The apostles had just returned from their amazing ministry journey. They had preached the Kingdom of God and healed the sick. Their efforts had clearly been effective, because the reports of the events had made it all the way to Herod's palace.
Undoubtedly, they were full of enthusiasm when they returned to Jesus, eager to tell Him everything, and He took the time to listen to it all. He had three short years to accomplish His mission, and yet He took time out from His own schedule of preaching and healing to listen to his apostles-in-training tell about the work they had done.
Had we been a part of the creation of the universe, had we hung the stars in the sky, we might have just smiled at their enthusiasm and continued on our way. Not Jesus. He allowed the twelve to give Him an accounting of all they had done in His name. It was only after the accounting of their journey that they moved on to the next task.
He was training them, and not only to preach and heal the sick. Our Good Shepherd was training them to shepherd those who would come after them, and He led by example. The effectiveness of His leadership can be seen in Peter's words, written years later.
"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, ... shepherd the flock of God among you ... with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory ...and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another... "(1 Peter 5:1-5 NASB)
How about that? Jesus was training these men to be humble, enthusiastic shepherds. There would be some struggles along the way, but, in the end, that is exactly what they became. Oh, what a difference we could make in our world if we learned from Jesus and treated others the way He treats us! If we were as patient, as gentle, as humble as the Son of God was with these twelve men, we could impact the world for Christ in a mighty way.
Today, let us look at the kindness God has shown toward us and compare it to the way we respond to those He has entrusted to us. Do we treat others the way Christ treats us? If not, let us ask our Lord to fill us with His grace, His patience, and His kindness. May we "clothe ourselves with humility" and be the kind of example others want to follow.