Saturday, May 7, 2011

A.B. Bruce on Jesus' Choosing of the Twelve

In preaching through Mark, I have come to the naming of the disciples, who would become Apostles. A.B. Bruce makes insightful comments about Jesus' choosing of the twelve-

“Such were the men whom Jesus chose to be with Him while He was on this earth, and to carry on His work after He left it. Such were the men whom the church celebrates as the ‘glorious company of the apostles.’ The praise is merited; but the glory of the twelve was not of this world. In a worldly point of view they were a very insignificant company indeed—a band of poor illiterate Galilean provincials, utterly devoid of social consequence, not likely to be chosen by one having supreme regard to prudential considerations. Why did Jesus choose such men? Was He guided by feelings of antagonism to those possessing social advantages, or of partiality for men of His own class? No; His choice was made in true wisdom. If He chose Galileans mainly, it was not from provincial prejudice against those of the south; if, as some think, He chose two or even four of his own kindred, it was not from nepotism; if He chose rude, unlearned, humble men, it was not because He was animated by any petty jealousy of knowledge, culture, or good birth. If any rabbi, rich man, or ruler had been willing to yield himself unreservedly to the service of the kingdom, no objection would have been taken to him on account of his acquirements, possessions, or titles. The case of Saul of Tarsus, the pupil of Gamaliel, proves the truth of this statement. Even Gamaliel himself would not have been objected to, could he have stooped to become a disciple of the unlearned Nazarene. But, alas! neither he nor any of his order would condescend so far, and therefore the despised One did not get an opportunity of showing His willingness to accept as disciples and choose for apostles such as they were.”

[A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve (1894), 34-3.]


Perry said...

I own a copy of that book, which I'd bought some years ago. I'd thought it would be an excellent read; and, it was a topic I was drawn to and curious about. I was glad to see someone wrote on this topic. But, I have to honestly say, it's one one the very few Christian books I've found so tedious I had to put it down; and, I haven't attempted to read it since.

Reepicheep said...

LOL! Yep, it's tedious, but LOADED with nuggets...

Woody Woodward said...

What a joy it was for me to have the opportunity to lead our middle high students through 12 weeks of study of the 12 Ordinary Men. I learned more than our students.
Here is how I began:
Lesson 1: Introduction, our Goals, Definition of Apostle, How is all Began, their humble Beginnings, A Look into their vast differences, “Look to the WORD”
What about it young warriors for Christ, if you were to recruit a team to change the world and the course of history forever, how would you begin? Who would you pick? What elite colleges would you visit for your recruiting? What would their education and financial requirements be?

Jesus began His ministry and His search for His crew with a solitary walk by a big lake. With a simple command He said, “Follow me!” And they left everything and began to follow Him. Thus, He embarked on His uncommon mission with 12, most common men. But why did the Lord pick these plain simpletons?

Have you ever thought about who Jesus didn’t choose for His inner circle? He didn’t select an important rabbi or a powerful Televangelist; He didn’t pick any well known influential preachers; He didn’t select “Rhoades Scholars”; He didn’t look within any religious establishment to build his team. He didn’t even pick small town preachers. Instead He assembled a ragtag bunch of plain, ordinary, uneducated back-strong workers with very unimpressive resumes. But that was all part of His providential plan. Jesus wasn’t looking for religious superiority or extraordinary talent. Quite the opposite, Jesus was seeking ordinary hopelessly helpless people, who were remarkably unremarkable. He sought out common folks who had hopes and dreams of their own. And back then, as today He still chooses people who were willing to leave their old ways and their former habits, and simply follow HIM!

ASK: What was the main thing Jesus was looking for?
A servant’s heart!

In this 12 week study, each week, one by one, we will look inside the lives of these “12 Ordinary Men”. We will examine the term “Apostle” and find out if it’s possible for believers today to become Apostles the same as they were in Christ’s days. We will see who they were, and what they did before they left everything to follow Him. Then we will see how their lives changed, transformed as they begin to finally see Christ as Lord and Savior, the long awaited Messiah! We will see each of these “12 Ordinary Men” failures, their shortcomings. With every proclamation we will “Look to the WORD” and, as the Bereans of old, “They searched the Word daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)