In today's few verses, we see Jesus choosing himself a group of people who will be his closest friends and it's really interesting who he picks!
Verse 13 is interesting enough in itself. Jesus called anyone he wanted to follow him and be his friend and they came to him. No question. If this Jesus has authority over evil demons (as we saw in the previous verses), then he certainly has authority over the average human being. There's no arguments from the people he chooses to follow him and yet he's not forcing them. They want to follow. God's will and human will are working together in harmony as Jesus makes his friends.
The next verse tells us the reason for Jesus choosing a close 12 as his team of friends. So far, Jesus has been the one doing amazing miracles, healings, etc but now he's sharing the job with others. It's a miniature picture of what he's come to do. Jesus didn't come to show off how good God is and then leave us in our mess - he came to show us how good God is and invite us to be like him and to pay for the forgiveness we need in order to be free to change. Jesus is about including and inviting people to be with him and to be like him. God is not distant and high up in this passage - he's close and low!
So here's the list again:
- Simon (fisherman, Peter = Rock)
- James (son of Zebedee, 'son of thunder')
- John (son of Zebedee, 'son of thunder')
- Andrew (brother of Simon/Peter, fisherman, former disciple of John the Baptist)
- Matthew (tax collector = hated traitor)
- Thomas ('doubting Thomas' later on)
- James (son of Alphaeus)
- Simon the Zealot
- Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him)
Jesus chooses 12 guys who were a right mixed bunch of people, many of them simple fishermen but also a tax collector (Matthew was a hated traitor and probably dishonest too), a 'zealot' (Simon was at least nicknamed because of his passion and he may well have been an agitator for Roman government to be removed), two hot-tempered brothers and others we know less about. So it's a real mixed bag and they're not all that old either. Some are thought to have been around 14-15 when Jesus called them. Others have gone as far as describing it as Jesus' youth group! They're certainly not the gang you'd expect a king to choose, let alone the God of the Universe!
So Jesus is here for people! It's been pretty clear already but now it's about to move on to the next phase of the mission as Jesus gets his 12 close mates to do the things he's been doing.
To think about (and act on):
- Am I a close friends of Jesus?
- Do I do what he does?