Summary: As we take a brief look at the 12 apostles we learn some important truths about the way that God works through us to accomplish His mission.
A. When I say the words “Dream Team,” what comes to your mind?
1. This picture? Probably not. It came up on my picture search. Animated movie – Madagascar.
2. If you are a sports fan, then this is the picture that probably came to mind.
B. The original Dream Team is the U.S. basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics
1. The team was a phenomenon, both on and off the court.
2. It mattered not that it dominated the Olympic competition, beating its eight opponents by an average of 44 points.
3. What was important was that the Dream Team was the first U.S. Olympic team to include NBA stars.
4. Since 1992, basketball has exploded in popularity around the globe, rising to a place where it truly challenges soccer’s status as the world’s most popular sport.
5. Much of that is due to the impact of the Dream Team, which attracted fans and followers wherever it went.
6. "It was," said Coach Chuck Daly, "like Elvis and the Beatles put together. Traveling with the Dream Team was like traveling with 12 rock stars. That’s all I can compare it to."
7. And what a band it was. Start with three of the game’s all-time greats: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Add the irrepressible Charles Barkley, as well as seven more NBA All-Stars: David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler and John Stockton.
8. Opponents didn’t have a chance, but they didn’t care. One player, while trying to guard Magic Johnson, was seen frantically waving to a camera-wielding teammate on the bench, signaling to make sure he got a picture of him with Magic Johnson.
9. As great as that team was, today I want to talk about an even greater team.
C. We are going to talk about a different Dream Team – the 12 Apostles.
1. When the time came for Jesus to choose 12 men out of perhaps a hundred or more who were following Him, Luke tells us that he spent the night in prayer.
2. This was certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. (Our most important decisions should be bathed in prayer as well.)
3. But why did Jesus choose 12? Why not 10 or 20?
4. Twelve seems to be an important number to God. It comes to represent the number of God’s government.
a. There were 12 tribes in Israel.
b. There were 12 stones on the High Priest’s breastplate.
c. There were 12 spies sent into the Promised Land.
d. In heaven there are 12 gates and 12 foundations to the New Holy City.
e. 12 different fruits on the Tree of Life.
f. And, therefore, there are 12 apostles.
D. But when we take a look at this group that was chosen, they don’t appear to be a Dream Team.
1. They’re more like the “Bad News Bears” team.
2. They’re more like a bunch of misfits.
3. John McArthur, Jr. wrote a book called “12 Ordinary Men.” In that book he says, “If you were going to recruit a team to alter the course of history, how would you begin? Jesus began with a walk by the lake. “Follow Me.” The Master told them. And they did. Thus began His uncommon mission with twelve most common individuals: men who would become Christ’s very first disciples. Have you ever considered who Jesus didn’t choose for His inner circle? He didn’t select a rabbi. He didn’t recruit scholars. He didn’t look within the religious establishment to build His team. Any of these would have given Him an inside track with those in power. Instead, he assembled a ragtag bunch of folks with unimpressive resumes. Jesus wasn’t looking for religious superiority or extraordinary talent. Jesus wanted ordinary people – people with hopes and dreams of their own, but people who were willing to leave their lives behind to follow the Savior. People like you.”
4. So let’s take a brief look at the 12 men whom Jesus chose.
I. The 12 Apostles – Their Stories
A. Before we look at them individually, let’s make two observations about them as a whole.
1. First, it is interesting that several of them were biological brothers.
a. We know for sure that there were two sets of brothers – Peter/Andrew, and James/John.
b. But we are told that Matthew and the other James were both sons of Alphaeus, so they may have been brothers as well.
c. If they were brothers also, then that means that half of the twelve were relatives.
2. The other interesting observation is that at least four of them were fisherman.
a. The four fishermen were two sets of brothers, and they may have all been in business together.