, “Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot to be his disciple?” The teacher replied, “I don’t know, but I have an even harder question: Why did Jesus choose me?” Guzik

The Sermon on the Mount

And he came down (from the mountain; 6:13with them and took his station on a level place. Luke 6:17.

When he saw the crowds he went up into the mountain. Mat. 5:1.  

This seeming contradiction needs a solution.
It is probably not right to assume that Christ preached all of "the sermon on the mount" in one setting.  Matthew's paraphrase of it is much longer than Luke's is so it is logical that Matthew gathered more material from Christ's various sermons, than Luke did, and laced them together into what appears to be one continuous lecture.

Christ was an itinerant preacher and He preached wherever He went and no doubt He repeated the same thoughts many times because He continuously had a new audience. 

As we have already noticed, the three synoptic Gospel writers did not record all the events in the same sequence.  Some scholars say that since Luke does not say that the sermon was preached immediately after choosing the twelve disciples the location given for the sermon is irrelevant.

Since Bible students suggest that neither Luke's or Matthew's version of the sermon is an actual "copy" of any one sermon it was reasonable for each of them to place Christ at a different location for recording the preaching of the sermon.  

Starting with the next post we will look at some of the highlights of The Sermon on the Mount, although just about every phrase is a highlight.