As Christians, we often wonder why Jesus chose the disciples he did. After all, they were not perfect individuals and some of them had questionable pasts. But Jesus saw something in them that made them worthy of following him.
Before we delve into why Jesus picked his disciples, let’s take a look at the context in which he picked them. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who was preaching and performing miracles throughout Galilee.
He was gaining a following, but he knew that his time on earth was limited. He needed to train a group of individuals who could carry on his teachings after he was gone.
So what were the criteria for becoming one of Jesus’ disciples? The first thing to note is that Jesus did not choose the most educated or influential individuals.
He chose fishermen, tax collectors, and ordinary people. This shows us that God can use anyone for his purposes.
Jesus also looked for individuals who were willing to leave everything behind to follow him. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus tells a rich young man to sell all his possessions and give to the poor if he wants to follow him. While this may not be applicable to everyone today, it shows us that following Jesus requires sacrifice.
The Twelve Disciples
Jesus ultimately chose twelve men to be his disciples. They were:
- Andrew (Peter’s brother)
- James (son of Zebedee)
- John (James’ brother)
- Matthew (also known as Levi)
- James (son of Alphaeus)
- Thaddaeus (also known as Judas, son of James)
- Simon the Zealot
- Judas Iscariot
Each disciple had their own unique personality and background. Peter was impulsive and outspoken, while Thomas was skeptical.
Matthew was a tax collector, which was a despised profession at the time. Judas Iscariot would eventually betray Jesus.
So why did Jesus pick these twelve men? First and foremost, he chose them to be his closest companions and to learn from him directly.
They were witnesses to his teachings and miracles. They also served as a representation of the twelve tribes of Israel.
But Jesus had a greater purpose for his disciples. He wanted them to carry on his mission after he was gone. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives the Great Commission to his disciples:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
The disciples were not just meant to be passive learners; they were called to go out into the world and spread the gospel.
The Lessons Learned
As we reflect on why Jesus picked his disciples, there are several lessons we can learn. First, God can use anyone for his purposes, regardless of their background or past mistakes.
Secondly, following Jesus requires sacrifice. We may not be called to sell all our possessions like the rich young man in Matthew 19:21, but we must be willing to give up everything if that’s what it takes to follow Christ.
Lastly, we are called to spread the gospel just like the disciples were. We may not have seen Jesus perform miracles firsthand or heard him teach in person, but we have been given the same commission to go out into the world and make disciples.
In conclusion, Jesus picked his disciples for a specific purpose. They were not perfect individuals, but they were willing to follow him and carry on his mission. As we follow in their footsteps, may we also be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ and spread the gospel to all nations.