It often strikes me that Joshua began his ministry with nothing. He had no resources, no followers; he had not written any books or gone to the centers of higher learning and worked his way up the professorial ladder in order to gain recognition and acceptance by the people.
He simple walked out one day and gathered disciples by the simple command to follow me. The charisma and personal strength of character of Joshua cannot be overstated. He drew people to him like bees to honey. That a group of rugged, common fishermen would drop everything and follow after a complete stranger who they just met on the beach is remarkable.
And Joshua chose these men not because they were intellectual giants or sophisticated men of the world. He chose them because they were brave and loyal men who could handle the testing and sifting which would soon come.
At the height of his ministry, he must have had a camp of over 300 disciples. When he sent out the seventy, one must recognize that they all lived and worked and taught together in a mobile community. Joshua and his disciples lived a nomadic life which meant sleeping in tents out in the open and cooking over a fire and doing all the things campers do.
Considering that many of the apostles had wives and children, the apostolic corp alone must have totaled between 30-50 people. They would have donkeys and other livestock to cart their tents and clothes and belongings around. And probably chickens and goats to supplement their diet with fresh eggs and milk.
Then we can just imagine the training of the seventy evangelists. Plus the women’s group of leaders such as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, Martha and others. Not to mention the scores of people who followed the entourage wherever they went.
The financial resources needed to feed, clothe and maintain such a large group of people for over three years was obviously quite high. If Joshua were alive today and he had conducted his ministry in today’s modern world, his budget would no doubt have run into the millions of dollars. The fact that all of his finances were donated shows the level of support that people had for him.
They lived a nomadic life, moving from town to town, preaching and teaching the gospel of the Kingdom wherever they went, healing the sick, delivering those in bondage from fear and sin, casting out devils and doing good.
The foxes have holes, the birds have nest, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
The rugged lifestyle of the apostles must have made quite an impression on the young men of the day – witnessing the rough and ready fishermen preaching this radically new gospel, bravely facing persecution and the threat of death must have gripped the imagination of restless youth everywhere they went.