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Study to Grow

By Doug Bell

Matthew 17:1

“1 ¶ Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves.”


This verse starts the narrative of Jesus and His transfiguration. But, I want to talk about the three fishermen that He took with Him; Peter, James, and John.

Why always these Three and none of the other nine? Some of the commentaries seem to think that Jesus had divided the twelve into three groups of four. And that Peter, James, and John we're the leaders of these three groups. Whatever the reason, we find them alone with Jesus time and time again.


For instance, In Mark 5:

35 “While He was still speaking, they *came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”

36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, *said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer,only believe.”

37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John, the brother of James”


Or Mark 9: (and our verses above) about the Transfiguration;

2 “Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them;”


And on the night before His crucifixion, In

Mark 14:

32 “They *came to a place named Gethsemane; and He *said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.”

33 And He *took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.

34 And He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”


Their reputation grew from here until by the time of Paul they were known to be of some Importance and Pillars of the church. We read in Galatians 2:

6 “But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.

7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel fnto the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been fnto the circumcised

8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),

9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

10 They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.”


And later he would even Call them Eminent or Super-Apostles;

2 Corinthians 11:

5 “Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.”

2 Corinthians 12:

11 “I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing.”


So you agree, but so what. You ask, ‘what are you trying to prove?’

Simply this. Jesus took three “ordinary” fishermen and made them into fishers-of-men. What made the difference in them? We read in Acts 4:

13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”


There are those who would tell you that God is looking for a few ‘Radicals’, people who are extraordinary, and bold to take the word of His kingdom to the world. But, this isn’t what I see in the Scriptures.

I see over and again that God uses the “ordinary” people. They may be uneducated and common. The difference is that “they had been with Jesus”. They spend time reading the Bible, they take the time to pray. The only prerequisite is that they love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. And God’s Worship is of utmost importance in their lives.

Our former Pastor Al Cobb used to tell us, “it’s not you abilities that God wants, but your availability.” At the time I didn’t understand how important those words were.

If God wants you to do something, He will equip you with everything you need to accomplish the task. He has promised to do this for us. Ephesians 3:

20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

You really have no excuse, if God can use Peter, James, and John (three ordinary, uneducated, lowly fishermen) to “turn the world upside down” He can use you, too!

You simply have to make yourself available.

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