Of the twelve disciples, Jesus frequently spent time apart with a trio: Simon, James and John. The threesome was often chosen to go special places alone with their Teacher. They were also the only disciples given nicknames: Simon was tagged “Peter – The Rock” and the brother duo of James and John was labeled “Sons of Thunder”. I was always under the impression that those three disciples were Jesus’ favorites, but lately I’ve been wondering. Instead, what if they were the most unpredictable and mischievous and that’s why Jesus kept them close to him at all times? Perhaps Jesus took them with him up on the mountain because leaving them behind might have caused all kinds of trouble down below.
When my dear hubby was a little boy, his mother kept him very close to her side. At three years old, little Blake was already entertaining for large church groups, singing “Open Up Your Heart and Let the Son Shine In” and “I Love to Go to Sunday School”. But as soon as the last note was sung, mom whisked her little performer off the stage before he started in with all manner of shenanigans. PB* loved working a crowd, even as a toddler.
The story is told about one particular Sunday morning in the four-year old boy’s life. As his mom was watching from the choir loft and his dad was preaching from the pulpit, the little guy was up to no-good in the pew. He wasn’t being bad, just distracting the lovely Methodist folks during the sermon. So Rev. O stopped his message, had his youngest boy come up front, and sat him down on a folding chair facing the congregation until the closing prayer. An extreme measure, to be sure, and likely to cause intense psychological scarring to most children. Not so for our little man. Dad had hoped this would be a discipline that would end all horsing around during church forever. But PB looked out over that assembly and discovered a rapt audience. Now instead of a few pews of eyes watching him, he had the attention of the whole place and he was in his glory! It was the beginning of a long and successful ministry.
Isn’t it funny how the little ones that try us the most, often grow up to do great things? Is it because we held their hands a little tighter and kept them a little closer? Did that strong grip plant a sense of security in them? I think it did for Peter, James and John. And PB.
*PB – Pastor Blake, my dear hubby