Luke 6:12-16: The Twelve Apostles
God’s ways are not our ways, and that is especially true when it comes to ministry. God uses all sorts of people that we would not expect. When you choose a president or prime minister you are looking for someone with an impeccable record, not so in the Bible. Where we have a winning formula for a leader, that type A personality that we think is the perfect recipe for success God uses different ingredients. This is very evident as we come to that part of the gospels where Jesus chooses His twelve apostles in Luke 6:12-16. Picture the scene: the Pharisees have had run in after run in with Christ and are now on the prowl to put Him down. Jesus knows that He will die, He has already spoken about the Bridegroom having to depart, 5:35. What do you do? Jesus prepares for the propagation of His work after He leaves through the calling of 12 apostles. There is only about 3 ½ years for the apostles to be taught and trained at the feet of Christ, this calling of the 12 sets the ball in motion. But who do you choose to write a bible and build a Church to last for thousands of years and to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth? We would scour the universities and the battlefields and the arenas and the major metropolises of the times looking for the best in every area ensuring the perfectly balanced mix.
Look at the group He chooses, at least four of them are fishermen, so much for balance and diversity. They are all of the hated Jewish race. All but one come from Galilee. You have a former sympathiser with the Roman establishment, the tax collector Matthew mixed in with a former revolutionary against the Roman system Simon the Zealot. None would be rich, well-educated or people of power and persuasion. And as we journey with them through the gospels we see that they are often ignorant and in need of instruction not understanding the clearest teachings and saying of Jesus. They are proud and argue about who will be the greatest. They are full of doubts despites the ubiquitous miracles of Jesus ministry, and in the end they turn out to be cowards who abandon their post.
The function of an apostle is very important in the church, but already we can be ministered to by them in the fact that God uses sinners, God uses a few and God uses the weak. 1 Cor. 1:26-29, ‘For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.’ As we go through this list of men this is one of the things you can take away with you. God takes broken things, sinful things, weak things, ignorant, doubting and despised things and uses them to impact eternity. After Pentecost when Peter and John are confronted by the leaders for healing, they bear testimony and notice the change that Jesus has made in these men, Acts 4:13, ‘Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.’