Have you ever paid attention to what Jesus did before he chose His apostles? He spent the night in prayer. He withdrew from friends, family, and obligations, and He sought wisdom in choosing the group that would become His most intimate friends. He had come to give His life to save our own, and He needed His Father’s wisdom and discernment to choose those who would walk this road with Him, share His ministry, know Him, and carry His message on after He was gone. Prayer seems like such an obvious thing to do. But is that what we do? And if it is, do we do it with the same commitment? Do we pray for minutes or for hours? Do we say a quick prayer as we drive home from work, or do we leave friends and family so we can truly be alone with our Father?
So, what wisdom did He get? Who did He choose?
Simon (Peter) – the optimist who had a hard time “getting it.” He denied knowing Christ, yet went on to write two epistles.
Andrew – Andrew was also a fisherman. We don’t know much about Andrew’s character, other than that he was the one who brought his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus.
James and John – they were known as “sons of thunder” because they had a fiery nature. Yet John was considered to be the “one that Jesus loved,” and he was the one who received Christ’s Revelation of the end times. And James was the first apostle to be martyred.
Philip – Phillip was the apostle who tried to look at the logistics of finance when Jesus was about to perform a miracle in feeding the five thousand. He didn’t always grasp Jesus’ meaning during His ministry on earth, but he did long to see the Father.
Bartholomew (or Nathanael) – he was the one who wondered if any good could come from Nazareth. Yet he was one of the six whom Christ visited at the sea after His resurrection.
Matthew – he was a tax collector who offered his services to the Roman government.
Thomas – he was the pessimist whose actions were often based on his fears of losing his Master. Known as “doubting Thomas,” his expectation of evil made it hard sometimes to see the good that surrounded him. Yet when he found out Christ was risen, his reaction was tender and compassionate, crying “My Lord and my God!”
James – we do not know much about this apostle, but it is presumed that his was the mother, Mary, who stood beneath the cross as Christ breathed His last.
Simon the zealot – by the title alone we can assume that he was formerly a Zealot, a party that publicly rebelled against the government.
Judas (Thaddaeus) – again, we do not know much about this apostle, but can assume from John 14 that he wanted Jesus to “show himself into the world,” which could be translated as getting him into the limelight.
Judas Iscariot – we all know that this was the apostle who betrayed Jesus.
These twelve men had different backgrounds and temperaments. Some were unknown, some were leaving rebel groups, and some were leaving despised professions. But Christ was able to take these men and make an intimate family out of them. He loved them, was tender and compassionate with them, and the evening before He was betrayed, prayed to His Father:
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as we are one. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. Ad for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.