Succession planning is important.

A Call to Christian Living –

Who is Your Legacy?

John 1:29-42, John the Baptist > Andrew > Peter
Matthew 4:17-22, 10:1-7, Jesus > The Twelve
John 1:43-51, Philip the Apostle > Nathaniel
Acts 6:1-5, 8:26-40, The Twelve > Philip the Evangelist > The Ethiopian Eunuch
Acts 18:1-4, 18-28, Paul > Priscilla & Aquila > Apollos

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Palestine in New Testament times. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
John 1:29-42, John the Baptist > Andrew > Peter (2/13/12)

This morning Pastor Craig talked about the importance of preparing people to go out and continue your work in the kingdom of God after you are gone.  Each one of us needs to make sure that at least one new Christian is here on earth to take our place when we move on to our eternal home.  This week we’re going to look at some examples. 

The earliest New Testament example of training people up and sending them off to continue the work is John the Baptist and two of his own disciples, one of whom was Andrew.  John took great pains to point out that Jesus was more important than John and that Jesus was the Lamb of God.  The second time John did so, his disciples took the hint and left him to talk to Jesus.  Then Andrew went out and found someone else to bring to Jesus, his own brother Peter.

Notice that Andrew, Peter, and the other disciple apparently didn’t start going around with Jesus at this time.  Later, after John was arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, which is where he called Andrew and Peter into active discipleship (see Mark 1:14-20).

Matthew 4:17-22, 10:1-7, Jesus > The Twelve (2/14/12)

Yesterday we saw that a couple of Jesus’ disciples had previously been disciples of John the Baptist.  Apparently they went back to John for a while, because it was only after John was arrested and Jesus went back to Galilee that Jesus officially took them on as his own disciples.  Ultimately Jesus chose twelve disciples for the special role of apostle.  He trained them up to do the same thing he was doing:  preaching about repentance and the kingdom of God.

Everything good in Judaism and early Christianity comes in twelves – twelve sons of Jacob, twelve tribes, twelve stones in altars, twelve apostles.  This is probably the main reason that after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, the Eleven got together and found some candidates for the Holy Spirit to choose a replacement twelfth apostle, Matthias (Acts 1:15-26). 

By the way, March 2012 National Geographic has an interesting article about the apostles and where they preached, athough it’s very short on sources, so take it with a grain of salt.  Only a few of the apostles’ preaching ministries are described in the New Testament, and the only apostle whose death is mentioned is James, brother of John (Acts 12:2).  What you mainly need to know about the Twelve is that Jesus chose them to continue his work.

John 1:43-51, Philip the Apostle > Nathaniel (2/15/12)

Have you ever made a convert?  My calling is discipleship training, not evangelism, although I think I once made a convert by accident.  Bringing people to Jesus is a part of the Christian job description, however, and we see that Philip caught on right away.  Probably this is why Jesus chose him to be an apostle in the first place.

Nathaniel’s first comment about the Messiah is, “Can anything good come out of Galilee?”  Galilee was well north of Judea, and although many Jews lived there, it was largely Gentile (see Matthew 4:15, quoting Isaiah 9:1).  Furthermore, everybody knew (correctly) that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem in Judea, and (incorrectly) that Jesus was originally from Nazareth.  So he’s asking a reasonable question. 

Greek can ask questions in three ways, like English:
Nathaniel’s question is the first sort.  He’s just asking, not saying.

Acts 6:1-5, 8:26-40, The Twelve > Philip the Evangelist > The Ethiopian Eunuch (2/16/12)

“Philip” must be a good name for preachers of the Good News.  Yesterday we read about the apostle Philip, who brought his friend Nathaniel to Jesus.  Today we read about Philip the evangelist, who brought a number of people to Jesus, hence the title.  (There’s also a third New Testament Philip, Herod’s brother.)

Philip the apostle is mentioned in Mathew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, John 1:43-48, John 6:5-7, John 12:21-22, John 14:8-9, and Acts 1:13.  That’s the last we hear of him, but it’s more than we know about most of the apostles.

Then in Acts 6:5 we meet a different Philip, who converts the Ethiopian eunuch whom we read about today and then preaches his way from Azotus to Caesarea, where he settles down and has a family.  We hear about him once more, in Acts 21:8, where Luke specifically identifies the Caesarea Philip as “Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven.”

The reason I’m telling you this in such detail is that I didn’t realize until last year that there were two different Philips, both of whom left legacies in the form of new Christians.

Acts 18:1-4, 18-28, Paul > Priscilla & Aquila > Apollos (2/17/12)

Although it isn’t certain that Paul was responsible for Priscilla and Aquila’s conversion, it is certain that he took them under his wing and mentored them.  They in turn don’t seem to have been responsible for Apollos’s conversion, but they took him under their wings and mentored him.  Apollos in turn was a powerful scholar and debater who helped others to understand the scriptures. 

Making converts is important, but students and grand-students are also an important legacy.  Sign up to teach Sunday School.

More about Living the Christian Life
A Call to Christian Living
Christ-Centered Community
Charitable Giving
Christlike Compassion
Christ-Led Courage
Living So It Shows
Overcoming Sin
Sharing the Good News
Who Is Your Legacy?
Five Spiritual Disciplines
Christian Character
New Life and New Standards
Living in the World
Love One Another
Again, Love One Another
And as a Final Word, Love One Another

Copyright 2012, 2021 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

The map of Palestine around the time of the New Testament is from the Thomas family Bible, now in a private collection of a family member.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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