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Twelve ordinary men


When Jesus began His ministry here on earth, He chose twelve men to be His disciples and they traveled with Him, working in His ministry. Let’s look at these men and their qualities.

Andrew is the first disciple mentioned in the listings and the first thing that Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah, the Christ.” His first action was to find his brother. When we have the excitement of Christ, with whom do we want to share this excitement?

Peter the Rock is listed as a disciple and we know of his denying Christ three times. Peter then went from a cowardly, sniveling person to a man of courage. What made the difference? It was the Holy Spirit infilling his life completely. Do we have the Holy Spirit in our lives? Has He changed us from a coward to a person of courage for Him?

Let’s look at James, son of Zebedee. He was an ambitious man and asked to sit at the right hand of Christ in His glory. He and his brother John were willing to offend the other ten disciples in order to be placed high in regard to Christ. Their ambition got ahead of their spiritual knowledge. There is nothing wrong with ambition, in our jobs or within the kingdom and the church, but there is something wrong with an ambition that moves ahead of God.

John, and the meaning of this name is “God is gracious,” was intolerant and jealous of the inner circle of the disciples. But as he followed Jesus, he became more and more filled with the message of Christ and we read in his book, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John learned a love for others that is an example to us. Do we want to take the message of Christ to all people?

Philip was a disciple chosen by Jesus and he was a practical man. Have you ever asked the questions, “What can I do?” “What difference do I make?” “Will my tiny tithe make any difference in the church?” “Does my presence in church make any difference?” Christ answers these questions in Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Trust your life with Him. He makes the difference! Trust Him!

We then have Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew in the listing of the disciples. He was a doubter, a cynic, a skeptic. He said about Christ, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Can we accept the simple message from Christ?

Matthew, originally known as Levi, is on the list and the name Matthew was given to him by Christ and this means “gift of God.” He so wanted to share Christ and a new way of life with his friends. He found hope in Christ and he wanted to share that hope with others that were hopeless.

Do we want to share Christ with others? Have we found that jewel that shines and needs to be shared?

We now look at Thomas, also known as the doubter. Are we known for one thing that we have done in our lives rather than for the things that have filled our lifetime? Let’s be known as the encourager, the doer, not the doubter.

We now have the name of Simon the Zealot. All we know is that he belonged to a group called the Zealots. He was loyal to Christ and along with the other disciples is named in Acts, indicating that although he wasn’t loyal at the Cross, he too was a renewed man with the Holy Spirit.

Now let’s look to Thaddaeus. Thaddaeus wanted to be part of the kingdom, but wanted Christ to follow Thaddaeus’ plan rather than the plan of God. Are we impatient with Christ and make our own rules and plans for Him to follow, rather than following Him? Do we trust Christ in our lives, or do we need to take control? Who is in charge?

James, son of Alphaeus, is mentioned in the list of disciples but that is about all we know about him from the Bible. We could think of him as forgotten, so unimportant that he was only listed by name, not by deed.

Do you feel unimportant in the church? Do you think that you will be forgotten by others so no need to do anything? In Christ, you are important!

And the last disciple named is Judas Iscariot, the traitor. Need we say anything further about Judas?

Twelve ordinary men with twelve ordinary pasts. These are the men that Jesus called to be with Him for three years. Do we see any of ourselves in any of these disciples? They were ordinary and diverse, but Jesus called them to follow Him. And the most important thing is that even though we are ordinary, He called us! We are called by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Listen to Him, and accept His calling and rejoice with Him. Let’s answer His call.

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