Lest we ever think that we know enough to make all of our own decisions, consider how Jesus — the wisest man who ever lived — approaches an important decision:
“He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12)
In this particular instance, Jesus is praying for wisdom to guide Him with what He is going to do the next day — “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:13).
What was the purpose of choosing these twelve men?
“He ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:14-15).
That they should be with Him
Jesus knows that His time on earth is limited, but His message needs to continue on to all mankind and for all time. In order to accomplish this, He will prepare this group of men to carry on the work and to teach others to do the same. It’s not feasible for Jesus to provide intense training to a large group of disciples, so He chooses twelve men to be with Him continuously such that they can learn by observing Him and by hearing His teachings.
That He might send them forth to preach (and teach)
After the Apostles are trained, they will be sent out to preach (share the message with others) and also teach others how to share the message. This will produce a multiplier effect to get the message out to as many people as possible and continue into subsequent generations.
They will have the power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils
Not only will Jesus impart knowledge to His Apostles, but He will also share the power to do the things He can do, such as healing the sick and casting out devils. This will bring credibility to the message as people will see that the Apostles carry the power of God.
We will see later how Jesus sends out the Apostles on a trial run (see Luke 9:1-2) such that they’re fully prepared to lead the Church after Jesus departs (see Acts of the Apostles).
Who to Choose?
So, Jesus is up on a mountain surrounded by many disciples. From this group, He chooses twelve men. Perhaps we can envision Him pointing to different ones and saying, “You, you and you.” How did He decide which ones to pick?
As we look over the names listed in Luke 6:14-16, we see some from low stations of life, some who were dishonest, some who would not catch on quickly, some who were not very courageous, some who were related to each other, some who had been involved in other causes and even one who would ultimately betray Jesus.
Yet, these were the ones who Jesus chose (after spending a whole night in prayer with God) so we have to believe that He saw something in them that He wanted in His group of Apostles. And, as far as we know, each fulfilled the purpose that was intended for him. We’ll hear more about the Apostles as the story continues.
Hopefully, you see some similarities between today’s Apostles and the Apostles that Jesus chose. It’s the same number of men. They are men who have spent much time with the Lord during many years in the Church and in the ministry. Their calling is to not only preach the gospel but also to teach others (especially the ministry) how to lead the Church in this era of time. And they (along with others in the ministry) possess the power of God that can heal the sick and cast out devils.
And how are these men chosen? By much prayer and waiting upon the Lord to direct the selections. Sometimes, some may question why this one or that one was chosen. Yet, just as with the original Apostles, we believe that the Lord sees something in each man that makes him someone who He chooses to use as an Apostle (and that’s good enough for us).
We can be thankful that we are part of the same church that Jesus began all those years ago. And the method of keeping it going is the same as the one He implemented — having twelve Apostles to lead the Church (in the way that the Lord wants it to be led) and to teach others how to teach others and so on such that the Church continues on into future generations.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.