Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2019
This chapter examines to what extent the personality and teaching of Jesus influenced his disciples to continue his cause post Easter. Jesus was a man of compassion and authority. In contrast to the prophet John, he was a healer, and a highly successful one. His championing of the ‘love command’, the second commandment, was a legacy inherited by the early church as evidenced by both Paul and James’ teaching. He is remembered for ministering to the marginalized, the less favoured in Judean society, which included the physically and mentally infirm, and the poor, and sat down at table with them. Jesus’ prayer life underpinned his mission. He encouraged his disciples to pray to God as their Father, just as he did, and with absolute trust. The Gospel portrayal of Jesus’ inner life is reinforced by the fact that both Acts and the canonical Epistle of James bear witness to his emphasis on prayer. Moreover, James demonstrates the reality, importance, and individuality of Jesus’ wisdom teaching, something to be treasured and emulated. Vitally, this teaching on wisdom and especially prayer primed the disciples for the resurrection appearances, and sustained them in the establishment of the early church.