Just like there are different kinds of people, there are different kinds of disciples. (For purposes of this post, I’m using the term “disciple” to refer to people who follow Jesus.)
Consider three different disciples who followed Jesus: Peter, Thomas, and Phillip.
We’ll start with Peter. Peter is always jumping in head first. He acts without thinking. He’s extremely zealous, and because he’s impulsive by nature he makes lots of mistakes.
Peter likes action. He’s the guy (or gal) who thinks, Wow, walking on water looks pretty cool, I think I’ll give it a try. But then he gets in over his head, loses sight of Jesus, and falls in. At least none of us would accuse Peter of standing still.
Thomas, on the other hand, is slow to act. You have to push Thomas into the water. He doesn’t like to get wet.
In addition, Thomas has to see it to believe it. And even when he sees it, it’s still so hard to believe. Thomas is thoughtful and deliberate. He’s not going to drink the Kool-Aid without reading the ingredients and doing some research. Yet when Thomas is convinced, you know it’s for real.
Finally, Phillip has a completely different style all together. Phillip isn’t afraid to experience his faith. He longs to be in the middle of spiritual activity, and he tends to bring others along on his journey. For Phillip, faith is relational. He’s not afraid to jump in the water, but he might just take you with him.
Most of us are some combination of Peter, Thomas, or Phillip. When I first heard it explained this way, I thought, Which disciple am I? Then I thought about my closest family and friends and thought, Which disciple are they? Then I immediately thought, Which disciple is the best?
I started to miss the point.
Peter, Thomas, and Phillip all approached Jesus with unique backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. Yes, we can learn from them. But thank God they’re different.
Do any of them sound familiar?
So, which disciple are you?