...gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. [Matthew 10:1b]God doesn't wait to see what a person is going to decide before He acts. God is in control of His universe, nothing is outside the scope of His rule. God controls and guides all events for His glory and for the good of believers, and determines the outcome of all things according to His wise purposes. The Father chose who would be Jesus’ apostles, and they were willing, they were ready to say yes to the Lord.
By God’s sovereign design, Jesus only selected twelve, Matthew and Mark both listed their names, with some variations, as did Luke and John, and Luke listed them again in his second book, Acts.
Peter's name always appears first in these lists, and Judas Iscariot is always last, maybe because Peter, Andrew, James and John loved Jesus so much, and had such a deep desire be like Jesus, that they always ended up right next to Him saying “Oh, oh, pick me, pick me!”
Jesus gave them the same authority He had. Luke says the disciples got pretty excited with the amazing powers Jesus had given them, but Jesus told them, "Don’t get excited about the miracles, they’re just a sidebar to the real thing. Be excited about salvation, that’s what counts."
Maybe Jesus was thinking about Judas when He said, in the Sermon on the Mount, that not everyone who called Him Lord and did marvelous works in His name would enter the kingdom of heaven. Only people who have a real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ enter the kingdom of heaven. Maybe that explains why Judas’ name was always at the end of the list.
These were an ordinary bunch of guys, fishermen, tradesmen, no special education or religious background, no particular social advantages or connections. They represented a wide variety of personalities and interests.
Matthew was probably the most educated and talented, but he was also considered a traitor, collecting taxes for the Romans.
Simon the Zealot, on the other hand, came from a group of what we would today call terrorists, willing to stop at nothing to overthrow Roman rule. I wonder how Jesus got those two to sit at the same table?
The disciples' names were also arranged in pairs, probably because Jesus sent them out two by two.
There is wisdom in having a partner,
* Someone to pray with,
* To share burdens with,
* Someone to help you up when you fall down, and
* Who trusts you to help them up, too.
* Someone to fellowship with,
* Who will encourage you,
* Fortify you,
* Share the suffering and the joy with you,
* Who will tell you the truth even when it hurts,
* Who shares your vision and
* Is right there beside you in your work.
I can’t tell you how often the people I work closely with and I pray for each other and spur each other on to love and good deeds.
* Who do you partner with in God's work? Or,
* If you are starting to feel isolated, burnt out, alone, unappreciated, could it be because you have been working alone?
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