Luke 6: 12 – 19 NLT
“One day soon afterwards Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:
14 Simon (whom he named Peter),
Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Alphaeus),
Simon (who was called the zealot),
16 Judas (son of James),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil[b] spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.
Jesus had been followed by thousands of people in these early days of his ministry. But now, he is going to choose 12 men in whom he will invest his time and energy to disciple – or what we often call mentoring today. These are the men who will continue to spread God’s message of love and grace to the world when Jesus returns to heaven. There is one detail I find fascinating and humbling at the beginning of these verses:
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.” (v. 12 – 13) Jesus prayed all night before he chose those 12 men. Jesus is human, but he is also God. In his life on earth, he could do things no other person could do or has ever done. Yet, before making that decision in naming the 12 disciples, he prayed all night.
How much do I pray before making decisions? How close do I get to God to discern what he wants me to do? How much of my life is aligned with what God wants?
Then Jesus chooses 12 ordinary men. We know Peter was a rather impetuous kind of person – rushing to do things before thinking them through. James and John, fishermen, were named by Jesus as the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3: 17) so they likely were outspoken men. We know Matthew (Levi from chapter 5) was a tax collector, one of the despised folks of that day. We know that Thomas was later referred to as a doubter, and he was the one who questioned Jesus’ resurrection. Simon, the zealot, was a political guy, one who was all for Israel’s independence from Rome. These were not men known as the leading scholars, important business men, or religious leaders of their day. Yet they were chosen to be the leaders of this new about-to-be church.
In our culture, we look up to people who are successful – people who lead in business, sports’ stars, successful actors and musicians. We want to hear from scientists and medical people who are at the top of their game. Success – that’s the banner in 2021. Yet Jesus chose his disciples from ordinary people.
Do you ever feel that God has specially chosen you? Or do you feel like you are just an ordinary, unknown Christ follower? Do you think you are not the smartest or most successful person you know? Way too many others are better than you? The Apostle Paul knew what that felt like as he talked about a physical problem that he had to deal with: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9 – 10)
Just like Jesus chose those 12 ordinary men, God knows you. He knows how you can influence the people who are around you. Don’t be afraid to get involved in various areas of church life. Don’t be afraid to lead or host a small group for Bible study in your home. Don’t be afraid to invite a neighbour to church with you when churches finally are open again. Don’t be afraid to tell a co-worker you’ll pray for them when you hear about their problems. Don’t leave sharing faith to the “successful preachers”. God chooses ordinary people. God chose you to make a difference in your world.
Our song for today is Only Jesus by Casting Crowns.