Jesus’ disciples were often an embarrassment to him during their three years of training. The four gospels report in painful detail when the Twelve exhibited confused priorities and uncaring people attitudes. Two of the four books, Matthew and John, were authored by men who had to describe their own spiritual immaturity in those years.
But after the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost, the disciples (“learners”) became apostles (“sent ones”), and they grew mightily in wisdom and understanding. Their former confused utterings gave way to passionate and articulate proclamations about Christ and his wonderful work. They also learned how to love people: “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:33,34).
God would like us to treat one another the way he treats us—with patience, forgiveness, hospitality, kindness, compassion, and generosity. The early church was concerned not only with teaching but with helping people with their physical needs as well.
It was true then and is even truer today that people who are strangers to the Christian faith will take our words much more seriously when accompanied by clear evidence of love and caring. You might call it “grace in action.”
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.