Summary: This is part three of a seven-part series on Jesus’ disciples and the principles of discipleship. This message focuses on Bartholomew, James, Thaddeus and Simon.
I want you to imagine for a few minutes that you have been invited to the White House and the President is having lunch with you. You are sitting in on his cabinet meeting and they are talking about some foreign issues and they are dealing with some internal issues. They have brought lunch in and it is from Texas. It is some chili dogs and maybe some french fries. He is feeling really good that afternoon and things are going well. While you are eating the chili dog and gathering around with the Minister of Defense and the Secretary of State, you are eating and you don’t realize that you have a little bit of chili on the side of your face. You notice that the President gets up and comes around the table and takes your napkin and he begins to wipe off the corner of your mouth and clean up that area of your face. Then the President of the United States goes around the room and he is cleaning people up from the chili dog stains. You realize how shocked you are from that action. You think I cannot believe this is happening. The President does not do that, this is odd, this is weird, and this is not supposed to be happening. Where is the secret service and body guards?
That is exactly what the disciples felt like that evening before Jesus was suppose to be betrayed, led away, given a mock trial, go to a cross and die for the sins of the world and then be resurrected for our new life. That is exactly what they felt like that evening as their teacher became a servant to them. They tried to stop Jesus because it just didn’t seem right and Jesus looks at them and says a few words that are going to be key this morning. He says if your teacher and your master will do this for you what should you do for others being the student or the disciple? That is what we have been learning about over the last six weeks. We have been looking at the twelve. They were common men with an uncommon calling. They were twelve ordinary men that were given an extraordinary opportunity to join a journey with Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Teacher, the master teacher. We have looked at some of the different disciples so far. We have looked at the first big four. They were James and John, the brothers and Andrew and Peter who were also brothers. They had more access to Jesus. Then there were four others who were Matthew, Thomas, Phillip and Judas Iscariot.
Next there were the four out of the twelve that are somewhat the unknown disciples. They were chosen by Jesus but they did not write any books of the Bible, there is not a sermon recorded by them in scripture, they didn’t give out some major truth, and they didn’t really inspire a lot of parables. You don’t know much about them beyond the list that Jesus gives us in the gospels of the ones that He selected, but Jesus invited them on the journey with Him and as Jesus spoke to their hearts, there was a magnetic thing that happened on the inside and they wanted to follow this teacher. He was unlike the other teachers that they were brought up around and unlike those who claimed to know the truth. This teacher actually knew the truth and He was the truth.
I want to look in depth as Jesus selected all twelve and he focused on these four that we saw on the video. These were the unknown ones. Let’s look in Mark, chapter three and Luke, chapter six and Matthew, chapter ten. This is where Jesus selects twelve ordinary men to be a part of His journey. Here is a little bit of history. When Jesus began to walk on the earth -- there were people that began to follow Him. There were about five to seven hundred people that would show up when Jesus showed up. They were like the home team crowd and then there were about one hundred and fifty that were travel fans. When Jesus would go somewhere they would follow him. Out of that group Jesus spent some time thinking that He wanted to narrow it down to twelve ordinary men who would follow Him. Mark 3:13 says, "Afterward Jesus went upon a mountain and He called the ones He wanted to go with Him and they came to Him. Then He selected twelve of them to be His regular companions, calling them apostles." He sent them out to preach, and He gave them authority to cast out demons. Out of this big group He started selecting ones. He said I want to be with you and I want you to be with me. You are going to have different access. You are going to be my disciples and you are going to be my apostles. Disciple means student learner and apostle means messenger of what you have learned. He says, "Simon, James and John, Andrew and Philip and then Bartholomew and Matthew the tax collector and Thomas, the doubter. Then he says James, son of Alphaeus. He looks in the back of the crowd and He says, "Thaddeus I would like you to be with me and Simon the zealot I want you to be a part." He chooses Judas at the last to be a disciple. If you look in the book of Luke at the selection process of Jesus you will find a different look at this process. Luke 6:12 says, "One day soon afterward Jesus went to the mountain to pray..." This tells us that before He selected them that He went up to pray. I don’t think He was praying to ask God who to pick because He was God and He knew everything. I believe He was praying for God to give power to those twelve common men who He would pick the next day. He prayed to God all night long and at daybreak He called together all of His students and He chose twelve of them to be apostles.