And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles... - Luke 6:13
As Jesus began His ministry here on earth, He acquired quite a large following of people. But we see in Luke 6, that He chose only 12 to be His closest disciples (or followers).
Even though Jesus Himself was God in the walking, breathing, flesh, He knew that life and ministry was better in community. He saw the value in close relationships - the kind of relationships that involved hard truths and honesty, as well as generous grace and laughter. But Jesus also knew He wouldn’t be present on the earth for long. He needed to band together a group of men who would seek to honor God with their whole lives and pursue the higher purpose of sharing the stories about Jesus all around the world.
What I think is so astonishing is that we get to see exactly who Jesus chose for that job. One might assume He would choose the most religious high priests - the people who knew the Law (or the religious rules that people found their salvation in before Jesus came) inside and out.
Certainly He would chose royal people with political power, or the richest families with influence, right? Wrong.
We see in Luke chapter 5 that many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. In those days, fishermen were considered uneducated, poor, and probably pretty vulgar men. Imagine a modern-day stereotype of a pirate - dirty humor, impulsive decision-making and all. But Peter would later become “the rock” of the early church after Jesus’ death.
Jesus also chose Matthew - a tax collector. No one likes paying taxes, right? We’re in the midst of tax season right now and it frustrates me so much (mostly because I still don’t understand how to do it, but that is a post for another day)! Back in Biblical times, everyone hated tax collectors because they worked for the oppressive Roman government. They couldn’t be trusted and were greatly disliked. But Matthew would go on to record one of the Gospel books in our Bible.
Jesus chose Thomas, who was doubtful. And Judas, who would later betray Jesus in exchange for silver.
If this were a dodgeball tournament, Jesus most certainly chose the underdogs. He had first pick, yet rather than choosing the best of the best, Jesus chose the lowest of the low; and this wasn’t by accident. This is so encouraging to me. By studying this part of Jesus’ life, we can be assured that, in order to follow Jesus, we don’t have to have our act together.
Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t just for the best of us - those who know their Bibles inside and out, never fall short, and have perfectly ironed lives. Jesus chooses the imperfect, uneducated, the poor, the misunderstood, the easily skimmed by of society. He chooses you and me. So maybe we don’t fit in with the fishermen or the tax collectors, but you and I have got just as much scum under our nails. We’ve got regrets. We’ve got “should have-could have-would haves.” We’ve got flaws and weaknesses. We’ve got doubts and questions.
Despite all our imperfections, Jesus has invited us to learn from Him, follow Him everywhere we go, represent Him in our schools and workplaces, talk about Him like a brother, invite others to meet Him, pray with others, heal wounds, break chains, and proclaim freedom all in His name. He’s invited you and me to preach the very best news to the poor in spirit. Not because of our resumes or what we have to offer, but because of what He wants to offer through our imperfectly humble lives. We have a place on Jesus’ Kingdom-building, world-changing team.
1. What criteria do you find yourself believing is required to be a true follower of Christ?
2. How does studying Luke 5:1-11 and 6:12-16 show us otherwise?
3. How can you give God glory and represent Him in your everyday life, at work, in school, in your clubs, etc.?
Thank You for inviting me to follow You. I often believe that I have to have my life perfectly tied together to be worthy of that calling, but You’ve shown me that the only thing required of me is faith and a willingness to follow. Help me to follow You with a willingness of the fishermen, and a trust of the tax collector. Help me to glorify You in my everyday mundane. And help me to see the mundane as a divine appointment - exactly where You want me to be.
Love, Your follower
Want to know more about a relationship with God? CLICK HERE