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Summary: If you don't think you are good enough for God to use you (seen from a human perspective) you are quite right and if you think you are good enough to be used by God you are quite right (if your empowerment is by the call of God).

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God is not into CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

Story: Just before I was appointed as Head of the Group Patent Department at Reckitts in 1994, I was given a psychological assessment.

And yes Geoff even despite that they offered me the job!!

Now if Jesus had written to a firm of management consultants before starting his ministry to have a psychological assessment done of Jesus’ disciples, I believe the reply might have looked a lot like this:

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization.

We have run the results of your evaluation of these men through our computer and have also reviewed the results with our psychologist and our vocational-aptitude consultant.

It is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in the basic background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking.

They do not have the team concept.

We would recommend that you continue searching for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper.

Andrew and Philip have absolutely no leadership qualities.

The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty.

Thomas demonstrates a rather unsettling questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel it is our duty to tell you that Matthew and his brother James the son of Alpheus have both left the tax collecting industry.

They have both been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.

Thaddeus and Nathanael definitely have radical leanings as does Simon the Zealot.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential.

He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places.

We recommend Judas Iscariot as your finance director and right-hand man.

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That I would suggest to you is what conventional wisdom would have said about Jesus’ choice of disciples.

But as I am sure you are weary of hearing me say: God isn’t into conventional wisdom, as indeed the very events around the birth of his Son here on earth show:

Introduction

Like Rabbis of his day, disciples gathered around Jesus.

In Judaism, the student was left to find a “teacher” for himself.

However with Jesus, He chose his disciples.

We read for example in Jn 6:70

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve?

Jesus chose his disciples and he chose the five disciples we read of this morning

And all five of them went on to become “apostles of the Lamb”.

This term “apostles of the Lamb” is used in some circles to differentiate Jesus’ 12 close followers from other apostles such as Paul and Barnabas.

Why did Jesus call Andrew and why did he call Philip?

What was special about them?

Well from the world’s point of view they were just ordinary men with no leadership quality when Jesus chose them

And when the going got tough – as ordinary man would do - as at Easter they all ran.

But you see the great thing about them is that

i) they were first called by Jesus and

ii) then empowered by Jesus on the Day of Pentecost.

It was ALL GOD and not human abilities that enabled them to succeed.

And that encourages me when I think I can’t do what God has called me to do! The task is too hard for me.

I then have to let go of my own resources and allow God to operate.

Well, what was special about Andrew and Philip?

They are the first Christian missionaries!

Andrew brings his brother Simon Peter to Jesus and Philip brings his friend Nathanael to Jesus

And where we read about Andrew and Philip again we find them bringing people to Jesus again.

2. Andrew

Take Andrew.

He heard the words of John the Baptist who pointed him away from himself to Jesus

“Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36)

And the first thing he did was to go and tell his brother Simon “ We have found the Messiah” (v41)

This was nothing uncommon in itself in those days.

Judea was the Roman equivalent of Afghanistan’s “Hemand” province today. And Galilee was a hotbed of unrest.

Messiahs had a habit of turning up – and being put down by the Roman army in a bloody fashion (cf Acts 5:34-39)

But what was strange about the Galilean carpenter was that his Messiahship was different to what the Jews were expecting.

John the Baptist spoke about Jesus as the “sacrificial Lamb, who would take away the sins of the world.”

But that is not what the Jews wanted.

The Jews were living as second class citizens in their own country under the iron rod of Roman rule.

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