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Choosing the Apostles

When day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.
–Luke 6:13

After Jesus prayed all night, “He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles” (Luke 6:13). What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle? A disciple is a follower of a rabbi. A disciple seeks to imitate not only his leader’s words but also his example. To be a disciple of Jesus means to model your attitudes, actions, and affections after Jesus. It means to love what Jesus loved, to act like Jesus acted, and to think like Jesus thought. Then out of Jesus’s disciples came twelve apostles. An apostle is one who is sent forth. The twelve apostles were a unique group chosen to proclaim the message of Jesus.

I observe three things about the list of apostles in Luke 6:14-16, as well as in the similar lists in Matthew 10:2-4 and Mark 3:16-19.

First, the lists begin with Peter. Peter was the leader of the apostles, but do you know what’s interesting? Peter was the greatest failure of all the apostles. He denied Jesus three times. He was a major screw-up as an apostle. Yet Jesus chose Peter to be the leader. Doesn’t that give you hope? It doesn’t matter how much you have failed or what is in your past. God can take your mistakes, forgive them, and redeem them.

Second, the lists end with Judas Iscariot. Judas is the one whose betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver led to Jesus’s crucifixion. You may think, “Why did Jesus choose Judas? Did He make a mistake?” No, it was part of God’s plan. Jesus chose Judas because He knew God could use the evil in Judas’s own heart to accomplish His purpose. God can take evil people and evil circumstances, and He can use them for your good and for His eternal purpose.

Finally, the lists are comprised of young men. When we think about the apostles we tend to think about old guys. However, most Bible scholars believe these men were probably in their late teenage years, early twenties at the most when Jesus chose them to be apostles.

Luke 6:20 tells us that when Jesus began to teach, He turned His gaze toward His disciples. We need to remember that the Sermon on the Mount is a message for Jesus’s followers, not for the unsaved. There is nothing in this passage that tells you how to go heaven when you die. There is nothing about God’s forgiveness through Jesus, the cross, or the blood of Christ. This was a message for Jesus’s disciples. Interestingly, Jesus was in the midst of relentless criticism from the Pharisees, but He did not spend his time answering the criticism of the Pharisees. Instead, He focused on investing His time with His followers.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Crux of Christianity” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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