Choosing the 12 (Part 1) – Why?

Read Mk 3.13-19, Lk 6.12-16

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach,
(Mark 3:14)

Jesus spends a night in prayer and from the many disciples he already has following Him He selects 12.

A little over a year into Jesus’ ministry it was quite evident that He had captured the people’s attention. They were flocking to Him “from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan” (Mt 4:25). After developing this following, Jesus makes a strategic move in His ministry. He chooses 12 men from among a great crowd of disciples (Lk 6.17) and appoints them as apostles. The question is why did Jesus do this? Isn’t there the risk of alienating many of His followers by culling out a hand full and giving them a “superior status” above the rest of the disciples? I see three main reasons for Jesus’ selection of the 12.

Logistics – I’ve said before that Jesus elected to be confined to time, space, and energy in His humanity. He chose to be human in order to model humanity. This affected every area of His life including His ministry. Jesus’ ministry had grown beyond His human capabilities and there was no way He could meet the needs of all these people. He was one man. But multiplication is the answer to logistical problems. If a farmer could not milk all his cows, he would train some hands to help him. Multiply the laboring force, increase productivity. Jesus was multiplying His ministry by enlisting leaders that could help Him shepherd the flock. And remember that Jesus’ interests lay in reaching the world with the gospel of the Kingdom. It will take many skilled hands to make disciples of the nations.

Leadership – These men were not only being groomed to share the gospel and make disciples. A disciple can make another disciple. These men were being groomed to be the future leadership of the church, apostles. More about that later.

Longevity – The Apostles were chosen to insure the next generation. The future of the Church was contingent upon these men knowing and being like Christ. They would be the reflection of the Master. Jesus knew that in order to create this kind of reflection of Himself, He had to bring them in close, let them see and imitate and be trained to impact the next generation. The generations rise and fall on leadership and Jesus understood and capitalized on this fact. His plan has succeeded some 2000 years.

Application to Disciplemaking: Although most of us are not making apostles we are making disciples and we are faced with the same logistical, leadership, and longevity challenges Jesus faced. Aren’t we confined to a limited amount of resources? Aren’t we trying to help people become spiritual leaders in their families, work place, and communities? Don’t we see the urgency of developing men and woman into the kind of disciples that can carry the Gospel to the next generation? To train these kinds of men and women we will need to give them concerted time and attention. We will have to operate within the confines of effectiveness and not be lured away by the attraction of numbers. We are compelled to use Jesus’ strategy of focusing on a few while ministering to the many. FJ70

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Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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