“Have you ever noticed the way Jesus chose his disciples? From our vantage point, it appears haphazard. Jesus walked along, saw a guy fishing, and said, “Hey! You! Come with me, and I’ll unfold the greatest mysteries of the universe.” — Brian Andreas

Luke 4:42-43
Luke 5:29-32

When we dig deeper into the cultural context, we realize his nonchalance could be even more dire. The twelve he chose had already received rejection letters from the rabbis under whom they wished to study. They failed to meet the requirements. Rejected by the religious-cultural-social upper crust of life as a rabbi, they instead settled for the trades of their fathers, collecting taxes and fishing the Dead Sea.

He chose twelve denied applicants. He prayed about them for a night (Luke 6:12-13) and then he said, “You are the ones I want. You will carry my message to the world, and you will change the world.”

What?! Why didn’t he check with HR? He could’ve seen that these guys didn’t cut it. Sometimes people look great on paper, but don’t make the team. Sometimes they’re great on paper, but they only make JV. These guys looked awful on paper and they became the starters he never pulled from play.

Furthermore, he had no back-up. His starting twelve were it. This was his team.

What did they give in response? After living and walking with him every day for three years, they bolted when the authorities came with a warrant.

He could have known this if he had looked at their qualifications, or monitored their grades along the way. They wanted to call down fire on people (Luke 9:51-56). They missed the points he taught (Matthew 16:1-11). They told Jesus to avoid death (Matthew 16:21-23), thinking he sought a political position. They even fought for first place in the kingdom they convinced themselves he wanted to establish (Matthew 20:20-28). These guys who walked and talked with Jesus every day failed regularly during the grading period and then bombed the final at his arrest.

What could Jesus have had in mind?

One of them betrayed him. Ten others died cruel deaths. Yet those ten, and John, forever changed the world we know. Nothing has been the same since they walked the earth with the messages of Jesus. The world was permanently altered by the way they carried the messages of Jesus.

Despite their failures and setbacks and immaturity, Jesus continued to work in them. He didn’t give up on them, even when they gave up on him. These were his work, these failures, these boys, and he knew what they would do.

Jesus doesn’t quit on his students. It may take them years, but they grow because of the faith their teacher has in them. He takes no-talent nobodies like us and makes all-stars. Because of who he is. Because we’re more than we know or believe ourselves to be, in him.

That’s the faith of Jesus.

What do you make of Jesus’ selection of disciples?
Whom would you have chosen to change the world?
Why do you think Jesus chose these?


© 2007