Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Jesus Chose Simple Men (Training of the Twelve, Chapter 4, part 3)

Jesus started with fishermen, tax collectors, and former revolutionaries. They were the best people He found to work with. Others were too proud to become disciples and because of that, they excluded themselves from the high honor of apostleship. The civil and religious leaders boasted in their unbelief. The citizens of Jerusalem were interested for a moment in the zealous young man who purged the temple with a whip, but their faith was superficial. Therefore Jesus would not entrust Himself to them; He knew what was in them.  There were a few sincere sympathizers with high positions, but they did not have the level of commitment needed to become apostles. Nicodemus was barely able to speak a timid word on Christ’s behalf and Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple because of his fear of the Jewish leaders. These were sharp people who did not have the stuff that was needed from missionaries of the cross. People so fettered by social ties and political connections and so enslaved by fear would not become the people to take the gospel to the world.

So Jesus had to fall back on the rustic, but simple, sincere and energetic men of Galilee. And He was quite content with His choice and sincerely thanked His Father for giving Him these men. He would have gladly taken men of learning, rank, wealth, and refinement if they would lay those things down for His service, but since none seemed to be available, He too these humble men. He preferred devoted men with no advantage to undevoted men with every advantage. Their station in life really did not matter as long as they were spiritually qualified for the work to which they were called. The most telling thing about a man is not what is on the outside, but what is within. John Bunyan was a man of low birth, low occupation, and up until His conversion, low habits. But by nature, he was a genius and by grace a man of God.

The gospels are not autobiographical and the apostles were not the central characters in the story. Christ was their hero; and their sole desire was to tell what they knew about Him. They looked at the Sun of Righteousness and in His radiance, they lost sight of everything and everyone else.

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