Today, let’s key in on “the twelve.” In churcheeze, the 12 refers to Jesus’ twelve apostles. Anyone care to name them all? Get out the old children’s chorus books. Maybe you have a song for naming them. No? Well, Matthew will help us out.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James, son of Zebedee and his brother John: Matt. 10:2
Yes, these two sets of brothers are well known—all fishermen living on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. Probably Peter and James are named first because they are the older brothers of each set. Okay, that’s four. What about the other eight? Notice how they are grouped in pairs.
Phillip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus; Simon the zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Matt. 10;2-4
Some are listed just by their name; others are identified as “tax collector,” “son of…,” “the zealot,” or “who betrayed him.” I guess Peter is glad not to be listed as “the one who denied him.” (Just a side thought.) Matthew gives this list before telling about them going out two by two to share the Good News just as Jesus had been doing. I’m wondering if this is the pairing list. If so, it looks like Thomas and Matthew are traveling buddies.
This may seem a bit boring, kind of like, “Okay, what’s the point?” Stay with me here, and I’ll show you how my mind works as I’m in process of researching the character of Matthew.
It is more than obvious that Matthew is known as the tax collector. Amazingly, the story of his conversion and calling is the only mention of Matthew, other than the listings of the apostles. Could it be that, even after Jesus called him as a disciple, he heard the other disciples whisper this title behind his back on occasion? Hmm.
Another disciple we never hear about is James, son of Alphaeus. Keep his name in your mind as we will look at a possible connection with him next week.
Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:12-16, and Acts 1:13 also give a list of the apostles with only slight variations of order and names. (For instance, Thaddaeus appears to also be known as Judas, son of James.)
Luke’s account tells us what Jesus did before he called out these specific twelve from among the many disciples who had been following him.
Jesus went out to the mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles. Luke 6:12-13
As always, Jesus prayed before making important decisions—a model for us. He also prayed as a regular pattern—again, a model for us.
My questions, when thinking of these men who had been set apart by Jesus, are:
What were their lives like up to this point?
What were their personalities? What potential did Jesus see in each of them?
How will He use each of their gifts and life experiences to be his designated leaders?
We will explore these ideas in the next couple of weeks by keying in on Matthew. Join me for the adventure!
~ Joyce ~