If we are to become like Jesus there are 12 characteristics we need to develop. The characteristics are found in the nature of the 12 disciples. We could say that the perfection of the 12 make the 13th. Each week during 2005 I wrote about the 12 disciples, unlocking their qualities and showing how we can develop these ourselves. Disciple in Greek is mathetes, meaning a learner, and it indicates thinking that is accompanied by endeavour. Most thinking today is not accompanied by endeavour. In fact many people are very lazy with their thinking which is why they never fully understand this world – or themselves.
Over the next few blogs we can have a look at the nature of the 12 disciples who followed Jesus. We can observe these qualities in ourselves throughout the day to see how they work in our consciousness.
Andrew: In the Gospel of St John references to Andrew reveal that he works away in the background, he is a companion. Andrew represents strength of mind and humility; therefore these two faculties must always be our companions. Andrew is from Bethsaida, a fishing town. Fish represent our thoughts, our ideas, our concepts, and so Andrew comes from a place where ideas and concepts are caught.
Simon Peter: Simon means hearing and Peter means faith. He captures the essence of our ability to hear and see beyond the physical sounds and images that meet our senses. The Simon nature becomes active when we deeply contemplate something and a new understanding seems to speak to us from within us like an inner voice. This is the true nature of inspiration; we hear the new idea. The Peter nature means that our faith becomes knowing, not blind faith. We are able to confirm our inspirations again and again in our contemplations.
Phillip: The name Philip means lover of horses just as the word philosopher means lover of wisdom. Philip speaks to us about inner power, courage and an ability to weigh things up. Philip is the challenge within us to use our mind purely intellectually or to allow in a spiritual element that doesn’t rely so much on physical proof but can certainly be tested over and over again in our thinking.
When I use the term spiritual I do not mean something airy-fairy. By spiritual I mean something that can’t be physically touched, for example, love is spiritual, a hug is physical. This points to a notion that behind everything physically present in this world is something spiritual. If we look for the spiritual component behind all that is physical in our lives a whole new world can arise.