Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 6, 2011

the twelve … and us

They were just like us – approachable, ordinary people with jobs, families … and faults.  There was not a scholar in the group.  No orator.  Not a single theologian to be found.  Not a rabbi in the bunch.  Some of them would have been considered, “outsiders.”  One was a former zealot who had actually plotted to overthrow the Roman government!  Another was the dreaded tax man.  Four of them, maybe as many as seven, were fishermen.  There were close friends in the group, relatives, and even brothers.  They were perfectly ordinary in every way … except one.  They changed the world after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  They were The Twelve, the disciples.

As their lives leap from the pages of Scripture, I challenge you to think about who these men were.  They are not just names on a page, but men who truly lived and worked, personally selected by Christ to become his apostles – “messengers, sent ones.”

I have often wondered, “Why Peter, so rough around the edges?”  “Why John, who was practically still a boy?”  “Why Matthew, who was despised as the tax collector?”  And perhaps most perplexing, “Why Judas, when Jesus already knew the end of that story?”  I will never understand in this life, but I do know that Jesus toiled in prayer for these men.  Scripture tells us that he went to a place alone, as was His habit, and prayed from 7 or 8 pm, through the night until 6 am for The Twelve.  Many mistakenly believe he was praying about whom to choose, but that had already been decided by the Father long before.  Jesus was praying for these men, for their protection against the forces of Satan and the challenges the rest of their lives would bring.

Luke 5:16
He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Luke 6:12
He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (for the disciples)

These twelve ordinary men were called to carry out four tasks in their earthly life:

  • They were called to salvation
  • They were called to minister with Jesus
  • They were called to become apostles, official representatives of Christ
  • They were called to martyrdom; Judas hung himself but 10 others were murdered.

These 12 simple men taught others, performed miracles and became the source, through God, of our church doctrine.  They were uneducated, humble men that God exalted for His glory.  After only 18 months of “training,” Christ transformed these men in such a way that they were able to spread the Gospel to every corner of the known world.

Hmmm, makes you wonder what He could possibly do with good old ordinary us?


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