Think about it, either Jesus knew what he was doing in picking his disciples, or within three years after he died he thought that they were total failures and he needed to bring in the “A-Team,” Saul of Tarsus, the man that was soon to become the Apostle, Paul. And, Paul, as one of Christianity's most celebrated converts, may have needed more than faith and fervor to convince the other apostles to accept his vision of Christian ministry, he might have needed… a bribe!
IF GOD AND JESUS ARE ONE—GOD DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING!
Jesus picked his twelve disciples. If Jesus and God were One, then he must have known that the disciples that he picked were going to fail as emissaries to the world. Why pick them in the first place? Paul was alive when Jesus was teaching, why not pick Paul three years earlier than he did, before he was crucified?
The twelve disciples were an ignorant bunch. They had trouble understanding his lessons and teachings, even when he gave them special tutoring. They couldn’t read or write, so they couldn’t take notes on what Jesus said or did, which meant that we had to wait forty years after he died, as the stories were handed down by word-of-mouth, before we got the first Gospel written down (Mark). And, they weren’t that great at going out two-by-two during Jesus’ life, performing miracles and testifying. Jesus tried that path for them and they failed miserably. So, are we to assume that Jesus couldn’t see into the future?
Sure he could, you say. He picked the Jewish disciples to get the first Jerusalem church going, and then he picked Saul of Tarsus (Paul) to move it out into the Greco-Roman world. Well, someone should have told the Peter, James, and the rest of the gang that, because they didn’t believe that Paul was giving the world the correct message. They followed him everywhere he went and tried to undermine him. Why didn’t Jesus before he died just say, “Listen guys, I want you to minister to our people, and I’m going to bring this guy named Saul along in a few years to go out among the Gentiles. I want you to work with him, OK?” It would have made things so much easier for Paul too, because he got so angry that he wanted the emissaries from the home church to have their privates cut off (those are his sentiments not mine!).
As it was, it looks like Paul had to “bribe” his way into the good graces of Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem—twice—at least that is what the author of Paul; A Polite Bribe, Robert Orlando thinks. Listen to this two-part interview that I had with him (below) and make up your own mind. Comment back, and let’s see what your thoughts are. I’ll respond back on what I think, and we can get a conversation going. This should be interesting.