When Jesus began His ministry, He chose the group of men that would be His closest companions and friends. Those that would walk with Him, talk with Him, learn, observe and most of all witness His glory, up close and personal. Jesus, Son of God, He who was there when the earth was created. He who knew the gloriousness of Heaven. He who entered into time and space…came for all of us…into this broken world. He chose the men that would walk by His side. These men, to hear of them, were not particularly special. Many were fishermen, think of an earlier A.D. version of Deadliest Catch. A few of the fishermen actually owned their own business, hiring others to work for them. One disciple was a tax collector. Tax collectors weren’t any more liked back then, than the IRS is now. Another disciple was a zealot, which pretty much meant he was a religious community organizer. He wanted to stir up the Jews against the Romans. He probably knew how to work a crowd.
I picture strong, working men with calloused hands from pulling in heavy nets full of fish. Probably a bit “salty” and rough around the edges. I think that several of the men were not afraid to speak out and speak up. They knew how to put words together to make sure others listened. A couple of the brothers, James and John, were named “Sons of thunder”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I kind of think those two must have been something else. Loud? Booming voices? Maybe, when they entered a room people couldn’t help but take notice? I bet they had a presence.
These devoted followers, students, and companions of Jesus, learned a lot during the three years of Jesus earthly ministry. I am sure they spent a lot of time wondering, worrying, questioning, and trying to understand all that Jesus taught and showed them. They weren’t perfect. They made mistakes. They often fell short of expectation. Jesus knew they would. They were human after all…..and yet, even so, they helped to change the world.
Do you sometimes feel ordinary? Wondering what plan God has for your life? Do you not feel smart enough, pretty enough, tough enough to make a real difference in this life? Stop that train of thought right at the station! Man(kind) looks at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. He knows our thoughts, and understands our attitudes. He can use anyone, for His own purposes and glory. Think about it…..God used stutterers and those who were tongue tied to lead great nations. He used murderers, adulterers, warriors and kings, prostitutes, and panhandlers, the disabled, and the deranged. He used tax collectors, and governors, and a woman at the well doing her daily chores. He used farmers, and fisherman and children who had fish and loaves for lunch. He used a young brother, sold into slavery, to become one of the most important leaders Egypt had ever seen. He used young men who surprised the king when they walked through fire unharmed. He closed the mouths of hungry lions so they would not kill and destroy. He used the words of a common thief dying on a Roman cross, to remind us that no matter how low you are, you are never too far from the Father’s grip of grace.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV