that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself.....” (Psalm 4:3)
At the start of our Lord Jesus’ ministry, at the ripe age of thirty, He meticulously handpicked His team of followers, known as His disciples, and later called apostles. The selection was not all done in a day, but in stages, and sometimes in pairs. Two sets of brothers feature in His team. A common thread runs through the selection process though, as we study the category and calibre of people that were chosen. In essence, not one of them qualified---by way of credentials---for the position he had been called to.
Surprisingly, our Lord Jesus did not pick ‘the crème de la crème’ or top-notched scholars versed in the Scriptures. Rather He chose, unsophisticated simpletons; men from the so-called working-class -- labourers who dirtied their hands. Though the majority of them were fishermen, He sprinkled in a tax collector by the name of Matthew. Some of the fishermen were brothers as in the case of Simon and Andrew, and also the sons of Zebedee, James and John.
Ordinarily, candidates offer themselves for apprenticeship or mentoring to famous scholars of worldwide acclaim. But in this instance, not one of the twelve disciples had presented himself to our Lord Jesus in search of the job of a disciple, because none could boast of having the appropriate credentials.
All of them had come to the Master following an invitation. ‘Follow me,’ He told Levi-Matthew stationed at his tax collector’s booth. (Mark 2:14) ‘Come follow me,’ He said to Simon and Andrew, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) Our Lord Jesus chose His own disciples. In one instance, He reminded them; “You did not chose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16)
We are privileged to have been chosen as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. He told His disciples “... no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” (John 6:65) It is not a chanced encounter but a divine appointment. He does not make random choices either. Again Scripture confirms this when our Lord Jesus spoke of “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)
In the Old Testament, God had chosen His own people from among many. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6) In His supremacy and in the exercise of His sovereignty, God knows whose hearts are inclined to abide by His words. In short, He knows those who are His.
The apostle Peter captures this in one of his epistles: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) As portrayed in the above Scripture, we have a duty as ‘the chosen people of God,’ to witness to others what God has done for us; how He has translated us from darkness to light.
Just as we have been chosen to portray the glorious image of God in our daily interactions with unbelievers, we are reminded what the choice of God’s Son means for us in this life. “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last days for your sake. Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:20)
The reason God chooses us is spelt out in the very words of our Lord Jesus. It is to separate us from the world and its trappings. We have been chosen with a clear purpose in mind, so that the world, with its insatiable, never-ebbing lust will not engulf us. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:18-19)
As we reflect on God’s word on a daily basis, we will constantly hear the invitation for each of us to come and take our rightful place in God’s kingdom. This world is temporary in nature and besides, the devil has blinded our consciences to our status, which is, that a place has been reserved for us in heaven. (John 14:1-3)
In the present world in which we are merely transiting, we get ‘tossed and turned’ by the devil every now and then. The scares we bear testify of it. Nevertheless, we take comfort from the words of the Lord, our Saviour, whose open invitation still stands; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)