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In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul advised the early Christians to put on the armour of God. With vivid metaphors, he urged them to wear the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. In this description, one can see an obvious cut-and-paste exercise for a Sunday school class. Yet as important as the religious education of children is, Paul is here giving deadly serious advice for mature disciples (6.13-17).
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According to the Gospels, Jesus invited his disciples to "come, follow me" without any explanation of who he was or what they would gain by doing so. Amazingly, they accepted the invitation. The Twelve spent an extended period of time with Jesus - anywhere from one to three years - having left their families and jobs behind. They got to know him better than anyone. Even so, Jesus remained a puzzle to them.
Jesus chose the Twelve. This simple statement draws a sharp line between Jesus' closest followers and those who chose to follow other rabbis of his day. The men who were Jesus' closest associates showed not the slightest interest in following him until they were chosen and called. In Matthew's account of calling Andrew and Peter, Jesus sees them casting a net into the Sea of Galilee and says, "'Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.' Immediately they left their nets and followed him" (4.19-20).