Summary: The analysis of Jesus choosing the twelve apostles as set forth in Luke 6:12-16 will show us that Jesus uses ordinary people to accomplish his purposes.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He was about thirty years of age when he began his public ministry (Luke 3:23) in 28 AD. His ministry of seeking and saving the lost was primarily a ministry of teaching and healing.
As Jesus carried out his itinerant ministry in Israel his popularity with the people grew. But, as his popularity grew, so did opposition to his ministry, which came primarily from the religious leaders.
About six months after the start of Jesus’ public ministry, opposition to his ministry escalated. Jesus was aware that the religious leaders discussed with one another what they might do with him (Luke 6:11). And so Jesus decided that it was time to choose twelve men whom he could equip to carry on his mission after his departure.
So, let’s read about Jesus choosing the twelve apostles in Luke 6:12-16:
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)
It is common to name major structures such as buildings, bridges, roads, airports, etc. after a person. The person after whom a structure is named may be famous, deceased, wealthy, or so on. Usually the person after whom the structure is named has made a significant contribution in some way, and the community recognizes that person’s contribution by naming the structure after him or her.
So, for example, we have Kennedy Airport in New York, Reagan Airport in Washington, Sears Tower in Chicago, Lincoln Highway in Indiana, George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, and so on.
It seems that almost everywhere one looks, one sees a name on the wall of a building. Just yesterday I was at a local hospital, and the name of one person was in large letters on one building, and the name of a different person was in even larger letters on the next building!
I suppose it would be an honor to have a structure named after one, wouldn’t it? But, after a period of time the structure will come down and a different one will be erected with a different person’s name on it. Nothing is permanent in this world.
However, did you know that in heaven there are twenty-four names inscribed on the holy city of Jerusalem? Those names will be there for the rest of eternity! Listen to the apostle John’s description of it in Revelation 21:10–14:
10 And he [i.e., one of the seven angels] carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This is a remarkable honor that is given to the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve apostles of Jesus whose names are inscribed on the gates and wall’s foundations.
While they were alive they did not know that this was the destiny that God had ordained for them. And yet it was.
Jesus selected twelve men to be his apostles. He knew that they would endure poverty, hunger, sorrow, and even persecution in their service to him. And yet, in order to accomplish his mission of seeking and saving the lost, he needed to equip the twelve to carry on his mission after his departure.
In today’s lesson we learn about Jesus choosing the twelve apostles.
The analysis of Jesus choosing the twelve apostles as set forth in Luke 6:12-16 will show us that Jesus uses ordinary people to accomplish his purposes.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Preparation for Jesus’ Choice (6:12)
2. The Purpose of Jesus’ Choice (6:13)
3. The Persons of Jesus’ Choice (6:14-16)
I. The Preparation for Jesus’ Choice (6:12)
First, let’s look at the preparation for Jesus’ choice.
Luke said in verse 12 that in these days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.