SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
The Twelve Apostles
“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.
Memory Verse Matthew 22:14 (NLT):
“FOR MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN.”
In this edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we want to think about how Jesus chose twelve men to be in his inner circle.
Jesus started his ministry immediately after his temptation in the desert. He started preaching, teaching, healing and exorcising evil spirits. Because of his great ministry, many people followed him. He also called some to follow him. Many came to him for different reasons. Some followed him because of the miracles they saw him perform; some because of his teaching and others because of the food he provided for them when they were hungry.
A time came when Jesus had to choose twelve out of the many disciples (followers) to become his apostles (messengers). Not all those who followed him were worthy to be his apostles so he had to choose only those who qualified to be with him always. It is the same with all those who follow Jesus in our day.
There are many Christians throughout the world but like Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, not everyone who calls out to him will enter the Kingdom of heaven. Some may do several things to show they are Christians but in the end the Master may not find them worthy of following him. It is therefore important for us to examine ourselves to see whether we are fit to be part of the divine selection. It is also important to ask for his grace to be selected because it is not based on what we have done or can do; it is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
When the time came for Jesus to select twelve apostles, he prayed fervently. He knew the people he was going to choose were those going to carry his mantle later. He knew they were the ones going to carry the gospel to all parts of the world. He knew they were those who were going to ensure that the church would remain forever. Therefore he had to choose carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully.
Jesus went up on the mountain (a solitary place) and prayed to God. He did not just pray for an hour or two but the whole night. Jesus’ act of praying for the whole night signifies the seriousness he attached to the decision he was about to take. He did not take the selection of leaders for the early church lightly. He attached all the seriousness needed to it and eventually chose twelve out of the many disciples to be his apostles. If the Lord Jesus Christ himself attached so much importance to the selection of leaders for the propagation of the gospel, how then should we approach the selection of leaders in our various churches and societies?
It is very important to commit ourselves fully to prayer before choosing anyone to become a leader of God’s church. This is because the people who lead us should be of a certain standard which will make them eligible to stand before God. They are used by God to guide the church into spiritual maturity and help present all members of the church before God without any blemishes.
So such leaders should be chosen thoughtfully and prayerfully. We should not choose leaders into certain positions in our churches just because of their good financial, social or educational backgrounds. We should not choose leaders for our churches because of our blood or social ties with them. We should choose leaders for our churches based on their spiritual standing before the Lord. And because we are human and can never tell of a person’s true standing before God, we should always consult God before we choose people into leadership positions. If we leave God out in the selection of our church leaders, we shall end up choosing blind leaders to lead the blind!
After Jesus had prayed for the whole night, his Father taught him which men to select and give them the mandate to represent him anywhere. Jesus chose Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon the Zealot, James the son of Alpahaeus and Judas Iscariot. The men Jesus chose were all not fishermen. They were not all tax-collectors and they were all not political activists. They were not all poor, neither were they all rich. They were not all educated, neither were they all uneducated.
They had varied backgrounds which was necessary for the task ahead of them. Jesus did not despise anybody’s background. He chose ‘ordinary’ men with a mixture of backgrounds and personalities to be his apostles.
Whatever background we have, we can be useful in the church. Jesus knows our worth even when no one sees any good in us. Jesus still calls ordinary people together to build his church, teach the gospel and serve others out of love. We may not feel qualified individually to build God’s church, but when we come together we can form a strong and effective group able to serve God in any good way.
Let us therefore make ourselves available for his use when the need arises. May the Lord Jesus Christ help us in choosing the right people to lead His church in these last days!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.