Summary: The impact of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus was fully felt in his disciples. They went from deserters at the cross to defenders of the cross.
Good and amusing stories often work on the proposition of an odd mix of unlikely characters:
• The Odd Couple --.a neat freak and a world-class slob have to learn how to live together.
• Gilligan ’s Island -- seven people, all of whom are weird in some way, stranded together on a deserted island.
• The Dirty Dozen -- twelve hardened criminals and a colonel on the outs with his commanders on a mission to eliminate the Nazi leadership.
2. The same idea is found in the lives of the apostles whom Yeshua (Jesus) called
3. These men were witnesses to his ministry; his death; his burial; and his resurrection – 1 Corinthians 15.3-5
4. As in the case of Peter the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) made all the difference in their lives
I. The Apostles Were Called Men
"Jesus was never interested in having fans. When he defines what kind of relationship he wants, "Enthusiastic Admirer" isn’t an option. My concern is that many of our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to becoming stadiums. And every week all the fans come to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in truly following him. The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them." Kyle Idleman "Not a Fan" p. 25 [Jesus has called DISCIPLES, not fans.
A. Yeshua (Jesus) Knew Them
1. Peter – 41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). John 1.41-42
2. Nathanael – 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” John 1.46-47
3. Judas -- 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him. John 6.70-71
B. They Knew Yeshua (Jesus) – 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. John 1.29
C. Yeshua (Jesus) Selected Them by Prayer -- 12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Luke 6.12-13
II. The Apostles Were Complex Men
[Peter Marshall, in a sermon entitled, “Disciples in Clay,” pictured the apostles before an examining board which was appointed to choose Jesus’ close associates. Peter stood there smelling of fish – uncouth, uncultured, impetuous, uncultured, and impulsive. Andrew, James, and John also reeked of fish and lacked refinement. Philip appeared to be indecisive. Thomas seemed cynical. Matthew was considered a traitor. Simon the Zealot was a dangerous patriot. Judas was a thief. The NT tells it like it was. This was a group not likely to succeed. It is most likely they would not have been chosen by a board for Jesus, but they were chosen by Jesus.
A. Consider Their Differences:
1. Nathanael’s Prejudice -- 45 Philip found Nathan′a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathan′a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1.45-46
2. Thomas – “Doubted” – Wanted Proof
3. Andrew – No Notoriety – brings Peter and Greeks to Yeshua (Jesus)
4. Peter – Impulsive; Denials
5. Simon – Zealot – Galilee
6. Matthew – Roman Tax Collector
7. Judas – Betrayal – Pushing for the Kingdom to come?
B. Consider Their Common, Ordinary Background -- 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4.13
1. Not “Ivy League” Education
2. Recognized they had been with Yeshua (Jesus) because they acted/sounded like him
C. This Was a Complex Group Yeshua (Jesus) Called and Led