After a few hours’ sleep, when the twelve were assembled for a late breakfast with Jesus, he said: “Now must you begin your work of preaching the glad tidings and instructing believers. Make ready to go to Jerusalem.” After Jesus had spoken, Thomas mustered up courage to say: “I know, Master, that we should now be ready to enter upon the work, but I fear we are not yet able to accomplish this great undertaking. Would you consent for us to stay hereabouts for just a few days more before we begin the work of the kingdom?” And when Jesus saw that all of his apostles were possessed by this same fear, he said: “It shall be as you have requested; we will remain here over the Sabbath day.”
For weeks and weeks small groups of earnest truth seekers, together with curious spectators, had been coming to Bethsaida to see Jesus. Already word about him had spread over the countryside; inquiring groups had come from cities as far away as Tyre, Sidon, Damascus, Caesarea, and Jerusalem. Heretofore, Jesus had greeted these people and taught them concerning the kingdom, but the Master now turned this work over to the twelve. Andrew would select one of the apostles and assign him to a group of visitors, and sometimes all twelve of them were so engaged.
For two days they worked, teaching by day and holding private conferences late into the night. On the third day Jesus visited with Zebedee and Salome while he sent his apostles off to “go fishing, seek carefree change, or perchance visit your families.” On Thursday they returned for three more days of teaching.
During this week of rehearsing, Jesus many times repeated to his apostles the two great motives of his postbaptismal mission on earth:
1. To reveal the Father to man.
2. To lead men to become son-conscious—to faith-realize that they are the children of the Most High.
One week of this varied experience did much for the twelve; some even became over self-confident. At the last conference, the night after the Sabbath, Peter and James came to Jesus, saying, “We are ready—let us now go forth to take the kingdom.” To which Jesus replied, “May your wisdom equal your zeal and your courage atone for your ignorance.”
Though the apostles failed to comprehend much of his teaching, they did not fail to grasp the significance of the charmingly beautiful life he lived with them.