Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/10/16 – 567 – Jesus Calls His First Disciples
We really don’t see individual stories of the rest of Jsus’ first disciples being called, other than this:
He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Now there are 3 extremely important things to be learned from this passage. Can you guess what they are? No? OK, I’ll tell you on Monday.
The first is that simple, innocuous opening phrase Z “He went up the mountain”. Why is this so important? Because we know what Jesus did in those times when he went up on a mountain to be alone. Those were not just times of prayer, but times of His most intense, personal prayer to God.
Jesus seemed to do this habitually whenever He faced a big decision or a very stressful situation. What’s more, he would stay and pray, apparently, until He was through – until the situation was settled in His heart. How important was the selection of the 12? These men (mostly teenagers at the time) were to be used by God to change the world – literally! Kind of important to get it right, don’t you think?
The second thing is mistake we often make. We talk about Jesus having 12 disciples. The reality is that He had many more than that – and still does today. These 12 men we’re studying now were disciples who were chosen by Jesus to become apostles, and speak speak in His name. The difference is huge. A disciple is a student, a learner. An apostle is a messenger or spokesperson.
The last thing is really a question – why would Jesus, knowing what would happen, choose Judas anyway? Isn’t that like the President putting a known Russian spy on his cabinet? I’ve often thought about this, and can actually think of 3 reasons that Jesus may have done it.
- Simple obedience: Just like when He was praying in the garden (Matt 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
- Fulfillment of the scripture (God’s plan) (Matt 26:53-54 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
- Hope. As a father, there were many times that I pretty much knew what my children were going to do in a given situation, yet I still hoped and prayed that they would not. I believe that it’s the same with our heavenly Father. He knows our hearts, and knows what w will probably do – but still has hope (and enough faith in us) that He keeps the door open for us to make the right choices.
Let’s make that our prayer today. What decisions are you faced with? How about a nice surprise for your Father – surprise Him by doing what He wants you to do instead of what you want to do?