And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 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 Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
(Matthew 10:1-4 ESV)
Jesus called His twelve disciples. They did not choose Him. He chose them. He had a very important task for them. They would become His students (which is what the word “disciple” means) and then, after He returned to heaven, they would be responsible to taking His message to the entire world.
In the business world whenever a leader has an important project he must select a group of people to help with it. The success of the project is highly dependent on the skills of the people chosen. But while business leaders primarily choose those who are experienced, Jesus took the opposite tack.
The men Jesus chose were just ordinary men with no special skills or social standing. They were by trade fishermen, tax collectors, etc. The only things they understood about God was what they had been taught by the Pharisees and scribes. But virtually all that information was wrong.
Nevertheless, Jesus entrusted the most important information in the world – how to have one’s sins forgiven and be in God’s presence forever (aka heaven) – to them. He sent these men forth (which is what the world “apostle” means) into the world do carry on His work.
On this occasion Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and affliction. Whenever God calls someone He equips them. He does not ask us to do anything in our own power because we can’t. Instead He imparts His own power to us just as Jesus did here. Jesus does not look for extraordinary people. He looks for ordinary people who want to do extraordinary things.
The men who comprised the original twelve is quite interesting. As in every such list Peter is mentioned first. He was the leader. There is anecdotal evidence in the Bible that the other eleven were teenagers. The group also contained people you would never expect to see working together. This was no accident. Jesus prayed for an entire day before calling the twelve [Luke 6:12-13]. These men were the exact men that God wanted Jesus to mentor.
For example, Simon was a Zealot. The Zealots were a specific group of Jews who vehemently opposed Rome. They recognized only God as their ruler and refused to comply with Roman law. They also despised any Jew who corroborated with Rome even in the slightest way. This means, of course, that Simon and Matthew the tax collector were at the extreme opposite ends of the social spectrum. To say that these men would not have liked each other is an understatement.
But Jesus brought them together. It is only under the umbrella of Christ that people can live together peacefully. There is no other way. Try as the world might neither the United Nations or “coexist” bumper stickers can create peace on this planet. Only Jesus can do that.
As the saying goes: “Know Jesus, Know Peace. No Jesus, No Peace”.
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