Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)
Twelve Unlikely Men
Two sets of brothers, a tax collector, zealot and common people of little pedigree will make up the inner circle of the greatest kingdom the world has ever known. The King of Kings calls twelve men to be His ambassadors to the whole world. Their mission is simple: preach a gospel of controversy to a world that will kill ten of these men for what they believe. Jesus knows that someone will betray Him leading to His death on a Roman cross. He will have less than three years to teach, admonish, instruct and exhort this rag tag group of unlikely characters to change the world forever. There are many disciples that follow Jesus but He will only chose twelve.
The twelve apostles will be remarkable for how unremarkable they are. The Lord, with no regard to their political prowess or wealth, chooses them from what He knows of their hearts. Education will have little to do with their selection. Peter will show himself to be loud and impetuous, Thomas a deep thinker who listens carefully and John who develops a deep kinship with Jesus of Nazareth. All twelve men will have the power to heal diseases, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the saving message of God’s Son. They will go throughout the land in pairs spreading the gospel of Christ. In quiet moments, Jesus will explain deeper meanings of parables and sermons to them. The twelve will see Jesus walk on water but only Peter will venture to step out of the boat to mirror the steps of his Lord. Lazarus will come out of the grave after four days to the amazement of the twelve. Children will be set in their midst to remind them who is the greatest in the kingdom. The eleven will be crushed by the betrayal of one of their fellow apostles as they all forsake Jesus in the end. It will be a weekend of horrific sorrow as they come to grips with the sudden death of their Lord. The first day of the week will change their lives forever as their Lord lives again. Forty days later the eleven witness Jesus ascend to heaven and their work at Pentecost shortly thereafter turns the world upside down. Twelve men. One man. One world.
God uses unlikely people to carry out His work. He is not looking for the elite among men but the hearts among men that are devoted to His mission. Women like Mary, a maiden in Nazareth or Dorcas who loved to make garments for others. People with names like Phoebe, Priscilla, Aquila, Epaenetus, Andronicus, Junia, Amplias, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Herodion, Tryphena and Tryphosa and Rufus. Young men like Timothy. Scholars like Saul of Tarsus. People who are encouragers to others like Joses who is nicknamed Barnabas. Grandmothers like Lois and mothers like Eunice are people Jesus would chose. People. Ordinary people that love God. Like you.
There are remarkable things that you can do for the Lord. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a friend will change their eternal soul. Opening your home to study the Bible around the kitchen table is an unremarkable thing that may change the life of the one you invite. Handing a card with an invitation to study or attend a service of the church could change a whole family. Giving a neighbor a video, a tract or a Bible could help them learn about God. Twelve men were chosen to do the work of the Lord. Imagine what you can do!
The whole gospel story is a missionary story. (Emmanuel Suhard, The Church Today, 1953)