Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter, and James, and John, and led them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and He was transfigured before them.
It is significant that of the twelve disciples Jesus only takes Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. From the scripture it appears that these three men had a closer relationship with the Lord than the others. Since the Lord is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11), it is obvious that the difference lies with Peter, James, and John. Their love for the Lord and their dedication to His will was greater than that of the other disciples.
All of the disciples had sacrificed their former way of life. Their dedication to walk with the Lord during the days of His ministry cannot be taken lightly. Yet there was something about Peter, James, and John that drew them even closer to the Master.
After Jesus ministered the Passover Supper to His disciples, He went into the garden of Gethsemane to pray. And, once again, we find Peter, James, and John a little closer to the Lord. And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He said to His disciples, Sit here, while I shall pray. And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and said unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry here, and watch. Mark 14:32-34.
It would not be accurate to equate the twelve disciples with all Christians, because all Christians do not become disciples. The dedication of most Christians does not reach the discipleship level. Yet, Peter, James, and John excelled even that. For this reason they are often called “the inner circle.”
It is also interesting to note that among the inner circle was one that was even closer to Jesus Christ than the other two. Of all the disciples none reached the level of relationship that the apostle John had with Jesus. It was John, while on the Isle of Patmos, who received and recorded the great plan of God in the Book of Revelation. It was John who was spoken of in his gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and who “leaned on the bosom of Jesus” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20). It was also John that Jesus entrusted His mother to while on the cross (John 19:25-27).
The number twelve is a governmental number. It signifies the divine government of the Lord. Therefore, the twelve disciples represent those who are under the government or Lordship of Jesus Christ. The inner circle (Peter, James, and John) represents a remnant within them. And the apostle John represents a remnant within the remnant.
Jesus draws a similar picture in His parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-8,18-23). Among the “good-ground hearers” who receive the Seed-Word of the Kingdom, some bear fruit a hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty (Matthew 13:23). The thirty-fold Christians correspond to the twelve disciples, the sixty-fold to the inner circle, and the hundred-fold to John.
Revelation 10:11 And He said unto me (John), Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Since John represents a John-company (the hundred-fold group), it is obvious that this prophecy, declaring that John will again prophesy before many peoples and nations, will be fulfilled by this John-company in the days of the establishment of the Kingdom of God. What we must understand is that the Lord is now forming His John-company. And the door is open for us to be numbered among this remnant, which can also be called “the disciple who Jesus loved” or “the one who leaned on the bosom of Jesus.” These are the ones that will carry out the Great Commission.
Before Jesus ascended He told His disciples, “All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). With all the missionary efforts of the past, this commission still hasn’t been accomplished. However, it will be accomplished by the John-company. It only remains for us to take the initiative; otherwise, it will remain for another generation.
I mentioned earlier that Jesus, while on the cross, entrusted His mother to the apostle John (John 19:25-27). This has prophetic significance, for the mother of Jesus represents those who bring forth Christ in the earth. And this function, or ministry, is entrusted to the John-company (John 19:25-27). Can we accomplish this ministry? Can we make disciples of the nations? Yes, we can! because Jesus has all authority in heaven and in earth. Our job then is to “lean upon His bosom.” That is the submission that will release His authority upon us so we can accomplish His will.
Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose