Jesus Chooses His Twelve Disciples
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him. Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:7-19)
At this point in His ministry, Jesus was already a very popular figure. Wherever He went, large crowds were sure to follow as everyone wanted to see more of His miracles. Out of the large group that was following His every move, Jesus decided to take twelve men and make them His disciples. Jesus wanted to have a close group of twelve men that He could walk with daily. He would teach them and spend time with them and prepare them for a time when He would no longer be there in physical form. Jesus would make these men ready to eventually start the church and build the Christian religion that we know today. Since Jesus was only one man, He restricted His number of disciples to twelve to make sure they would each get His individual attention. So why did He choose these particular twelve men? They must have had something special about them, right? Were they men with an exceeding amount of faith? Later Scriptures would reveal that these twelve men actually faltered in their faith quite a few times. Were they men with unique abilities or special skills? We read in the Bible that they were normal, everyday men with normal, everyday lives prior to meeting Jesus. So what was the secret? Why were these twelve men chosen?
While none of the men had an exceeding amount of faith, popular personalities or unique abilities, they all shared two important traits. These men were willing to follow Jesus and they were teachable. These men loved Jesus. They would do anything for Him. They knew that He was their Lord and they wanted to follow Him and obey Him. They wanted to learn from him and understand His ways, and they wanted to live their lives for Him. That was enough for Jesus. He did not need special talents or abilities. He did not need someone who knew the Scriptures backward and forward and who were well learned. He needed people who were willing to follow Him and who were teachable.
Even today, Jesus is still looking for disciples, though we have a few benefits over the original twelve. First of all, we already know the whole story. The disciples had to live out the story of Jesus day by day never really knowing where it was going to lead, but we can read about it every single day. We know the ending. We know that He is God. We know that He lives forever. We know that one day He will come back in glory to rule over everything and everyone. In addition, because we now have the Holy Spirit, Jesus no longer has to restrict Himself to twelve disciples. Each of us can become a disciple of Jesus and still get personal, one on one attention from Him. We can talk with Him and walk with Him every single moment of every single day of our lives. So what do we have to do to become His disciples today? What traits do we need to have? Do we need to memorize the entire Bible before we can be a disciple? While memorizing Scripture is a great idea that will definitely help you in your walk, that will not make you a disciple. Do we need to get an advanced degree in theology before we can be a disciple? Getting a degree in theology is great for some people but that will not make you a disciple either. The price of admission to being a disciple is exactly the same today as it was for the original twelve. Jesus is looking for people who are willing to follow Him and who are teachable. That is it. He is hiring for the position of disciple. You will receive on-the-job training from Jesus Christ Himself. He will mold you and shape you in His image, and then He will ask you to go out and reproduce yourself in others. Once you become a disciple, you will long to create other disciples for Him. The only special skills required are the willingness to follow Jesus and allow Him to teach you. If you are looking for a steady job with eternal benefits, apply today. You do not even need to send in your resume or go to His office. You can simply bow your head right where you are and ask Jesus to make you His disciple, and He will meet you right where you are.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.