From Luke, Jesus calling His 12 apostles. They were quite the mismatched bunch, not a group you would call fit for a king. But the nonetheless they would follow Jesus all the way through (with the notable exception of Judas) the rest of His life, ministry, death and resurrection. And all the rest, except the beloved apostle John, would follow beyond Jesus’ resurrection to their own violent deaths for carrying His name.
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. Jesus consulted His Father before choosing the twelve, and indeed before just about every major decision or event in His life as we know it.
At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. He chose His twelve from His larger group of disciples. Disciple means “a learner”. They were always to be learning more about and from Him. To this day a Christian is someone who spends their life learning about Jesus in the hopes that one day we will meet Him face to face.
He chose them to be His apostles, or “someone who is sent out.” They were to be His ambassadors. They were to represent Him when would no longer be there, represent Him where He could not be physically Himself.
Mark tells us – “…They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach,” Mark 3:14 NLT. They were to accompany Him. Jesus needed friendship. Jesus couldn’t do His work without friends, why do we think we can do Christianity alone? God can not be happy without men, but here in America, we think we are such rugged individualists, and we don’t need close, personal relationships. We think we can do everything on our own. We are wrong.
Also, this little verse in Mark tells Jesus knew He didn’t have a lot of time. If He had come during a different time and age, maybe He would have written a book to carry His teaching. Instead He chose men to write His message on. They were His living, walking books. They were to be with Him through all His triumphs and trials so they might be the vessels to carry His message to all the world.
Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. Twelve ordinary men to change the world. Not one wealthy man, not one famous man, not one powerful man. Remember, the last will be first? Jesus started that right with His own Apostles.
Fishermen, tax collectors, zealots. A strange mixture of men. Consider Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot. As a tax collector, Matthew was viewed as a traitor to His people, having essentially joined the Romans in oppressing his own people. Simon, as a zealot, would have been a fanatical nationalist. He would have been sworn to assassinate every traitor and Roman he could. Jesus’ miracles started right in His inner circle, that these two men could coexist and live in peace as part of His closest friends. If we live as Christians, diversity is no longer an issue. Zealot and tax collector, living side by side for the love of Christ. Black lives, blue lives, it doesn’t matter. Donkey or Elephant. It is only in Christ that we can solve the problem of living together. Even the most opposite of people or groups can be united in their love for Him. If we live for Him, if we love Him, we will also love each other. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon.”
Luke 6:12-17 NLT