It’s often difficult to picture people from the age before cameras laughing, crying, or generally showing any emotion at all, especially considering that first real photographs of people tended to look like this:
But nevertheless, just like the world wasn’t actually in black and white before color TV, people who lived before the age of the photograph and semi-realistic art did indeed have emotions. Heck, I’ll bet they weren’t much different than you and me, and pondering that reality can be a pretty cool thing.
Because reflecting, for example, on the fact that the 12 Apostles were real guys who lived lives remarkably similar to ours — things like learning to walk, growing up with weird family members, having insecurities, not being perfect, or earning a living — can help us relate to what they went through as followers of Christ, and can thus give us some key inspiration in our own walk with the Lord.
So, since there’s (for some reason) a shortage of animated photographs of the Apostles themselves, I found some suitable alternatives, along with Scripture for context, below:
1) St. Peter, freaking out a bit, after seeing Elijah and Moses chatting it up with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. (Mark 9:2-6)
2) The disciples, a little incredulous when Jesus wanted them to feed the 5,000.
When [Jesus] disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” (Mark 6:34-37)
3) St. Paul, when he heard about all the crazy, debaucherous things the Corinthians were doing.
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
4) James and John, earning their nickname the “Sons of Thunder”, when a Samaritan village turned Jesus away.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” (Luke 9:52-54)
(If you’re wondering, here was Jesus’ answer…)
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Luke 9:55-56)
5) Each apostle, fighting over the title of “Best Disciple.”
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. (Luke 9:46) Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:47-48)
6) James, John, Peter & Andrew, reacting to Jesus asking them to be disciples.
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him. (Mark 1:16-20)
7) (My personal favorite) St. Peter, in a boat, realizing it’s Jesus who’s on the beach waiting for them.
“When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.” (John 21:4;7)
Next time you’re sitting in Church or reading your Bible, pay attention to the humanity of the individuals you’re hearing about, especially the Apostles. These were real men with real human imperfection who were made new by their faith and by following Christ. If we choose, we can make ourselves new in the same way.
[See also: 11 of the Best #ThingsJesusNeverSaid]
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