In our Take Heart bible conference this past weekend, we heard Jesus tell his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide (John 15:16).” As we return to the Gospel of Luke this Sunday, we will see just who and how Jesus chose the twelve. And it’s not what we would expect.
Do you remember how teams got picked when you were a kid? Whether it was dodgeball or kickball, two team captains would be designated to take turns choosing from the crowd. And it always went the same way. The two best athletes would be picked, then the next best, then the next best, all the way down to those last two least athletic kids who’d get reluctantly added. (I was often one of those last two!)
As we’ll see, that’s not who and how Jesus chose the twelve. They clearly aren’t the twelve most qualified candidates. He chooses a number of fishermen, a tax collector (scandalous!), a zealot (a political activist opposed to Roman rule), and a man who would end up betray him into the hands of his enemies. We’re not told what the day jobs of the others were before Jesus called them, but none are described with glowing credentials. It wasn’t about what strengths they each had to offer Jesus, but how Jesus intended to show his strength through their weakness.
It’s like this for every disciple Jesus has ever called. Paul reminded the Corinthians:
Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 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; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
And we know that Paul included himself in this same category.
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus… But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:12–14, 16)
We all should have been the “last picked” when it comes to Jesus, which should be a great encouragement and comfort to us as we realize that, nevertheless, Jesus chose us joyfully and with great and gracious intentions for us.
Randy Gruendyke will be preaching Luke 6:12-15 for us this Sunday and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? And let’s ask the Lord to make us, more and more, a humble and grateful people whose boast is in our Lord alone.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
Song Link of the Week
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us sung by Austin Stone Worship
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection