Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bible Book:

“Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.” (vv. 12-13)

Luke 6:12-16 Tuesday 23 January 2018

Psalm: Psalm 6:1-9


Jesus’ activities in Galilee have aroused hostility, so he went to go to a quiet place to recharge his batteries and ponder his next steps. Is this project, whose full implications are still dawning upon him, one that he can carry through alone? Is it not essentially a team effort? Does it not require commitments from many people?

The outcome is that he calls a carefully-chosen few to accompany him on his mission. In Matthew’s Gospel we are told a good deal more about the task to which he is calling these people (Matthew 10). They are to treat the venture not as a holiday but as an expedition for a specific purpose; baggage is to be kept to a minimum; the task is to proclaim, not to persuade; they are to be prepared for opposition.

What might Luke, in particular, wish us to notice here? Here is a list of named people. In some cases we learn a little of their background; they were indeed a very mixed bunch – how did they manage not to fight? In one case (Judas Iscariot) we are never allowed to forget that his future role was memorable for all the wrong reasons (Luke 22:3-6). But Jesus chose them all, every single one of them. Sometimes the call of God on human life is directed towards whole communities. Great preachers have conveyed this kind of call to their congregations for many generations, stirring them to remarkable action. But the call of Jesus drew together a rather unlikely group of people as individuals (hence the details of their names).

There is an incident recorded by John’s Gospel (John 21:22) which reinforces the personal character of the invitation. Don’t look over your shoulder at what other disciples are doing. Focus on your own call.

To Ponder

  • Many people have come to admire, and be grateful for, the ministry of great Christian leaders, who are often marked by their outstanding gifts as communicators. In some cases, there is some disappointment when they leave a church appointment; as, without their distinctive leadership, the impetus fades. Is not Jesus here reminding us that his work involves the building of a self-sustaining community rather than a personality cult? How can you help build such a self-sustaining community?
  • We can often value the fellowship of ‘like-minded people’. But in calling the disciples Jesus was emphasising that the kingdom of God and the mission of God are far more wide-ranging than our personal tastes, fancies and preferences. We are called to work for God with people of very different convictions. Charles Wesley would have us believe that “we think and speak the same”. How do you respond to that challenge?
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