The passage is available here. For those who follow football, this is an important time of the year known as the transfer window. It means players can move clubs and it ends on Monday at 11.00pm. It’s important because almost all clubs, especially those that are in danger of relegation, would like to strengthen their squads and after Monday night it will be too late. All supporters naturally, want the best players for their club. In business, recruitment is absolutely crucial. Getting the right person for the job is so important and can be make or break for a small business. In today’s passage Jesus chooses his disciples and I suspect, he chose people that most of us would have rejected and his method of making a choice would be unlike ours.
We have already seen that Jesus spent time praying to his Father. In fact, Jesus invested time in prayer before every major incident in his life. At this time the Pharisees were considering what they could do to Jesus, so it wasn’t a quiet period when things, long delayed, could be addressed. Would we have delayed hoping for calmer times? Luke records that Jesus spent the night praying, the whole night. Perhaps many 21st century Christians would spend their time having a discussion and there’s nothing wrong with that, but at times of crisis, Jesus stopped talking and started praying.
The disciples chosen by Jesus were quite a group. We know the first four were fishermen, Simon (Peter), his brother Andrew and their business partners, the brothers, James and John. Matthew (Levi) was a hated Tax Collector and Simon was called the Zealot (the Zealots were a patriotic group that opposed the Romans, often with violence). We know very little about the other six. It wasn’t exactly a team of high flyers. Couldn’t Jesus have chosen some more influential people? After all, Nicodemus was well respected and he was very interested in Jesus, there must have been others. Of course, Jesus could have chosen differently but he didn’t. He chose the twelve and he stuck with them, even when they disappointed and failed him. He could have had a few transfers, moved a few out and a few in, but he remained committed to them and in fact, he laid down his life for them.
The twelve were designated apostles. The word ‘apostle’ means to be a messenger or envoy and it shows us that Jesus had a plan for them. They were not going to form an exclusive group and hide away from the nasty world outside. They were to go out into the world with the message of Jesus. We are not apostles in the same way as the twelve but we are also called to take out this message and not hide away or be ashamed of it. It should encourage us when we think of what God can do with a motley crew like the disciples, within a generation after the resurrection; the Gospel had spread right across the known world.
Some have called the section (6:17-49) the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ as opposed to the ‘Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). Matthew describes the events as taking place on a mountainside whereas Luke says; “He went down with them and stood on a level place” (6:17). It could be two separate events or it could be that Jesus having already gone up the mountain (6:12), came down to a flat place to teach. Either way, it doesn’t really matter.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28) Thank you Lord, that you choose to work through foolish, weak, lowly and despised people like us. Help us Lord we pray, to be your messengers and to carry with us the word of life in this dark world.