Summary: He chose us, we did not choose Him
“You did not choose Me but I chose you…”
To begin, keep your place in John 15 and let’s go together to the 6th chapter of Luke’s Gospel and read verses 12-16.
“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
When men want to accomplish something in this world one of the first things they do is to gather supporters. If a man wants to mount a military operation he must first build an army. If he wants to build a large public building he usually needs the backing of the public in some way. He needs finances, permits, blueprints and so forth. When a man has an idea for an invention or some innovative measure that would in some way benefit society, he seeks the agreement and approval of those in a position to help him reach his goals.
When a person wants to learn and become proficient in a particular course of study and area of knowledge and expertise, the student would be wise to seek out the foremost authority on the topic of his or her pursuit and convince or commission that expert to be their teacher.
None of these things are true in the case of the Son of God, who needed no help, no approval, no financial backing, no human counsel for the task the Father sent Him to accomplish.
I don’t want to stay in Luke, and if you’ve already gone back to our text that’s fine, you don’t need to return to Luke. But if you were to glance over the fifth and sixth chapters of that Gospel you would observe that prior to choosing any of His apostles Jesus of Nazareth had driven out unclean spirits, healed many in Capernaum and the region of Galilee, asserted His divine authority to forgive sin, cleansed a leper (at least one), and declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath.
Christ’s choosing of the 12 out of all who were at that point following Him then, rather than meeting a need He would have for support or companionship or assistance in accomplishing His mission, was for their sake and ours more than His own.
As we come to look deeper into these verses today I believe we will find ample support for my statement.
CHOSEN NOT CHOOSERS
One thing that we must not miss in coming to this portion of Jesus’ discourse to His chosen apostles is that He is speaking to them as their Commander. We may tend to focus on the words like ‘joy’ and ‘love’ and ‘abide’ or dwell or remain depending on the translation you hold.
But in verses 9 through 17 of this chapter Jesus uses the word ‘command’ or ‘commandment’ five times, and the message is that our continuance in the joyful realization of God’s love, the fruitfulness of our walk, the fulfillment of the purpose He has in us – all of this is dependant upon following and living according to His commandment.
Now I’m not talking about the 10 Commandments here – although they are fufilled in the life of the believer as he or she walks in obedience to Christ by His Spirit – but I’m talking about this very specific command that Jesus gives to the apostles and through the inspiration of the Scriptures, to every Christ-follower. “Love one another, just as I have loved you”.
We’ll talk more of this.
For now I want the focus to be on who it is that is in charge and in control from the very beginning.
Jesus told them, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” How do you think this sounded in their ears?
First, it was the common practice that disciples chose their teacher. They wanted to pursue a particular course of study so they sought out the man purported to be most proficient in that area and they went to him to learn.
Some of these may have thought they chose Jesus as their Rabbi; that they had heard Him and made a decision to stay with Him in His travels as His students.
And on some level there has to be a decision of that sort made, doesn’t there? In any relationship there is a decision on the part of both parties to dedicate themselves, on one level or another, to each other.