September 28, 2020
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him (Matthew 10:2-4).
Dr. E.V. Hill said it was necessary for him as pastor of a large church in Los Angeles to surround himself with staff ministers from all types of backgrounds (corporate executives, police officers, ex prostitutes, ex mafia members, recovered addicts, etc.), but ready and willing to talk to people about Jesus because those were the kinds of people the church ministered to.
Jesus called a mix of men that wouldn’t otherwise get along with each other if not for Him. Peter was impulsive, outspoken, and a natural born leader. Andrew, Peter’s younger brother, was quiet and reserve, but was passionate for God. James and John were men of intense passion and zeal for God. Jesus called them ‘Sons of Thunder’. All four men were fishermen and formed the inner circle closest to Jesus, even though John, was more prominent among the disciples than his older brother James.
The second group of four disciples were not as prominent as the first group. Philip was evangelistic and excited to tell Nathanael about the Lord. Nathanael (a.k.a. Bartholomew) demonstrated prejudices against people from other towns (John 1:46). Matthew (a.k.a. Levi) was a tax collector, a hated profession among the Jews because it was believed they were ‘sell-outs’ to the Romans. Thomas (a.k.a. Didymus) was an outspoken skeptic to the point of being called a pessimist.
The third group of four disciples were an even less prominent group. James the son of Alphaeus is also called James the Less. Very little is known about him. Thaddaeus (a.k.a. Jude, Lebbaeus, Judas the son of James) lived in virtual obscurity except the question he asked Jesus (John 14:22). Simon the Zealot was a political activist, had fierce loyalties, passion, courage, and zeal.
The last disciple was Judas Iscariot. He was from Kerioth in Judea, making him the only disciple not from Galilee. He was the treasurer of the group and a thief. He was never converted to faith in Christ but was the ‘Son of Perdition’ from the very beginning. And he betrayed Jesus.
Jesus took this mixed bag of men and, exception for Judas Iscariot, turned the world up-side-down (Acts 17:6). If He could do that with them, what are His possibilities with us?
“Thank You, Lord, for the changes You have made in my life, for the impact You have had on my life through others, and for impacting others through my life. I have been blessed by those who love You and have faithfully served You through the years. Thank You for the diversity of men and women who serve with me in Your church. I pray our impact on others can be as powerful as those who were Your disciples so many years ago. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”