But twelve men are commonly named as the disciples of the Master, of whose calling and fellowship we are given some detailed account. It is recorded that he sent out those twelve, and "other seventy also," who, with the addition of Joseph of Arimathea, known as "a disciple of Jesus, but secretly," and possibly of Nicodemus, who sought Jesus by night, and the two men, Joseph the Just and Matthias, between whom choice was made to fill the place forfeited by Judas, complete the list of those named in the sacred narrative as immediate followers of Jesus. By inference we may include part at least of the Pentecostal company, and of the five hundred brethren to whom the Master appeared. Even this is a somewhat insignificant following for that wondrous Teacher who spake as never man spake, and to whose students had been vouchsafed such signal instances of divine power as enabled them to emulate in some degree the example of their Master.

After the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus, we find plentiful evidence that this term was no longer limited to those who had been closely associated with him. In the book of Acts are numerous references to disciples among persons who manifestly were not followers of Jesus when he walked the hills and vales of Palestine. Notable among these is Saul, or Paul, as he is better known, whose bitter prejudice was so marked that even after his marvelous conversion, when he humbly essayed to join himself to the disciples, they were afraid to receive him, not believing him to be sincere, and whose probation, had it not been for the timely intervention of Barnabas, might have been indefinitely prolonged. We are told that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch, and it is improbable that the band in that city was composed of those personally instructed by the Master.

February 20, 1909

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