THE DIVINE CALLING OF DISCIPLES
THE DIVINE COMING TO CHRIST
SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019
Scripture To Consider:
“And He [Jesus] went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.”
“Then Jesus appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom Jesus gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, ‘Sons of Thunder’; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Jesus. And they went into a house.”
Something To Consider:
The above calling of Jesus’ disciples was a most peculiar personnel selecting proposition. Jesus chose not to call the wise, the rich, the famous, or the mighty. He chose rather to call plain everyday men of ordinary character and humble backgrounds. He called a handful of Galilean fishermen. He called a looked down upon tax collector working for the Roman government. He called a couple of hot-tempered brothers of whom Jesus nick-named “Sons of Thunder”.
Jesus also called Bartholomew who was also known as Nathaniel, the one-time dreamer under the fig tree who was convinced nothing good could come out of Nazareth. He called Thomas, later known for his doubting, but who was willing to go to his death for Jesus on another occasion. Jesus called one Simon the Canaanite, also called the Zealot, one of a group looking to violently overthrow the oppressive Roman government.
Finally, Jesus called Judas Iscariot who later betrayed Jesus to an angry and murderous mob late one night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus called Judas to be a disciple, and as Judas prepared to betray Him, Jesus called Judas His friend. Jesus calls all who come to Him friends, if according to John 15.14; “You are My friend if you do whatever I command you.” Therefore, being called by Christ to come and to follow Him is a call to do whatever He commands in His written and revealed Word of God!
And yet, this is not a message much heralded from many religious pulpits in Christendom today. And why is that? Why are not the words of Jesus, the commands of Jesus, and the warnings of Jesus, not being regularly taught in many of our churches today? The bottom line answer is that the gospel teachings and the revealed rebuke filled lessons of a lifetime taught by Jesus in the seven letters of Revelation do not fill church pews and or the financial coffers of the so-called Christian church as do itching ears teachings of organized denominations.
Something Else To Consider:
At first glance the appointment of these men in our Scripture to consider appeared to be certain for failure, from a human perspective. But Jesus saw great potential in each one and He was willing to train them in order to replace and duplicate Himself. That is basically the goal of true Christian leadership in a nutshell; training others to eventually replace us. In order to accomplish this, there must be a total void of all envy and jealousy on behalf of the leader’s part; a character trait much missing from most leaders.
Many of us may not be called to preach, to teach, evangelize, or to become missionaries on foreign or native soil, musicians, or ministry leaders. Many of us may become husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, artists, authors, soldiers, grocers, gardeners, sales people, farmers, students, scientists, public school teachers, politicians, doctors, nurses, plumbers, painters, carpenters, bankers, and so much more. But we are all called by Jesus to come and to see and to experience new abiding, and abundant eternal life in Christ.
Therefore, answering the divine calling of Christ and the coming to Christ leads more people into the mainstream of life’s many employment opportunities other than what has been entitled as the ministry. All of life is a ministry if we have been called by Jesus and have answered His call to come to Him and to learn the lessons of a lifetime He is willing and very much wanting to convey to us all in the classroom of His Holy Spirit.
Without true bible believing Christians living lives of holiness and spiritual surrender to Jesus Christ and His commands and biblical instructions for life on planet earth and beyond, we lose sight of what life is truly all about. Desiring to live godly will produce persecutions but according to the Word of God true biblical Christianity also according to Jesus is extremely essential in the overall plan of Christian world evangelism.
Something More To Consider:
Jesus called His early disciples by name and individually. He also gave them power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons at His first coming. Why would God the Father not want to grant His 21st century divinely called disciples with the same Holy Spirit power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons? Daniel, in his book of prophecy writing of end times, instructed; “But the people who know their God [present tense believers called by Jesus] shall be strong and carry out great exploits.”
All of these men that Jesus selected had moments of weakness and disgrace in the face of enemy opposition and severe persecution. Each of these men felt the sting of failure while wanting to be brave in the midst of danger and the threat of death. But Jesus looked beyond their weaknesses and He encouraged them to be strong. Jesus declared just prior to His arrest in the garden, “The flesh is weak, but the Spirit is willing.” In and of ourselves the job of a present tense enduring to the end believer in Jesus appears daunting. But Jesus taught His early disciples to learn from their mistakes. What is it that we are learning on a day to day basis?
Jesus continues to look beyond our failures and our fleshly weaknesses and still calls us up into the mountain of His mercy and down into His valley of gracious forgiveness. And as we respond to His mercy, we find it to be new every morning and His forgiveness to be almost humanly overwhelming. Will we therefore become friends of God by doing whatever Jesus has commanded us in His gospel teachings and in His Revelation letters and lessons of a lifetime?
If so, as friends of Jesus Christ in this end time generation, doing whatever He commands, such as living a holy and biblically acceptable life we will be guaranteed a certain amount of hatred from the world. According to Jesus in several of the gospels, true end time enduring to the end believers will be hated by those who become offended by the abounding lawlessness of the end times. By many witnessing end time events they were falsely taught that they would not experience due to a deceitfully contrived theory of a pre-tribulation rapture, many will become offended and many will depart from their faith in Jesus Christ.
A Few Final Words:
Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 24.9, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated [as was Jesus and still is] by all nations for My name’s sake.” Jesus continued His end time warnings, by stating, “And then many [one-time Christians] will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many [not a few and not some but will deceive many]. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many [one-time Christian believers] will grow cold.”
But Jesus encourages all who have spiritual ears to hear, by promising; “But he [or she] who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom [the gospel of enduring to the end] will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end [the end of this age] will come.”
Therefore, following Jesus begins with being called and is followed by wise leaders in training faithfully following Him without reservation or regret. And in the end, true Christian believers will endure to the end and one-time offended followers will not! On this Easter Sunday, will we be found by Jesus answering His divine calling by our willingly coming to Christ and submitting our will to His divine plan for our lives? It will greatly help us in enduring to the end!
Our Father in heaven, help our hearts to hear Your Son calling us to come. Empower us by Your Holy Spirit to faithfully follow Jesus’ commands. In Him Always, Amen!