Of the many disciples Jesus had, he chose 12 to graduate from “followers” to those who are “sent-forth”.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
This does not mean that they were no longer followers, but that they were following with Kingdom-purpose – to be sent to spread the Gospel to others.
This rag-tag bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, and a zealot, were not picked on their merit, nothing singled them out from the other followers of Jesus except His grace and choice. We even see, rounding out the list, Judas who would become a traitor. God’s grace even extended to him, privileging him to be sent with the good news.
After spending a night in prayer, Jesus calls these 12 to give them their first commission. He would have known their character and their differences. But the Gospel would unite them as they went to tell others that the Kingdom of God is near.
The message of the Kingdom is not based on the worthiness of the messengers, but on the power of the message.
This is encouraging for us who may feel that we are not ‘apostle’ enough yet to be sent to others.
God’s good news will find a way to spread as He wills it. It is His tender love that even includes us in the process as human messengers of the heavenly kingdom.
Different as we are, sometimes falling short of the mark as we do, but with our hearts still following the Lord, He uses us to be a very tangible part of a kingdom that many cannot see, which will one day eternally revealed.
Let us rejoice that we can be sent, it may be very near or very far, but God’s Kingdom knows no bounds. Let us, with grateful hearts, represent the One who sent us.
Head: Even while sent, we still follow. Think of how to follow the Master by knowing more of Him and His plan through His word.
Heart: Let the Gospel unite you with fellow sent-ones. It is sometimes easier to show love to those whom we are taking the message to than those we are taking the message with. We are not sent alone, so look for ways to share with other messengers.
Hands: Let God show you the opportunities to spread the news of the Kingdom. Maybe just in greeting a stranger at a queue at the petrol station, or dropping a note of encouragement to a friend.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending me with the greatest news of all, Your Gospel. Help me to show your love both to my fellow messengers and those yet to hear the message. Amen.
A song to listen to: Made Alive