Based on the documentary “Bible Mysteries - The Disciples,” describe what type of men Jesus chose as his disciples. You may consider if they were candidates to be leaders of what would become a global faith movement. Or, what were the dynamics between the members of this group of men? Did their interrelationship have any impact on the effectiveness of Jesus’s ministry?

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The type of men Jesus chose as disciples were able to protect themselves against external threats that might arise as they traveled to spread their message and were also able to help people of the various villages where they preached the gospel of Jesus. However, they did not seem to have the same leadership skills as Jesus, including charisma and the ability to instill faith in others and build societal bridges.

As we know from the documentary and other sources, life was difficult during the first century. Leaders needed to reassure people about their situations and instill in them the faith that their lives could improve here on earth or in the next world. To spread this message, the journeys that the disciples were required to make were often dangerous. The disciples were at risk of being attacked by animals or robbers. They therefore needed to arm themselves and to travel in pairs in order to protect one another.

In addition, the mortality rate was high. On average, people generally died by their fifties. Science and medical science were at much earlier stages of knowledge and development, so people did not have access to the medicines that we have today that make our lives so much easier. With no antibiotics, simple infections often led to death. Other maladies went undiagnosed because people did not have the medical knowledge or tools that were developed as science advanced. The disciples and Jesus therefore needed to be able to practice faith-based healing.

We see an example of the individual disciples not being able to provide the healing that Jesus could provide in the story of a young person who had what today’s doctors would probably diagnose as epilepsy. The disciples failed to cure the disease, but later Jesus was able to, telling his followers that their failed attempt at healing reflected their lack of faith. Thus, individually, the disciples might not have been candidates to be leaders of what would become a global faith movement. The indication is that they seemed to lack the necessary faith and abilities.

Moreover, although they were able to support one another much of the time, it seems likely that tensions arose among the disciples that strained the dynamics between the members of this group of men. One example of this can be seen when Jesus instructed his disciples to go to the Samaritans, despite the existing hostilities between the Samaritans and the Jews. The Samaritans therefore were not open to hearing the message the disciples wanted to impart, and they rejected the disciples. The disciples then pushed back against Jesus’s instructions and did not want to remain peaceful toward the Samaritans while preaching their message. This was potentially an act of rebellion against their leader and likely led to increased tensions within the group. It also shows the underlying inability of the disciples to create bonds with outsiders in situations where Jesus could help build bridges between disparate groups of people.

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