The idea of being “the thirteenth disciple” that Suzanne Eller suggests in her final chapter of Come with Me has been stirring in my mind and heart since I finished reading her book.
Why had I never considered that reality before now?
As I consider the life of the original twelve disciples and where they walked with Him, how they fellowshipped with Him, what they witnessed, and what they suffered, I am always impacted. The photographs of those very places stir my vision further.
What I have been confronted with is that the story does not end after the gospels. We see disciples being added in the book of Acts even though their names are not as familiar perhaps as the original twelve except maybe Paul, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas, and Timothy.
It can be far too easy to hold the Bible in our hands and read it as we would a history book. It does indeed tell us a grand history rich with stories, poems, battles, adventures, and prophecies that paint pictures of places, creatures, and happenings beyond our imagination.
But it is more than that…
The Bible is a living, breathing document of God’s creation and interaction with His creation. It doesn’t end when we finish reading the last chapter even though the last chapter signifies the end of what is considered “the inspired Word of God”. It goes on reaching out to new disciples, transforming hearts, and lives.
New stories are being added to His glory and for His honor.
They are our stories, our pieces of His story. They too are leaving a legacy, an imprint for those who come after us to follow.
If I, if we, are the thirteenth disciple and believe it, how will that influence the story? How will it influence how I spend my time, my gifts, and my resources?
I am not suggesting my story is on a par with those of the apostles, Paul, or the other early disciples we read about. You might feel yours is not that significant or special either, but those I speak of and we revere were really not men anyone would have written about or considered to be important until they had walked with Jesus and He transformed their lives.
He entrusted the whole of His ministry on this earth to a ragtag group of men without degrees, status, position, or power. He wanted them to “pass it on” through what they experienced “with” Him with the Holy Spirit He had promised would come to help them.
Isn’t He, aren’t they, entrusting each one of us in the same way? He’s entrusted it to us as well.
You may well say you are not teaching and preaching, but if you are reading a Bible story to your child or a group of children in a Sunday School class are you not spreading the gospel? If you are praying for the sick, are you not living out His example?
If you are daily seeking the Lord and desiring to be used by Him, is not your life demonstrating a witness that says you are different in some way from others who have not been transformed?
We may not even say a great deal and yet those whose lives interact with us are looking at a living, breathing disciple and our lives are being read daily by family, friends, neighbors, and others.
When I pause to consider such things, I am sobered.
What does my walk look like?
Am I listening as He did?
Am I noticing “the least of these” as He did?
Am I loving without distinction as He did?
In truth, if I am grading myself, I am not persuaded that I am being as much like Him as I would wish or as much as He wants me to be.
Looking at the disciples who came before me points to how I can improve.
Being a disciple means spending time with Jesus, walking and talking with Him, observing what He is up to, gleaning truth from what He has said and is saying. It means being strengthened in the community of other like-minded believers/disciples, but not spending all my time focusing on meeting with them. It means not just listening to others talk about Him, but knowing Him for myself, leaning against Him, becoming familiar with His voice.
Light shines brightest in dark places.
I think if I am to keep in mind that I am the thirteenth disciple, I start with listening for His words to me each day to hear where “come with me” takes me.
Each of our paths will be different.
Where is He taking yours?
15 thoughts on “We Are the Thirteenth Disciple”
I’m reading her book right now but haven’t made it to the end. Were you able to go on the retreat, Pam? Ooh, I bet it was an outstanding time of fellowship and worship and teaching. I’m glad to see how this book impacted you and I’m looking forward to reading this chapter! Happy to be visiting today from Susan B Mead. 🙂
It’s a great read, I think! No, I wasn’t, Maybe next year! The chapter is only a couple of pages. It’s what the Lord does with it as she puts the idea out there. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi there Pam. Man I loved your take on this. One of my favorite lines: “but those I speak of and we revere were really not men anyone would have written about or considered to be important until they had walked with Jesus and He transformed their lives.”
Jesus is our importance, is He not?? Oh how you’ve encouraged me today!!
Hi Shannon! Thanks so much! Yes, He definitely is!! I’m so glad the Lord used this!
Hi Pam! When I read about being the thirteenth disciple, I literally said out loud: “Oh, I LOVE that!!” I have never head about us being disciples in that way before. I really do love that!
How many times have we read and thought about how the disciples didn’t always get it? Or doubted, or wanted to be first? I mean, they were as human as we are, and they spent years in Jesus’ sight.
The words ‘come with me’…are there any more warm and inclusive words in the English language? It means partners, friends, a future.
What a great post today!
Blessings and prayers too,
Thanks so much, my friend. I so appreciate you!
Beautifully written and insightful post!
I never thought about myself as the “13th Disciple”. Indeed, how sobering that is! There were so many things you said that I could list here that spoke to my heart in a new and profound way.
But I think your closing thoughts sum up best the take home message of the whole post,
“I think if I am to keep in mind that I am the thirteenth disciple, I start with listening for His words to me each day to hear where “come with me” takes me.”
Thank you so much for sharing such an edifying post.
Thanks for your encouraging affirmation! I always enjoy hearing from you, Karen. Blessings on your day!
I am the 13th, parked in #73 at Holly’s today. I love when we’re neighbors – I just love your online home – it is so welcoming and I want to sit at that table…
Thanks! I always enjoy being next to you as well! Have not gotten back to check my neighbors’ posts yet today, but will be looking forward to their thoughts and reflections.
Not only was this beautifully written, but those pictures sure stir up a lot of emotion. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you find that picture of the Jordan river? It’s a picture I’d love to print and have on the wall to remind me of this principle. The idea of being the 13th disciple not only makes me want to do better, but it also helps me to remember the good I do already. I needed this today. Thank you.
Hi Leah! I found it online and to be honest, I am not sure where. You might trying Googling “pics of Jordan River” and see if you locate it. If I discover where I found it, I will be back in touch. Thanks for your affirmation.
I do absolutely love this! “New stories are being added to His glory and for His honor. They are our stories, our pieces of His story. ” How privileged we are to be included for participation in the rest of the story. Thanks for sharing this, Pam. It gives us all more purpose in our day.
Thanks, Lisa!! It can be easy to miss this truth or forget it if we did know.
So convicting. What I read in the NT is a totally-focused discipleship-oriented lifestyle that led to a kingdom-orientation beyond anything I ever do now.
I catch myself trying to back into that . . . when the early church knew the way: love Jesus first.