“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.” – Matthew 4:18, ESV.
Now, when we think about the 12 apostles, typically, we tend to think of the grand figures we see immortalized in stained glass windows all over the world. Countless books have been written about these men and they are talked about on any given Sunday everywhere in the world some 2,000 years after they died. You would think these are extraordinary people who belong on pedestals but nothing could be further from the truth. They are not extraordinary; they basically are distinguished as a group by one thing and that is they are ordinary. Acts 4:13 says, “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures….”
They were ordinary people, a little rough around the edges, with flawed characteristics. They were prone to mistakes, misjudgments, misunderstandings, bad attitudes, lapses of faith, bitter failure, and argumentative. What becomes apparent in studying the twelve is like us, they were called by God, saved and then taught and sent out, each according to his/her own character, skill, and personality to be used by God to great effect wherever He places us.
What makes them so compelling is just how much we can relate to them today. When you study the 12 you begin to understand their purpose as a whole and as individuals. Getting to know their personalities, you will identify with a few of them and come to the realization that Jesus can and will use anyone who is willing to be loved, shaped, and transformed into a mature follower.
When we really begin to look honestly at some of the people in the Bible, such as the 12 disciples, and take them down off the stained-glass windows or a pedestal, it becomes obvious that God did extraordinary things through ordinary, regular people. And He still does today. God’s power is always available to us even if we think we don’t measure up. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says.“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him….” God is looking to use ordinary people who are completely committed to Him. God can overcome any weakness or flaws we may have.
Jesus chose twelve men to change the world. This was the preferred method for making an impact on the nations. Two thousand years have passed and the plan is exactly the same. Jesus is still changing the world by disciples making disciples.
- If God has recently called you to some step of faith or action or obedience, how did you respond? Are you pleased with how you handled it, or should you have responded differently? Explain.
- How can you prepare yourself for the future when God calls you to some step of faith or action or obedience? What habits or attitudes can you develop now that will help you when that time comes?