Summary: Apostles, Pt. 1


Have you heard of the “The Pew Potato Prayer”? The lazy man’s prayer goes like this:

“Dear Lord, please leave me alone! Just let me sit here in my pew on Sunday.

And Lord, guard my seat, the last seat here in the back row. Please don’t let anyone else try to sit here. Lord, you know that’s my seat. And precious Lord please get me home quickly after the church service on Sunday, before all those church people try and recruit me to actually do something that I don’t want to do.

Lord, make them understand that I’m happy and content to just show up on Sunday. Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing my prayer but I’ve got to go - kickoff to the football game is only a minute away. You understand Lord. Thanks God for putting some great games on this week, and thank you for that all-sports cable channel.

See you next Sunday, Lord. Amen.”

At the onset of his ministry Jesus chose carefully and wisely twelve apostles and spent three years of his life with them. In fact, He spent more time with them than with unbelievers and taught them more than he taught others. After training them, he passed the baton of the gospel and the leadership of the church to them. They were strong and weak men, ordinary and extraordinary men, flawed and fine men, imperfect men perfect for the job God entrusted to them. They had different backgrounds, personalities and journey.

Almost forgotten to readers due the coverage given to the inner group of three – Peter, John and James, is that the first apostle mentioned in the Bible is the exemplary, energetic and evangelistic Andrew. Jesus chose him first because he was a religious, receptive, reliable, resourceful and respected person, the kind of person that would make a good mentor, friend and brother to others.

What kind of followers is Jesus seeking? What does He expect of His followers? What is His strategy of reaching men?

Be a Listener in the Path of Life

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ’A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ’The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

Two psychologists meet at their twentieth college reunion. One of them looks like he just graduated, while the other psychologist looks old, worried and spent.

The older looking one asks the other, “What’s your secret? Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man of me.”

The younger looking one replies, “Who listens?”

Psychologists and communicators differentiate between hearing and listening. Hearing is a bequest; listening is a skill. Hearing happens at birth, listening is by choice. Hearing involves sound, listening requires concentration. Hearing is passive, but listening is active and attentive. Hearing is instinctive but listening is intentional; the former is coincidental and the latter is conscious.

Of the twelve apostles, Jesus chose as his first the best and finest listener of all. Also, Andrew was the most religious of them all and had been listening to Jesus’ forerunner for a long time. No wonder Jesus chose him as the first disciple. Besides his day job as a fisherman (Matt 4:18), he was a disciple of John (v 35). Only a person like Andrew, who appreciated John’s teachings, could understand and grasp who Jesus was and why He came.

Why did Andrew initially follow John the Baptist? Andrew followed John because he believed in John’s testimony and the Messiah’s coming. John was the original and foremost witness. There are at least twelve references to John’s testimony and work in the book of John (noun - John 1:19, 5:31, 5:34, 5:36; verb - John 1:7, 1:8, 1:15, 1:32, 1:34, 5:32, 5:32, 5:33). You see, for four hundred years that passed between the completion of the Old Testament and the commencement of the New Testament, God was silent about His purpose for Israel and His plan for men. Not a letter, a word or a phrase, never mind a sentence or a sound. However, John’s appearance shattered the silence with great eloquence, colorful language and troubling words. Jesus called him “my messenger” (Matt 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27), a stunning reference to Malachi 3:1, which claims two things: Jesus is Lord and He has come: “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come.”

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