In this devotion, we’ll take a quick look at each of the disciples and where they came from. These men were unexpected choices made by Jesus to be His disciples.
These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). Mark 3:16-19
Peter and his brother Andrew along with James and John, were all fishermen. Philip came from Bethsaida and he was more than likely a fisherman as well.
Bartholomew lived in Cana of Galilee. Scholars believed he came from royal blood or noble birth. Matthew lived in Capernaum. He was a publican or tax collector.
Next, we have Thomas. Little is known about him except by nature he was a pessimist. Yet, history proved later in his life he was a man of courage.
James the Younger, son of Alphaeus was from Galilee. His brother Thaddaeus also an apostle and known as Judas the Zealot.
Simon, the Zealot, is one of the little-known followers of Jesus. He lived in Galilee. The Zealots were fanatical Jewish Nationalists.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Historians believed that he came from Judah near Jericho. They also said that Judas was a violent Jewish Nationalist.
Why Jesus’ Unexpected Choices of Men Made Good Disciples
I don’t believe Jesus arbitrarily chose the first twelve guys he saw. He had a reason and a plan for each of them. Just like He has a plan for each of us. Let’s look at the lives and ministries of these men, even Judas, and apply their qualities to our lives.
Five of the twelve men Jesus chose were fishermen. The first assignment He made was directed at Peter and Andrew because of their occupation. Look what Jesus told them in Matthew 4.
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:18-19
They could relate to what Jesus called them to do because of what they did for a living. The Lord still does the same things today. Maybe you don’t throw a net into the water.
But with the complexity of today’s church and its ministries, He can use you. Your expertise and training could make you just as much a fisher of people.
Two Different Kind of People
Bartholomew and Matthew were certainly two different breeds. Different from the other men chosen and somewhat different from each other. If Bartholomew did come from royalty or nobility, he was aware of how the other half lived.
Where have you come from? Were you raised with a silver spoon in your mouth? Or are you from the slums of the inner city? Maybe you fall somewhere in between. The Lord can use you to minister to like-minded people who you understand.
Looking at Matthew, he was a tax collector! The people whom they were ministering didn’t like tax collectors. Yet he was willing to stick with the Lord. Even his new “Christian” friends may have thought ill of him.
Matthew was also willing to follow Jesus at all costs. Which meant a rejection by his old circle of friends. We also see that in the apostle Paul’s life. At first, the Christians didn’t trust him and the Jewish hierarchy turned on him.
What choices do you need to make when it comes to your worldly friends? Are you sold out to Jesus like these two disciples were?
Thomas, One of The Unexpected Men Jesus made a Disciple
I know Thomas has been labeled “doubting Thomas.” But two great promises came from Jesus because of questions and doubts he had. Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and they could come to Him. Here’s part of that conversation.
Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:5-6
Thomas doubted the disciples when they said they saw Jesus after His death. Here’s what happened eight days later when he saw Jesus.
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:28-29
We receive that blessing because we believe in Jesus without seeing Him. We wouldn’t have heard that statement if it wasn’t for Thomas’ doubt.
Even though these men were unexpected choices made by Jesus they became great disciples.
I wrote a related post called, How To Make A Total Commitment To Follow God you may be interested in.
What We Can Learn From Judas
Now let’s look at Judas Iscariot. Being a violent Jewish Nationalist he probably thought he could force Jesus to rise to power. His motives were selfish, plus he made some easy cash doing it.
What we can learn and apply to our lives from Judas is to keep our motives in check. Let’s continually seek God to keep us in the center of His will.
And instead of taking matters into your own hands as Judas did. He did that when he committed suicide. Go to the Lord instead and ask His forgiveness and ask for a change of heart.
And that would be a good way to end. Now is a good time for you to go to the Lord.
Check out these related posts on discipleship.
Read the entire chapter 3 of Mark.
Featured Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay
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