Summary: When Jesus launched His ministry, He could have been a one-man show, but rather than going solo, Jesus chose a team and trained them to help Him.
Happy Father’s Day! I thank God for every father who has accepted the role to be the spiritual leader of your family. A father who was walking down the hall outside his young son’s bedroom heard hin pray, “Dear God, make me the kind of man my Daddy is.” That night, the Father prayed, “Dear God, make me the kind of father my son needs me to be.” Dads, keep affirming your kids the way God the Father did. He said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Tell your kids often, “I love you and I’m proud of you.”
When Jesus launched His ministry, He could have been a one-man show, except in His case it would have been a One-God show, because Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. But rather than going solo, Jesus chose a team and trained them to help Him.
Can you remember the first team you were ever on? When I grew up in South Alabama in the 1960s, T-ball hadn’t been invented, so my first team was in Little League. Our town was so small we only had two Little League teams, the Yankees and the Rebels. Guess which team all the guys wanted to be on? The rebels, of course. When I grew up, the word Yankees was usually preceded by another word.
But my dad coached the Rebels, and there was some rule that you couldn’t play on the team if your dad was coach, so my first team was the Florala Yankees, which sounds like an oxymoron. But I can remember the first time I put on my uniform. I was so proud to be on a team. It was my first year, and I wasn’t very good, so I got put in right field and just hoped nobody would hit the ball out there. I learned that when the other team was batting you had to give them some chatter. I became pretty good at yelling, “Hey batter, hey batter, swing, swing, swing!” Let’s read about how Jesus chose His team.
Mark 3:13-19. “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
These twelve men are called disciples and apostles. The word disciple means “a follower.” The word “Apostle” means “one sent out.” In addition to being disciples the New Testament teaches that we should also be apostles (small “a”). God sends all of us out to be missionaries.
During His earthly ministry Jesus had many disciples. Later, He sent out seventy-two disciples. But He appointed only twelve Apostles (capital “A”). In Jewish gematria, twelve is the number of administrative perfection, just like there were twelve Jewish tribes. In Revelation 21 we read that the names of the twelve apostles will be engraved on the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem. In case you’re wondering, of course, Judas’ name won’t be there. In Acts 1, the disciples drew straws for the twelfth Apostle and a man named Matthias was chosen, but we never read his name again in the Bible. I think God chose Paul to be the twelfth Apostle. So after we’ve been in heaven for a few thousand years, why don’t you join me and we’ll read the twelve names together to see if says Matthias or Paul.
But the point of this message is that there is great power in teamwork. God believes in teamwork. In fact, God exists as a team: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Genesis 1 God said, “Let US make man in OUR own image.”
Teamwork makes the dream work. The great American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie wrote: “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to obtain uncommon results.” Even geese have discovered the power of teamwork, that’s why they fly in a v-formation. The air vortex created from the goose in front of them provides lift for them. Geese can fly 76% farther when they fly in formation than by flying solo.
As we talk about teamwork today, we’ll talk about the team Jesus formed, and I want you to experience the remarkable power of teamwork by challenging you to be a part of several spiritual teams.