Which Apostle Are You Most Like? (Part 2)
This is what Jesus' ministry meant to the people with whom He spent the most time.
…uneducated, common men…” [who] “…had been with Jesus.
When we think about the Apostles of Jesus, the names Peter, James and John come into our minds. Some of the other names may be harder to recall. Others might seem like background characters for the deeds of the better-known leaders of the early church. Let’s change that!
Join us to look more closely at these other disciples and find character traits common to many modern believers. Keep the following questions in mind: Do they remind you of friends? Yourself? What does Jesus’ choice of them as His primary ministry say to us?
Let’s start with he unlikely companions: Matthew and Simon
We don’t know much about Simon. But his nickname, the “Zealot,” meant he was a nationalist. The Zealots were a Jewish political movement of rebellion against the Roman Empire. At the same time, Matthew, or Levi, was a tax collector for the Roman Empire. We can only assume they left their differences behind the same way Matthew left his tax collector’s booth when called away by Jesus. (Matthew 9:9)
Imagine being asked to walk off the job to follow Jesus. Matthew knew from experience these words he recorded from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount were true: “…do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Would you be able to leave behind ambitions like Matthew -- or grudges like Simon --- to serve alongside someone on the opposite side of the debate like this?
The others: James of Alphaeus, Thaddeus and Thomas
Like Matthew, James was a son of Alphaeus. Thaddeus (“big-hearted”) had also been called “Judas (not Iscariot)” in John 14:22. Of these three, we know the most about Thomas. After boasting that he was ready to follow Jesus and die with Him (John 11:16), he said “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25)
After His resurrection appearance, Jesus showed His love for even doubting Thomas by telling him to put his hands into His wounds and “‘Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:27-28)
Have you changed so much that you find you are friends with people you used to have nothing in common with? Have you left behind a career if it didn’t fit your faith? Were you once a skeptic? Isn’t it interesting that the Apostles themselves started off with some of the same prejudices, greed, ambitions and doubt we see all around us every day? Yet, each was specifically chosen by Jesus Himself, and in His words, “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” (John 18:9)
Jesus knew these people. Not one of them was insignificant. He invested Himself in them for the entire three years of His ministry with a set purpose. After seeing the proof of His resurrection, they became permanently convinced and began to share His story to others. Even their critics said they had “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6) How might the story of your own walk with Jesus be used to reach others?
Pray this week:
God, once again, I lay down my life to follow You. Help me to consistently put your Kingdom in front of my ambitions.
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