Prayerful Decision Making.
Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.” – Luke 6:12-13 NLT
The choosing of the twelve. If we’re not careful, we can easily view Jesus’ calling of the disciples and His choosing of the twelve as one and the same event. We can also mistakenly view this process as having been somewhat random and indeliberate. After all, in His calling of the various disciples named in this list, Jesus appears to have just stumbled upon them and invited them to follow Him. But there was a method to His madness. Luke and the other Gospel writers record that sometime earlier, Jesus had begun the process of calling certain men to follow Him. “One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water” (Luke 5:1-3 NLT). Simon did as he was told. And not long after that, he followed Jesus’ further instructions and was witness to a miraculous catch of fish. As a result, Simon and his business partners, James and John, “left everything and followed Jesus” (Luke 5:11 NLT). Jesus would also end up calling the other men found in this list. But they would be among a larger group classified as followers or disciples of Jesus. But today’s passage records a very special and separate occasion in which Jesus chooses from among all His followers a group of twelve men. He called all of His followers together and selected those men who would be His apostles. The Greek word used to convey this choosing process is ekléxo and it is very similar to the Greek word ekklesía which is translated “church” in the New Testament. It simply means “called out.” It refers to a called people. The men listed in this passage were called out by God for a very specific purpose. He appointed them to be apostles, or “sent ones.” These men were going to be sent by Jesus as His ambassadors and representatives to the world, witnessing of who He was. His choice of these twelve men was both conscious and calculated.
It is interesting that only Luke makes a point of including what took place prior to Jesus action of selecting the apostles. He refers to Jesus having spent the entire night prior to this event in prayer. And the word he uses describes an all-night prayer vigil. In other words, Jesus bathed preceded this process with intense and intimate communion with His Father before He did or said anything. While He was the Son of God, He did not take His position for granted, but modeled for us the very attitude we should have have when considering a decision. He consulted with His Father. He listened. He shared. He sought guidance. He took direction. And He sought confirmation. It was only after an entire night in prayer that He was willing to move forward with His choice. His list of names had been communicated and confirmed by God Himself. But Jesus probably prayed for more than just a list of names. Once He knew the men who would be chosen the next morning, He probably lifted each of them up individually, asking God to prepare them and protect them for what lie ahead. I have a feeling His prayer sounded much like what He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane right before His betrayal. “I have revealed youto the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are” (John 17:6-11 NLT).
This was a momentous decision. He was choosing, setting apart the very men who would take His message of salvation to the world once He was gone. And isn’t it fascinating that His list included the name of the very man who would betray Him? Because Judas’ role was essential in the whole process. His betrayal of Jesus is what would help set in motion the final assault on the Son of Man and lead to His trial, crucifixion and death. Judas was not just a bit player, but a integral part of the plan of God for providing redemption to the world. His choice was bathed in prayer as well. Jesus knew what Judas would eventually do, but He prayed for him just the same. More than likely, Jesus prayed, just as He did in the garden on the night of His betrayal, “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42 NLT). Jesus prayed for the will of God. He sought for the will of God. He ultimately obeyed the will of God, because His choice of the twelve was the very will of God. A decision bathed in and based on prayer.
Father, what a powerful reminder of the many, many decisions I make that are prayerless in nature. I tend to decide far too quickly and without talking to You first. Forgive me and thank You for reminding me that decisions that will make a difference for eternity are those that begin at the throne of Heaven, kneeling before You in humility, obedience and eager anticipation. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men