My wife and I were talking the other day about how to make the Bible more relatable to teenagers. The go-to Characters seem to be Joseph, David, and Timothy. These three started out their journey with God early in their teen years. But after awhile, these stories tend to lose their novelty and their impact.
Then we got to thinking, what about the apostles? Most of our lives, we have viewed Jesus and his apostles like this:
Not only are they white (??), but they’re all old. Two even have gray beards!
But really, how old would the first disciples have been? Probably between 17-25. Barely old enough to have beards, much less gray ones!
Peter and Matthew were probably the oldest, given that Peter was married and Matthew was an established tax collector. But the others were probably not much older than high school seniors when Jesus called them. Jesus himself was only about 30. Why would he go calling disciples as old or older than he was?
Even Paul was probably not much older than 25 when he was called.
Granted, a 17 year old in 1st century Palestine was not exactly the same as a 17 year old in 21st century suburbia. But the simple realization that many of the disciples and many of Jesus’ friends (Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and others) would have been in their late teens or early twenties makes the story of Jesus that much more accessible.
Yes, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” But he also called teenagers and young adults.