“The leader’s true worth may sometimes be measured by the amount of time he could remain dead in his office without anyone noticing it,” — W. J. Redden.
Jesus has announced His message of good news, chosen His method of preaching, communicated His motive for serving human need, established His authority, and won public acclaim.
Now He is a man marked for extinction!
How can the message get out? How will it continue after He’s gone?
Jesus selects some men to help Him (v. 13). This is a motley crew (no guitars) to say the least – modest means; limited schooling; obscure identity.
They virtually had nothing going for them as far as anyone could tell. Anyone but Jesus, that is. What do they have to offer?
We see back when Jesus called the fishermen that they were trustworthy, teachable and task-oriented.
Jesus chose men of potential rather than accomplishment. He does that for us. He doesn’t just accept us when we deserve it, but He molds us into something He can use.
Jesus faces the same questions? How does He convince these men, and us, that our potential can be reached? Class size matters. If info is all that’s needed, big is fine. In college and university classes, core classes usually have the largest number of students. By my third year Greek class we had 5. We sat in a circle and dissected the text one word and phrase at a time. When one is working on one’s Ph. D, one-on-one is often the case.
For personal interaction within a group, 12-15 is perfect.
This gives the teacher time to give personal attention to the students and allows the students to interact and learn from each other. Jesus chooses twelve men, not just for the symbolic number, but from a practical point of teachability. Jesus expects His disciples to know Him as the Son of God who serves, the Son of Man who saves, and the Lord who reigns.
He wants them to know that He is the Messiah. He will send them out to preach. Nothing beats hands-on experience. Some things can’t be learned in a class room. Imagine an archeology student who never visited a site; imagine a surgeon who never practiced as an intern; imagine a mechanic who never took apart an engine. The disciples will get their feet wet simply by doing. He empowers them to do their job: heal sickness and cast out demons; he gave them His power – the HS. It’s through the HS that they will be able to do kingdom work on earth. The same HS is given to us so that we can continue to do kingdom work. Imagine the day when Jesus confers on them the honors of graduation: “According to the powers vested in me by God the Father, I hereby confer upon you the power to heal sickness and cast out demons with all the rights and privileges thereto.”
Jesus calls on us to carry on the message. We have the message.
We have the power.
We have the responsibility.
Ill. Stewart Briscoe tells this tale. “One of my young colleagues was officiating at the funeral of a war veteran. The dead man’s military friends wished to have a part in the service at the funeral home, so they requested the pastor to lead them down to the casket, stand with them for a moment of silence of remembrance, and then lead them out through the side door. This he proceeded to do, but unfortunately the effect was somewhat marred when he picked the wrong door. The result was they marched with military precision into a broom closet, in full view of the mourners, and had to beat a hasty retreat covered with confusion.
This story illustrates a cardinal rule or two:
If you’re going to lead, make sure you know where you’re going.
If you’re going to follow, make sure that you’re following someone who knows what he’s doing.
Jesus fills both of these requirements. He knows where He’s going, and He knows what He’s doing. He just needs someone to follow Him! Would you be one of them? The biggest problem in our community is not drugs, divorce, or immorality, as rampant as they may be. The problem, nationally, is a lack of committed followers of Jesus Christ. Change your community. Truly follow Jesus today.