Jesus and the Clique?

by Brenda on

I brought my 2 oldest boys to a coffee shop with Bibles today. We sat with our drinks and quietly sifted through Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and other New Testament books. Our mission? We were trying to figure out: was Jesus + His 12 Disciples a clique? I didn’t think so, of course, but I wanted to dig into the Word and think about this deeply with my boys.

A clique. a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them. Was Jesus the leader of a clique?

Here’s the deal…There were lots of large crowds who followed Jesus. Luke 6:17, Matthew 4:25, Mark 3:7, etc., etc.

He asked 12 particular men to leave everything and follow Him. We don’t have accounts of Him asking others & them refusing–or of others who wished they could be a disciple. Mark 3:13

He gave the 12 the power and authority to drive out demons and cure diseases and called them apostles. Luke 9:1 I wonder if anyone felt left out at this point? If #13 who didn’t get chosen was thinking, “but hey, I knew Jesus before ___ did. Why did He pick them?” Or “Hey, I trust Jesus more than ___ does. Why did He pick them?” We don’t have accounts of this. I’m just wondering, based on my own human experiences. ;)

Luke 9:23 Maybe He chose these particular 12 guys because they were the only ones to deny themselves and take up the cross daily?

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

In Matthew 9:37 he said “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” So maybe this is the case? Maybe the people willing to deny themselves and take up the cross really were boiled down to 12 guys? (Side note, from now on, “FEW” means 12 to me, ok? ;) ).

Jesus hung out with crowds. Jesus hung with his 12 buddies (that’s actually a big group of friends), and Jesus even called out only 3 of those buddies to pray with Him (Luke 9:28). Did the other guys wonder; “why not me? Why didn’t he call me out to pray with Him?”

Jesus hung out with crowds, hung out with 12 buddies, prayed with 3, and also spent time praying alone. Mark 1:35

Mark 8…Jesus fed FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE! Now, that’s an inclusive feast! I try to plan Birthday parties to not exclude any of my kids’ friends, and they feel big, but big is like 10 to 15 kids, when it comes to a Birthday party. I tried to plan our wedding to not exclude *anyone* in our life–we had around 400 people there. But Jesus? He invited 4,000 people to eat with him. Sweeet! I can just see it, at Spaghetti Factory; “yes, I’ll take a table for 4,000.” ;)

Luke 19, Jesus went to hang out with a guy named Zacheaus, and the crowd grumbled, because he was eating in the home of a tax collector (a sinner).

John 4:27 The disciples were surprised to find Him talking to a Samaritan woman.

Here’s what we decided:

Jesus was inclusive and let large crowds hang around Him. He also chose 12 guys to hang with on a regular basis. This is practical (if we’re following His example), because on a regular basis, how many more than 12 can we really fit around our dining room table? He also chose 3 out of that 12 to pray with, and that’s practical too–prayers with 12 can take longer, and not be as focused and are easier to get off track. 3 people can be purposeful and pray specifically together. I have no doubt, knowing humans, that some of the 9 disciples who were not a part of that prayer group were feeling excluded. (This is my Biblical interpretation, no Scripture to back it up).

Jesus, multiple times, wanted to share His wisdom, His power, His healing, His conversation with “outsiders,” and multiple times, the disciples had some attitude about it, like (current translation, lol): “Dude, why are you hanging with them? Let’s be groupies and not add these people, k?” Still, when it came to the end of the day, the 12 He hung with the most remained the same. It’s not like His group was expanding. Or was it?

Luke 10: Jesus sent out 72! He didn’t invite the 72 to come hang with Him like the 12 were hanging with Him. But they were still groupies, in a way–worthy of the calling of the Son of God, to go make more disciples…Actually, the word FEW might mean 72…I’ll take a few pieces of chocolate now. ;)

So here’s what I gather, for my life, for today….

It’s ok to have close friends.

It’s ok to have a subset of those close friends to gather with periodically.

It’s important to be loving, conversational, and giving to those who are not in my group of close friends. I need to see their needs, too.

So, if Jesus had a tradition that on a particular date every year He had dinner with a group of 12, would He invite others in to that meal? I think He would, sometimes. I think sometimes He’d invite the whole neighborhood or town full of people. I think sometimes He’d stick to the 12. I think sometimes He’d pull out 3 to hang with. And I think that sometimes He’d see a guy off to the side, who really needs a companion, and He’d invite Him to the meal, too, or He might leave His groupies for a bit and go to that guy’s campfire for s’mores.

I guess what I’m saying is, the gatherings with a small group of friends aren’t wrong, inherently. I think always sticking to a small group and not noticing the Zacheaus’s in our life would be wrong. The Zacheaus’s are the ones who might be a little different from our typical friends, but who really need a chance to hang out with us. They might not be our new BFF. Or they might be, who knows…We might expand our circle of 12 to 72 + 12. But the point is, we need to notice them, wherever they are–up in a tree–off to the side–sitting alone….We need to notice them. We all need fellowship with each other, and if we’re only seeking our own fellowship and not noticing others who need it, I think we miss something big. I am not saying we should all have such a large collection of besties that we need to rent a banquet room to host them….but we do need to see others, reach out, and make an effort in their life….like Jesus did.

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