I like the disciples. Sometimes I envy them a little bit. I think, "they got to physically walk with Jesus, see His face, touch His hand, and sit next to Him." Even the thought of the total lack of personal hygiene doesn't really phase me as much as you would think. The 12 disciples got to experience physically what we get to experience spiritually. They walked with Him physically, we walk with Him spiritually. They talked with Him physically, we talk with Him spiritually. They followed Him wherever He walked, we follow His direction in our walks.
As I go through their adventures in my mind, I see the 13 of them surrounded by crowds of people. I see them sitting alone around a fire talking, telling jokes, laughing, and loving being in each other's presence. I see them walking down a hot and dusty road, Jesus striding with purpose, Peter, James, and John close at His heals (kinda like large puppies), and the rest following behind, each one lost in his own thoughts. I see Jesus being led away from the 12 by soldiers, Peter, James, and John wanting to follow but are unsure, the rest run for their lives. I see eye contact being made, unspoken words being communicated, hearts being torn.
As I think about these 12 men, I wonder what they were thinking when the soldiers came. No doubt they were frightened, but what were they expecting Jesus to do? Peter's response was pretty obvious: pull out a weapon and fight. But what did they think when Jesus replaced the man's ear and actually told Peter to cut it out? When they were running for their lives, were they having regrets about following Jesus? Were they just concerned with their own skins? Did they even think about Jesus as they ran?
When it came down to the wire, when Jesus was on the cross, of the 12 disciples who had just spent the past three years getting dusty from the sand kicked up by Jesus' sandals, only 1 stayed the course to the end. Only 1 stood at the foot of the cross, close enough to hear Jesus' words when He charged this 1 to care for His mother. Perhaps even close enough to smell the stench of blood and dirt. Perhaps even close enough to touch His feet. Of the 12 men, 10 ran away, 1 killed himself, and 1 continued to follow Jesus.
Regardless of where the 12 disciples were at that time, I can't help but wonder where I would have been. I look up those 12 men who left their lives to follow my Jesus, I ponder their choices. When I sit and really ponder their choices on that day, the question is put to my soul, "What kind of disciple will you be? Will you let yourself take the easy way out and die? Will you run away? Will you not have the strength to make it all the way? Or will you follow Jesus, even to the cross?" With tears in my eyes, I answer, "I want to be the one who makes it. I want to be at my Savior's feet, regardless of whether they are bloody, dirty, or white as snow." I ask what I had to do to make it. And God responds clear as day, "Stay at your post. Read scripture. Love my children. Talk to Me. Use your gifts."
Which disciple will you be? Will you run? Will you die? Will you follow?