Now it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer with God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and his brother Andrew; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And then Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great multitude of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled by unclean spirits were being cured. And all the people were trying to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.

Jesus chose a misfit crew to launch His ministry and introduce the world to the coming kingdom. Fishermen, tax collectors, skeptics and future betrayers were the bedrock of His following. But Jesus didn’t call the disciples because something about their fishing, their work, or their social standing indicated they were worthy. They were average, mostly blue-collar workers, minding their trade until Jesus infused their daily work with eternal significance. (See Matthew 4:19.) He called them to join something greater than they could imagine.

Jesus called the disciples to walk with Him, learn from Him, and fold into His life and ministry. Though the crowds quickly began to flock to Him, Jesus knew He would build His ministry, and eventually His church, through these followers. As they walked with Him and learned from Him, they would multiply the movement. It would be this community of believers who would carry on the spiritual DNA of Jesus to the whole world. They watched as He went away to pray to the Father. They watched as more followers gathered to listen to His teaching. They watched as He healed diseases, cast out demons, and challenged the religious authorities. He even let them participate.

Jesus demonstrated what discipleship looks like. It may not mean inviting twelve people to follow you, but it does mean intentional investment. What if every man and woman who followed Jesus found a person or small group of people to invest in? What if we all invited people to walk with us as we all walk with Jesus? What if we not only worshiped together but also shared our lives together? What if we taught others about God but also encountered God with them? What if we didn’t just talk about the teachings of Jesus, but lived them out together in service? If Jesus could use a rag tag group of followers to carry out His mission, then He can use us to live out that same mission.

  • What encourages you most about Jesus’ calling the twelve disciples? What does it mean for your own call to follow Him?
  • How are you living out this same lifestyle of discipleship? Who is investing in you? Who are you investing in?
  • Thank God for His willingness to call broken people in broken places. Thank Him for demonstrating what it looks like to live on mission with other believers. Ask Him to give you people of peace who you can begin to intentionally invite into your life and walk with Jesus.