“Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority” (Matthew 10:1).
When Jesus summoned His twelve disciples, He was making more than a casual request. The word Matthew used is an intense term that means to call someone to oneself in order to confront him face-to-face. It is used of God’s calling the Gentiles to Himself through the gospel (Acts 2:39) and of His calling His chosen men and entrusting them to proclaim the gospel (Acts 13:2; 16:10). The vocabulary implies that this summoning was connected to an official commissioning to the Lord’s service.
Behind Jesus’ commissioning and training of the twelve disciples are several foundational facts. First, these men were chosen sovereignly by God. None of the twelve initiated the idea of following Jesus and becoming His disciples, much less His apostles. It was entirely God’s planning and doing. Mark tells us that Jesus “summoned those whom He Himself wanted” (Mark 3:13), and near the end of His earthly ministry Jesus reminded them, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you” (John 15:16).
The men themselves were not consulted nor were any other men. Jesus’ only consultation was with His heavenly Father. Like Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and all the prophets, the twelve disciples were chosen by God’s sovereign will and for His sovereign purpose, being foreordained to His service before the foundation of the world. That has always been God’s way. He divinely chose Israel, He divinely chose His prophets and His apostles, and He divinely chooses those today who become the leaders of His own Body, the church.
Have you routinely thought of God’s calling on your life as having this kind of urgency, intention, and purpose? Are there other priorities that are siphoning off the importance you should be placing on the tasks God has called you to accomplish in His service?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610