The disciples of Jesus were just like us. They had a propensity to get into arguments about who was the greatest and most informed among them. The disciples were all over the place when it came to interpreting reality. The only thing that eventually drew them together was a personal encounter with the resurrected Lord.
As I look across the landscape of the Church, I see a lot of camps. There are political camps, worship camps, theology camps, and personal preference camps. The problem with these camps is the sad fact that they immobilize the Church and cause us to pound our tent pegs deeper into the soil of our opinion instead of moving forward together and experiencing real freedom.
Peter wrote in his second epistle that he and the other disciples did not come together around their personal opinions. They came together because of their personal encounters with Jesus. Peter cited the experience that took place on the Mount of Transfiguration as an example where they all heard the Father speak saying, “This is My beloved Son, who brings great joy.” Peter went on to say, “Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets” (II Peter 1:19).
A significant shift in attitudes among the disciples occurred after the appearance of Jesus in John 20 where the Lord breathed the Spirit into all present. That experience was followed by a display of power on the Day of Pentecost. Then for the next 40 days following His crucifixion, Jesus gave instructions to His apostles. It was all about encountering The Presence.
When Jesus appeared and was encountered by the disciples, all the personal preferences, individual interpretations of reality, and demands placed on other believers took second place to The Presence. When they encountered the supernatural presence of God what had caused them to pound the tent pegs of their opinions deeper into the soil of their narrow interpretation of reality was discarded.
When believers have truly encountered the risen Lord, they become willing to pull up their tent pegs of opinion and break camp. A personal encounter with Jesus is the only experience that has the power to bring us together and move us forward into the future God has planned. No other solution can offer us that kind of transformation. Anything less is a waste of our time and resources.