And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out …” (Matthew 10:1-5)
His Twelve Disciples
Jesus had a mission. He knew the purpose of His work leads Him to a terrible death. On a number of occasions, the Lord will tell His disciples He is going to Jerusalem to be mocked, spit upon, beaten and killed. He also tells them He will rise from the dead. The challenge of His mission would be what happens after He returns to His Father. Jesus ministry is very short but the message of the gospel needs to be spread throughout the world and throughout the ages to come. How is that going to be accomplished with Jesus spending less than three years on the earth? He cannot remain to oversee the work. His Father did not plan on angels taking over the ministry. The future generations must hear the plan of salvation so that God’s grace is given to all men. What is the plan that ensures the continual growth of the gospel message? Enter twelve men.
Before time began, God had a design for the saving of man. Jesus promised to build His church and this would not be accomplished until the day of Pentecost when twelve men stood before a crowd of Jews preaching the resurrection of the Christ. It would be left in the hands of men that were fishermen, a tax collector, Jewish zealot and a bunch of unknowns. These are not men of stature in the world of the Jews or the Romans. Among the disciples of Jesus, these were men of regular cloth but these were the men of Jesus. They were chosen from all of the disciples to be His inner circle. Twelve men would receive special instructions and insight into the work of God’s Son. Their hearts would hear teachings none other would know. A few were granted more personal access to events in the life of Jesus.
The work of Jesus was exhaustive. Filling the shoes of an apostle would have felt the weariness and toil of trying to keep up with the Lord and His vibrant work. City after city heard the message of Jesus as days dragged on with travels to different regions of Judea and Samaria. The twelve were His special envoys granted incredible powers to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. On a few occasions, the Lord sent His twelve disciples out to teach the message of truth and godliness. Twelve men going throughout the countryside bringing people to salvation. A dozen devoted disciples that had a special place in the life of Jesus. They were called “His twelve disciples.”
There was camaraderie among the twelve that set them apart from the other disciples. Their bond was a close-knit group of men that would learn greater hardships after Jesus died. The sudden death of Jesus was unexplained at first but then they came to understand the greater role they had been groomed to accomplish. Along with the death of Jesus was the betrayal of one of the twelve – Judas. He was one of the twelve. Judas had shared in the preaching, miracle working and inner conversations with the Lord. He taught people about Jesus, healed all manner of sickness and disease. One of the twelve allowed Satan to fill his heart betraying his Lord for a penance of silver. Following the betrayal, Judas committed suicide. How tragic and sad. One of the twelve had been lost.
The twelve were the apostles of Jesus Christ. They were His chosen leaders to fulfill His work while He walked among men. Eleven men would later take the gospel to the whole world choosing Matthias to take the place of Judas. Today their work still speaks to all men. The writings of Peter, John and Matthew are still studied and read today. For nearly two thousand years, the work of twelve men resounds to every corner of the world. It seems incredible that so much has been accomplished through the workings of twelve men. Every saint alive today enjoys the blessings of God’s wonderful grace because of the vigilant work of twelve men; who through the power of the Holy Spirit took the gospel of Christ to all men.
If twelve men can turn the world upside down, what is hindering me from showing the light of Jesus Christ in the world I live in? They did not have the conveniences of our modern world or the advanced technology allowing man to reach out to the four corners of the world. The Bible is available in every form known to man including the printed page in every language of the world. My friends and neighbors need to hear the message of Jesus Christ. Twelve men knew what to do. They were the disciples of Jesus Christ. The Lord sent them out to heal all manner of disease and teach the message of hope. Our work today must reflect the spirit of the twelve who went out to do the work of the Lord. Healing hearts afflicted with sin is the miracle of God’s grace. Let us rise up and build the walls of salvation as did the twelve. Let us be called “His disciples” and carry out His message of mercy to a lost and dying world.