Before there was a United States of America, and before there was a Great Britain, and way before there ever was a Vatican…there was the time of the days our Lord who walked the earth as the Son of Man to fulfill his destiny to save all humanity from the death of sin. In looking at it with a different lens…it appeared that the Kingdom of God indeed had and still has its’ own group of Founding Fathers. Those that stepped out to stand up for the Kingdom of God against the tyranny of the ruler of this world, who is the devil, serpent, dragon, and Satan. All fighting the good fight against the same spiritual wickedness that we continue to battle this very day. It is called Spiritual Warfare against principalities and powers in high places. The Lord began his mission to save this world from darkness by selecting 12 who would be the foundation to go out into the world to spread the good news that he has risen; a set of founding fathers for the Kingdom of God.
What was the criteria used by the Lord to choose these 12 disciples? None of them were highly educated – although they could all probably read and write. None of them belonged to a religious party like the Pharisees, so they didn’t have concrete ideas of what religious doctrine was ironclad to argue over. The Twelve were open to truth. They didn’t follow the ceremonial cleansing, fasting or strict Sabbath observance. Several of them had been disciples of John the Baptist already looking for the Messiah to come. It appeared that the Lord looked for those who were teachable, who sought the truth, and had a belief that would grow. Yet, they varied in personality and character.
James and John, the sons of thunder were boisterous and ready to avenge the Lord, Peter, the first to see Jesus as the son of God, later cut off the Roman Guards’ ear and then denied Jesus three times! Doubting Thomas not only had to see the scars in Jesus’s hands before he believed it, he had to put his own fingers through them; and Mary of Magdalene always faithful.
Peter, Andrew, James and John were all partners in a fishing business. Peter and John were unschooled, ordinary men, Acts 4:13. Matthew was a tax collector.
Simon, called Peter, the Zealot was all for Israel, and supported almost any action taken to stand against the Romans. Remember he’s the one who picked up the knife and dared to slice off the ear of the guard. Today he would be called a patriotic freedom fighter – or terrorist.
Philip was mostly hesitant and lacking confidence; Andrew was positive and enterprising. And Judas, keeper of the money bag was secretive, out to make a buck, a bit devious and materialistic and you know the rest.
Jesus showed us all through his selection of disciples our humanness. If we are looking for perfection in everything then we shall never choose anyone for anything. It is through the gift of the Holy Spirit that all hearts change and each set of talents are utilized to its fullest potential for good.
Which one are you resembling in this battle we are in? Did you ever wonder how the 12 were chosen? At a time when everyone was adhering to the rules of the oppressors who stole their nation? The Jews were allowed to govern themselves by their Temple laws, but not allowed to be independent of Rome. Rome’s iron hand was upon them and their every move.
They had taken over Jerusalem as their own Roman governing headquarters, making Antonio fortress, where the high priests stayed, with its’ colonnade that connected to the Temple, the new grounds of Rome’s Government over them. Pontius Pilot and all the Roman guard turned Herod’s Antonia into a Roman fortress that headquartered Pilot and the entire Roman Guard right inside of the place where the priests of the Temple once stayed.
Think about it, Antonio Fortress, which was the Guard of the Temple and held the governing body of Jerusalem, was now surrounded by armed guard, day and night.
I pondered over the comparison of the events and people of that time in history, and what is taking place today. The people with all their chatter both then and now, going about their daily lives trying to make sense of this strange new thing that had befallen them.
But, mostly looking at the people. How their feelings, reactions, and maneuvers in those times was so reflective in their human aspects of dealing with it all, the same as it is today.
Now, in looking at all of it, we see that Jesus the Messiah loved them all the same. He saw their talents, their flaws, their potential and their hearts. When all the disciples told Thomas they had seen the Lord and he has risen, and the Lord appeared, He never said to Thomas, who doubted, anything like “Dang Thomas, if you don’t believe by now, you never will. Why don’t you just leave?” No, instead he held out his hands for Thomas to see.
“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Then eight days later Jesus appeared out from nowhere, in the same room with them, and WHAM- HE ADDRESSES THOMAS, John 20:27-28, “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
The words, be not faithless, but believing…. Ponder these words. Remember the Word of God gives us the end of the story and the battle is already won. He who has eyes to see it will see… and whoever is being a doubting Thomas…the Lord shall be the one to judge the matter of that purpose. The Lord will be the one to guide each on how he will be and when and what they will come to see and most of all, God will be the judge of all things. Not us. For God’s ways are certainly not man’s ways.
It is interesting to see how all the different personalities were personally chosen by the Lord to come follow him and feed his sheep.
So in these trials that have befallen on the world and this great nation, which disciple do you identify with? And what will you do with your calling?