Jesus knew that He had only three years to call, commission, and train those who would carry on a mission He had designed from eternity. At first glance, the individuals Jesus chose seem to belie the seriousness of His choices. But Jesus did not underestimate the task before Him. When we look at the whole, we find a rather colorful and unimpressive group—some fishermen, a tax collector, a Zealot. First Corinthians 1:26-29 comes to mind:

Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things—the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.

Their unimpressive credentials notwithstanding, with the directive Jesus received from His Father the night before in prayer, we observe that Jesus knew these men better than they knew themselves. We find that Jesus is the One who is able to make the weak mighty and the ignoble noble. He can transform those who are not into those who are.

— David G. Shackelford, “The Apostles: Four Lists…”, in Harmony of the Gospels, 297.


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