Hiding Behind Closed Doors

On the Sunday before Pentecost  we remember that the disciples were all locked away, scared and wondering how their future life would pan out, but have you ever considered actually how old those disciples were? We looked at this question, which we have no answer for, but it proved quite interesting to think about.

We are not told how old the disciples were when they started following Jesus, but there is some evidence that some could well have been quite young. Perhaps 15 or even younger.

In Jesus time young boys would be educated from the age of 5 and would only continue in further education at 15 if they were rich enough or an outstanding scholar. Young men in this category would then continue under a rabbi until they were 30, when they themselves would take on the role of a rabbi.

At 15 all the remaining boys would be apprenticed to a trade. Jesus chose his disciples from those the rabbis had rejected as they were neither rich enough or thought to be outstandingly bright, but we do not know at what stage he chose them. Some were brothers and had varied ages, but some could have been chosen by Jesus at the age of 15 when he became their rabbi.

Barbara said “My thinking about how old the disciples were started after reading Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis and when I started to look on the internet I discovered there was lots of discussion about it there.”

Here are some further things to consider from biblical sources:

  • Most men would marry at 18 we know of only Peter who was married.
  •  The Temple Tax  – This is based upon a tax from Exodus 30 v 14 – “All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord”.  There is a story in Matthew 17:22 – 27 where Peter is asked about paying the Temple Tax. At the end of the story the tax is paid only by Peter and Jesus. Were they the only ones over 20?
  • In John 13:33 Jesus refers to his disciples as “my children”. Isn’t this a bit demeaning to say to mature men?
  • Also when you consider how long John survived after Jesus death could he have been a really young disciple of Jesus? Does this put a different complexion on the understanding of Jesus words on the cross to John and his mother in John 19: 26 – 27
  • It also might explain why John is described as the disciple who he loved.  A special care for a younger member of his followers.

If the disciples were so young – it puts a different complexion on them hiding away behind closed doors, without their teacher and leader and life mentor.

And,  what happens after Pentecost was even more remarkable!



Waiting, Waited,

Flame Breather, Life Teaser,
Sweet Essence, Hard Presence,
Pulsing Blood, Sweeping Flood
Storm Force, Water Source,
Deepest Kiss, Draining Bliss,
Motivator, Love Creator,
Hearts Gripped, Conventions Ripped,
Fire Poured, Winds Roar,

Whisper, Whisper,

Life Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit.

Jonny Baker worship trick 89

We used a parachute to show the movement and emotion of the poem and then blessed each other while standing under the parachute with the words;

(name)        Shalom, Life Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit

Prayer – We prayed for those who feel locked away and frightened, either facing persecution or because of circumstances in their lives using a prayer from St Hilda Community;

..be silent
be still
alone empty
before your god
say nothing
ask nothing
be silent
be still
let your god
look upon you
that is all
she knows
she understands
she loves you with
an enormous love
she only wants to
look upon you
with her love



Sharing Bread and wine.

To a world dry and thirsty

God has poured out Living Water;

To a world weary and breathless

God has stirred a mighty wind;

To a world cold and dark

God has ignited the flame of the Spirit;

Let us worship the Lord for the Spirit has come

– hallelujah!


Jesus, on the night before his death,

gathered his friends for a meal.

During supper, He took a loaf of bread,

and gave thanks for it.

Then he broke it

and passed it among them

with these words:

This is my body

which is broken for you.

Take, eat and remember me.

(share bread)


After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine

and gave thanks for it.

Then He passed it among his friends

with these words:

This is my blood

which is shed for you.

Take, drink and remember me.

(share wine)


Jesus, we thank you

For this bread and wine of remembrance;

And for coming to us,

Through your Holy Spirit. Amen.


Closing Prayer.

May the love we find in this community

make us peacemakers and justice-seekers;

and may the Spirit who fills us again

lead us to be those who proclaim God’s Kingdom

in every word we speak

and in everything we do.



A Communion Liturgy for Pentecost

©John van de Laar