Most of them were fisherman, hanging out by their boats telling tales of the big one that got away. While a reputable profession for this century, none of them were considered Ivy League material. And one had chosen a profession that was despised by his culture…tax collector. Not unlike the impression of the tax man of today. One of them could boast a little of more extensive formal education and perhaps a bit of nobility hanging around in his family tree. One was good with money, and another was considered a zealot. Quite the eclectic group.
Consider them the original band of brothers. You might know a few of their names…Peter, John, James, Matthew…
They were the ones Jesus invited to ditch their old occupations and follow him.
And ditch they did. But what an odd combination of men to choose for a campaign team. One would think there would have been someone with lots of political savvy to help sway those Roman authorities. Perhaps an Old Testament scholar or rabbi would have come in handy when dealing with the Sanhedrin. But fishermen? How credible are they going to be in front of an audience? A tax collector? Seriously? And let’s not even get started about the crazy, wild-eyed zealot.
If one is going to create a new religion with any credibility at all, JC’s choices for his inner circle seemed to be in very poor judgement. After all…
Originally known as Simon, he was prone to numerous character flaws. As a hot headed fisherman, many times his mouth started moving before his brain engaged. One time he over reacted with a sword and within 24 hours, he lied to save his own skin. Yet, JC renamed him Peter, and chose him as the rock on which his church would be built. Huh? Hard-headed…Rock…okay, maybe I get it.
Simon Peter’s brother, and also a fisherman without any advanced, formal education. Just happy to follow John the Baptist and introduce his brother to new friends.
As a successful tax collector, Matthew was a rich man and made darn good money. But he was despised by everyone. He was considered a traitor to his own Jewish heritage. The fact that JC liked to eat dinner at Matthew’s house was a constant source of contention among the religious authorities.
Simon the Zealot
Simon was a Canaanite and earned the title of Zealot honestly…and owned it. It seemed like every time one turned around, Simon was instigating some kind of coup to overthrow the Romans. He may have been one of the original Sons of Anarchy, but JC took that passion and harnessed it.
James and John
Another set of brothers, Jesus nicknamed James and John the Sons of Thunder. We can only imagine why. Were they loud and boisterous? My mind goes to images of Thor. As fishermen, I’m sure they were full of strength and had plenty of attitude. And judging by the stories of them wanting to take revenge on anyone who insulted JC, perhaps their nickname was fitting.
Nate (or Bart) might have been the one who could boast of a family pedigree. With nobility in his tree, he could have been a bit on the prideful, self-righteous side, but when Philip brought him to meet Jesus, JC took one look at him and stated here is a man in whom there is no deception.
Originally in charge of the group’s money, Judas knew the ins and outs of economics. It’s said he was also somewhat of a thief and helped himself to the treasury from time to time. When it’s all said and done, Judas is seen primarily as a self-serving man who followed JC for potential personal gain. Of course he’s most famous for his kiss of betrayal and turning JC over to the Sanhedrin for 30 pieces of silver…of which he was remorseful…after-the-fact.
The rest of the apostles were probably in related fishing industries since that was a major career path in those days. There were no Ivy League scholars, politicians or royals among them. But they all had the distinction of being common, ordinary men who followed an extraordinary man and message.
All in all, this was a rag tag bunch that was anything but impressive. But that’s how JC rolled in those three years of ministry. When it came time to choose, he wasn’t looking for people who looked good on paper with impeccable credentials and PhD degrees. He called those whose hearts could be impacted by His message, and then sent them out to serve as examples of how lives can be transformed…even lives that were considered hopelessly flawed.
And this trend continues today. God does not call the equipped; he equips the called.