“And when it was day, He called His disciples to [Himself]; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:” Luke 6:13 NKJV
Early in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has begun to attract followers. In Luke Chapter 5:1-11, the first followers mentioned by name were fishermen: Simon, later called Peter, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. These men were all partners in the fishing industry.
When they heard the invitation to become “fisher of men” they left everything behind and followed Him. Soon others joined too. From this group of early followers, Jesus selects twelve to be His disciples. These twelve then were named His apostles.
Who are these guys? That is a question that has produced a lot of speculation. There are traditions that have been passed down about the disciples; however it’s not easy to determine fact from fiction. Others have venerated or exalted the disciples to the point they seem super spiritual, almost like superheroes.
It is true that the original twelve disciples were unique in a historical sense because they were the ones chosen to follow Jesus when He walked this earth. The Bible is our main source for information about the disciples.
It is important to note that the bible mentions all twelve disciples. The bible has much to say about some disciples, some to say about a few of them, and very little to say about some. What is said of them as a group can then generally be applied to them as individuals.
What we do know about the disciples is this: they were ordinary men who had a life altering encounter with Jesus. The website “Exploring Life’s Mysteries has this to say about the disciples:
The twelve disciples, often referred to as the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ were twelve of the followers of Jesus Christ in Christianity. The twelve disciples were…ordinary men who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ and after witnessing His crucifixion and His resurrection and His ascension these men were sent out to spread the word of Christianity and be witness to the work of God.
The twelve disciples were men of ordinary means, working as a fisherman, a tax collector and a revolutionary among other occupations and they experienced much hardship, failings and doubts during their following of Jesus; however, these men played an important part in spreading the word of Jesus Christ and Christianity.
They were ordinary men of ordinary means who had ordinary jobs and experienced ordinary struggles and ordinary doubts as they followed an extraordinary Savior. They didn’t always understand. They were not always obedient. They made mistakes. Their leader denied Jesus, one of their own betrayed Him, and they are were afraid and ran and hid at His crucifixion. At times, they were men of little faith.
They had one thing going for them: Jesus loved them. After He spent the night in prayer, Luke tells us that “when it was day. He called His disciples to Himself; and from there He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” Jesus called, He chose, and He named them apostles.
This principle is still the same for us today. Jesus is stilling calling men and women, boys and girls to Himself as disciples. He is still choosing ordinary people to follow Him. And he still gives us the mission of apostleship as we are to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
It is my prayer as we study each disciple in this sermon series that we learn to be a disciple by discovering who the disciples are.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.