The twelve disciples give us insight into the people Jesus would choose.
I taught elementary school before becoming a pastor. During that time I also did some coaching: high school and middle school wrestling, and elementary school boys’ flag football and girls’ basketball.
As much as I disliked losing, the one thing I disliked even more was tryouts; I hated having to choose some kids and not others. I think about this when considering Jesus’ “winning” team:
- They were sent out with the Gospel (Matt 10:5-15).
- They laid the foundation for the church (Eph 2:20).
- They will sit on thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28).
It wouldn’t be too much to say few people have ever been more important than these men. So of course the Lord would choose men who:
- Are tremendous, amazing, and powerful.
- Are humble, patient, and righteous.
- Never quarrel, instead working together like a well-oiled machine.
- Are the most religious and spiritual.
1. JESUS CHOSE MEN WHO LACKED HUMILITY.
The disciples were proud, self-centered, and self-promoting.
- In Mark 9:34 they argued about who would be the greatest. You couldn’t have anything further from Jesus’ teaching. While some people might think they’re great, they certainly wouldn’t argue about it.
- In Mark 10:35-41, James and John sent their mother to Jesus (played the “Mom Card”) to request that they be the two individuals to sit on His right and left in His kingdom. The other ten were upset, but not because they had a righteous indignation against such actions; instead they were afraid James and John would receive more than them.
2. JESUS CHOSE MEN WHO LACKED FAITH.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus commended people’s faith, saying “Your faith has made you well.” At one point He even applauded the faith of a Roman centurion (Rom 8:10). The Lord wasn’t opposed to complimenting people’s faith!
But as much as Jesus seemed to compliment the faith of others, He seemed to just as frequently rebuke the unbelief of The Twelve:
- When the disciples were caught in a storm, they woke Jesus and told Him they were going to die. He said, “Why are you fearful, of you of little faith?” (Matt 8:26a).
- When Jesus invited Peter to walk on water to Him, Peter saw the waves and storm, became afraid, and began to sink. The Lord stretched out His hand, caught Him, and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matt 14:31).
- When the disciples thought they didn’t have enough food (even though Jesus recently fed 5,000), He said to them, “O You of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?” (Matt 16:8).
- When the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a child, Jesus said,“Because of your little faith” (Matt 17:20).
- Even though Jesus repeatedly told The Twelve that He’d be raised from the dead (Matt 16:21), He “appeared to [them] and rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen” (Mark 16:14). This was the end of their ministry with the Lord, after they received all the teaching and witnessed all the miracles, and their faith was still so weak.
3. JESUS CHOSE MEN WHO LACKED COMMITMENT.
Jesus graciously warned the disciples they were going to forsake Him, but Peter argued and so did the others: “Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And so said all the disciples” (Matt 26:35).
But after Jesus’ arrest: “They all forsook Him and fled” (Mark 14:50).
As long as Jesus performed miracles and things looked good, they were committed to Him. But as soon as He was arrested and they were afraid for their lives, they abandoned the Lord. And again, this is after they were discipled!
4. JESUS CHOSE MEN WHO LACKED RELIGIOUS TRAINING.
There are lots of interesting observations that can be made about The Twelve:
- They were not well-known or prominent men. The only reason we know anything about them is the Lord chose them.
- There’s no record of them having strong natural talents or abilities.
- There’s no record of them being orators or public speakers.
But probably the oddest thing about the Twelve is none of them were religiously trained. We’re so familiar with them we don’t think much about this, but consider Jesus was choosing men to carry on His work in His absence. If Jesus owned…
- A fishing business, you’d expect Him to choose 12 fishermen.
- A farm, you’d expect Him to choose 12 farmers.
- A construction outfit, you’d expect Him to choose 12 builders.
But even though Jesus’ work was entirely spiritual, He didn’t choose one rabbi, scribe, Pharisee, Sadducee, or priest. He chose men that were going to build the religion of Christianity, but He didn’t choose one recognized religious leader. He chose four fishermen, one tax collector, and other than that we don’t know their occupations. But we can see He chose very common, ordinary men to do the work.
Are you common and ordinary enough to be chosen and used by the Lord? Do you lack…
- Religious training?
Then Jesus would choose you!
The Twelve Jesus chose should be a great encouragement to us. They should convince us the Lord can – and wants to – use us too.
If you’d like to listen to the sermon this is taken from: Luke 6:12-16 The Way the Lord Chooses.