The supremacy of Christ is explored in today’s reading in Colossians. The righteous and the unrighteous are compared in the Wisdom of Solomon, and reassurance is given to those who stand with God, very much like many of the Psalms. Both readings spend much time focusing on differences, and the divides between humanity and God or humanity and humanity – a fitting reading in this time of hyper-egotistical world leaders who spend so much time lying and being full of themselves they forget who it is they are here to serve.
The gospel reading seems on the outside to be different. It is the choosing of the twelve disciples. Luke’s version is probably the least known and most neglected of the different accounts of choosing disciples. It doesn’t really mesh with the other versions. Its take is unique and worth reading.
In Luke, Jesus goes to the mountain to pray, spending the whole night in prayer. When day breaks, he calls all the disciples together and chooses from among them twelve, and he names those twelve apostles.
I wonder what God is telling us here. God is picky? Many are called but few are chosen?
I think it is deeper.
He spends all night in prayer – seeking guidance – needing spiritual wisdom. And then we notice an altering of the name from disciple to apostle. It becomes clear that those who are “apostles” have special spiritual gifts, perhaps for leadership. One can still be a disciple! There is no “NO” in this selection. Yes to some, and a double Yes to others.
Another curious element of this passage is its reliance on the sovereign judgment of God. This passage is very Presbyterian! Much of the preaching these days in Oklahoma pulpits focuses on how we have to “choose Jesus”. Time and time again, scripture attests to God choosing us. Being a Jew wasn’t something one chose, but something one was born with. “These are my people…this is my story.” So it is with us.
Here Jesus chooses. There is no indication of how or why, but we come to know why. They do not possess amazing integrity or character. They are not rich and do not particularly have deep connections in top places, able to get good underwriters for their ventures. No, they were ordinary men. They were much like you and me.
But God saw something special in them. Mass appeal. Future leadership potential. Ordinary folk from ordinary walks of life who could reach out to others. Whatever you want to call it. Heck, it could have been you and me. Oh my goodness….it is! This story is about us!