Summary: Enter the word “qualify” in the search block of an internet search engine and you can get 195 million results or more. What kinds of things do we have to qualify for?
Enter the word “qualify” in the search block of an internet search engine and you can get 195 million results or more. What kinds of things do we have to qualify for?
Jobs, mortgages, credit cards, athletic competitions, schools, benefits, loans, health plans, tax credits, insurance, participation in certain sales or auctions, clubs, associations, and the list goes on and on – literally thousands of areas in life where there is a list of characteristics, attributes, traits, or conditions that we have to meet in order to “qualify” for something.
So, how do you qualify to be chosen to be a personal companion and confidant of God-in-the-Flesh? You don’t – you don’t qualify. You can’t qualify. The most amazing position that anyone could have and hold is impossible to qualify for. So, how did these twelve men get to be in the position we find them in in Matthew 10:1-4, where “He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness”? They got into that position because Jesus chose them.
We’ve been looking at these men whom Jesus chose to be with Him in the closest and most personal of ways; to learn from Him, to be helpers to Him in teaching the world about the good news of the kingdom of God, to be the ambassadors of God to the world. So far we’ve seen that they all had a lot wrong with them, a lot to disqualify them. Yet, Jesus chose them anyway.
This is where we get our own encouragement. None of us has a single qualification for being a disciple of Jesus Christ. He has chosen us, saved us, sanctified us, gifted us, and then commissioned us – it’s been all Him. Just like with the Twelve, He takes the raw materials of a willing heart – which could be the only qualification we can bring, except that even a willing heart is something that is given us by Him – and qualifies that person, molding and shaping their character in the process.
As we have also seen, Jesus refines those raw materials, purifying them like silver; but He doesn’t remove those qualities.
Simon Peter was a man who was a strong, bold, take-charge kind of guy who was always in the middle of things; a man who was dynamic in every area of his life and who was a natural-born leader. Simon Peter who would act and speak without thinking because he was one to always take the initiative and not sit around waiting for someone else to make things happen. He could confront and rebuke and be confronted and rebuked – he was teachable, even in his desire to be in command. He had a love for God and a love for Jesus Christ that was bottomless. Jesus took his weaknesses and foibles and used him to lead the early Church and ensure its survival.
Andrew, everybody’s friend, was quiet and unassuming, gentle and inconspicuous, someone who would never speak boldly to crowds or contribute to the Sacred Scriptures, but Jesus used him to be the bridge between people and Jesus Christ like none of the others could be. His seeming weaknesses Jesus turned into strengths.
James, Son of Thunder, the man who everyone wanted to shut-up, was a man who was uncompromising in his zealous love of Jesus Christ and in his willingness to speak the truth no matter what it cost him. His single-mindedness helped strengthen the others when they came under persecution.
Then there was John, the beloved disciple, the one who had a love for the truth and a heart for making sure that others knew about the love of God, a man who was also known as a “Son of Thunder” at one time. Jesus took his single-mindedness and energetic devotion to the truth of God and transformed him into the second-greatest contributor to the Christian faith and to Christian doctrine recorded for us in the Bible.
These four men were the closest, most intimate group of Jesus’ disciples. They are the ones we know the most about.
Today we turn to the second group of four, a group who was not quite as close to Jesus and whom we know less about than the first four.
The first name we find is Phillip, and he is always listed first in the second group all four times the twelve are listed together. This would indicate that he held some type of leadership position within that group.
What do we know of Phillip? Interestingly enough, even though we know that he was a Jew and was from the town of Bethsaida like Peter and Andrew, Phillip is a Greek name. We don’t know what his Hebrew name was. All we know him as is Phillip, which means “lover of horses”. Perhaps this was something that had been of great significance in his early life, something that distinguished him from his peers. Perhaps it was something that he had in common with the Greeks from the settlement near his hometown.