The Year of Public Favor, Part 4: The Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16) -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 13:1 (Summer 2004)
Article: The Year of Public Favor, Part 4: The Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16)
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Year of Public Favor, Part 4:
The Twelve Apostles
(Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16)1

David J. MacLeoda

Jesus never wrote on paper, William Barclay once observed. He left behind no printed books or pamphlets—or cassette tapes, videos, CDs or DVDs for that matter; instead he chose “certain men on whose hearts and lives he could write His message and who could go out from His presence to carry that message abroad.”2 Those men were his apostles. This was a profound observation. At the end of his public ministry, Jesus left no monument of his life’s work. Instead of a body of literature or institutions bearing his name, he left behind a small group of men. These men would produce the literature, the institution, and the changed lives that would be his fitting memorial.3 As Harrison wrote, “From the vantage point of the apostolic age, it is not difficult to see that the most important work of Christ prior to his death and resurrection was the selection and training of the men who would represent him in the world.”4

The strategy of Jesus in training his men was one followed later by the great apostle Paul; it is the principle of multiplication. Concentrate on a few, and these shall also train a few who shall in turn teach others (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2). Jesus followed this practice faithfully during his short time of ministry. In his great “High Priestly Prayer” on the evening of his betrayal he did not pray for the world—

even though he had been sent to the world. Instead he prayed for the men the Father had given him (John 17:9).5

The men Jesus chose would literally change the course of history. They did so not because of their own creative genius, but because they were his product; “they bore His stamp.”6 Judged by worldly standards, says Barclay, they had no “special qualifications at all. They were not wealthy; they had no special social position; they had not special education; they were not trained theologians; they were not high-ranking churchmen and ecclesiastics; they were twelve ordinary men.”7 We would never have “heard of them had not the Master passed their way.”

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