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Message Monday: Training the Twelve – The Call Matthew 09:35-10:04

12 Feb

Originally Preached 02/04/18Jesus walking with disciples

Intro:

  • Recently, the television show Worst Cooks in America came onto my radar.
  • The show takes a group of the self-proclaimed worst cooks in America and over a number of weeks, through cooking demonstrations and competitions attempts to have two master chefs transform these cooks.
  • Caroline likes to watch all kinds of cooking shows, but I seldom watch them because I need no encouragement to find something else to eat.
  • But one weekend I overheard the show, and the participants sharing some of their stories and foibles in the kitchen. And as much as I hate to admit it, I began to engage with their stories as ordinary people who wanted to do something better.
  • Do those sorts of shows capture your attention as well?
    • It may not be Worst Cooks in America, but perhaps you loved American Idol, the Voice, or America’s Got Talent. Each week ordinary people competed and the shows share their story.
    • You may have been a part of The Biggest Loser craze a few years ago and watched with amazement as overweight people transformed.
    • Perhaps you remember with fondness shows like Trading Spaces or other similar home remodel and redecorating shows. Every episode you are introduced to new people and the story of how they are making their house into a home.

 

Hook:

  • While we could continue naming shows, there is a theme in these shows that engages us: take someone ordinary and help them transform.
  • Is it any wonder that when we look at the gospels and our Savior that we see that theme originating with him?
  • Jesus knows our humanity and understands that we all love to see someone transformed – and that is why he calls us to a journey of discipleship.
  • We are beginning a series that focuses on Jesus’ relationship with his twelve disciples.
    • We will see an incredible journey of transformation that will occur as He interacts with twelve ordinary men.
    • My prayer is that we will all see how Jesus wants each believer to be a part of a transformation story as he has called each of us to be his disciple as well.
  • Today, as we look at Jesus’ call of the Twelve we will see three ways Jesus’ call demands upon our transformation.

 

Message Points:

  • Look with me again at verse 9:35. There we read about Jesus’ mission. Notice that His mission had two basic arenas.
    • Jesus ministered God’s Word to the people.
    • Jesus ministered to their physical neeeds.
  • But also recognize that in these two arenas, Jesus’ responses were unique.
    • Jesus did not merely repeat the traditions that the people knew, He proclaimed the Word with urgency; proclaiming good news of eternal salvation at the beginning of a new kingdom and order.
    • He also did not merely provide food or other kinds of benevolence, Jesus tackled disease and sickness, whether caused by human infirmity or demonic attacks.
  • I mention this because if you look at 10:1 you see that the Twelve were called to this exact same kind of mission.
    • There we read that Jesus gave them authority to drive our impure spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.
    • When Mark mentions the calling of the Twelve in his gospel in 3:14 he relates that they were also called to preach.
  • That is the first reason that Jesus’ call demands our transformation: The Twelve were called to an extraordinary mission (9:35, 10:1).
    • Apart from the Twelve being transformed, there would be no hope for them to accomplish the extraordinary mission of representing Christ to the world.
    • Let’s think a bit more about the stages of Jesus’ calling of these disciples.
      • First they were called to conversion as Christ’s disciples.
        • A disciple simply means learner, and in the ancient world it was not uncommon for a teacher to have a group of students who followed him around. Again Mark 3:14 indicates that being with Jesus was a component of their calling.
        • If you look at the first chapter of John we read story after story about Jesus’ calling of different members of this group to be his disciples long before they were called to be anything else.
        • Perhaps no better description could be given of this call than what Jesus said when asked where he was staying and responded in John 1:39 “Come and you will see.”
        • More personal is Peter’s conversion in Luke 5 when Jesus commandeers Peter’s boat.
          • First he uses it for preaching, and likely Peter was already sympathetic to Jesus having been introduced to him by his brother.
          • However, Jesus then asks Peter to put out and drop the nets. This was a direct assault on Peter’s expertise as fish were caught at night and they had caught nothing.
          • Miraculously the boats are filled with fish and Peter recognizes his sinfulness and smallness asking Jesus to leave him. It is then in Luke 5:10 that Jesus calls Peter to convert and see how he will be transformed to fish for people.
        • Jesus calls ordinary people to convert and come and see the difference He can make in their lives.
      • Jesus had and has many disciples. Thus Jesus also has many different directions that His call of transformation can take. In the case of these men, they were then called to commit to serving Christ as “the Twelve”.
        • In Matthew 10:1 we read that Jesus called from those who were his disciples “the Twelve.”
        • Mark 3:13 tells us that he called from the larger group those he wanted and they came to him to become “the Twelve.”
        • Luke 6:12 most plainly says “he called his disciples to him and chose “The Twelve”.
        • “The Twelve” is a special calling for these men to represent a shift from the Old Covenant for the Twelve Tribes of Israel and their descendants to the New Covenant for all people represented in these twelve ordinary men.
        • So important was it to make this statement of a New Covenant through twelve disciples that in Acts 1:15-26 the small band of remaining followers appointed a replacement for Judas even before receiving the Holy Spirit.
        • The religious leaders of Israel’s Old Covenant had pridefully rejected Jesus. Luke 6:11 says “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus”.
        • On the other hand these men, though called to a special ministry, at this point were called to commit to serving Jesus.
          • Matthew’s Gospel records an entire sermon in chapter 10 directed towards helping disciples commit to serving Him.
          • Luke in chapter 9, after sending out the disciples on one of their missions makes plain their calling to commitment when he says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
          • Any true disciple of Christ will be called to commit themselves fully to serving Jesus, though only these twelve men were called to represent Jesus’s New Covenant.
      • Finally, they were finally called to continue as Christs’ apostles sharing Christ.
        • This new title of apostles was alluded to in their call to become “the Twelve”. Matthew 10:2 calls them apostles as a matter of fact and Luke 6:13 says that Jesus designated them as apostles.
        • An apostle is one who is sent out. While apostles certainly had messages that they spoke, they were charged with the authority to actually represent the one who had sent them.
        • The Sanhedrin actually utilized these kind of representatives calling them by their Aramaic name shaliah according to John Macarthur.
        • So people of Jesus’ day would be familiar with the concept of the Twelve becoming the personal representatives of Jesus.
        • After his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension when the apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:13; when they saw the courage of the men “and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and took         note that these men had been with Jesus.
        • No matter how we commit to serve Jesus, we all are called to continue sharing Christ with others.
      • While these men were called to a unique task, the way that they were called to a journey of discipleship is like every Christian.
        • First we are called to convert; to come and see that trusting Christ is far better than trusting self. In this we begin seeking Christ as disciples.
        • Then we are called to commit to serve Christ in the tasks he gives to us. In serving Christ we are showing the depth of our personal discipleship.
        • Finally we are called to continue sharing Christ in the opportunities he brings to us. Sharing Christ is the natural conclusion of discipleship as we help someone else take the next step to follow Christ.
  • Helping others take the next step to follow Christ brings us back to our passage in Matthew.
    • If you look at Matthew 9:36-38 you can see that Jesus realized a great need.
    • Jesus saw that the crowds were like sheep without a shepherd.
      • In Ezekiel 34 the shepherds of Israel are condemned for abandoning the sheep they were to care for, and a Good Shepherd of God is foretold.
      • Zechariah 10 also indicates that the people follow after idols, oppressed by their allure because the shepherds were negligent. Again God promises to provide a Good Shepherd for his people.
    • It is no surprise that we find Jesus, as John 10 tells us taking up the role of the good shepherd of his people.
    • What is a surprise is that in the same breath in Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus begins to mix his metaphors.
      • He tells all of his disciples, not just the twelve to pray for more workers who would go into the harvest fields.
      • Thus he is connecting the work of the Good Shepherd to those who will work with and for Him.
    • In his humanity Jesus could only be in one place at one time, ministering to one group of people.
      • Further, because of his divinity, the rescue mission Jesus was engaged in at this point would come to an end, and he would die, resurrect and ascend to the Father.
      • Even so, the consistent issue remained. People were like sheep without a shepherd. They needed personal care and attention.
  • This is the second way Jesus’ call demands our transformation: The Twelve were called due to a consistent problem (9:36-38).
    • You may ask, isn’t the problem solved since Jesus called the Twelve?
    • Take just a moment and notice what happened in Acts 6.
      • As the church began to grow numerically, some began to feel neglected.
      • The apostles answer was not to work harder, or perform more miracles, but to call Deacons to help them.
    • Look as well to what happened in Acts 13.
      • God called some of the church family at Antioch to become a missionary team to be sent out to those who did not yet have a shepherd.
      • Paul a member of that team consistently raised up new people to shepherd God’s flock leaving this principle in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
    • While Jesus call a unique group to a unique task as his representative in the early church, friends, shepherding God’s flock is not just for the elite.
      • The need to shepherd God’s flock is consistent, and it demands for us to be transformed.
        • As we see people hurting, dealing with death and disease, captivated by the mundane and ultimately temporary routines of each day, we should be moved by compassion.
        • If we are not, then we need to ask Jesus to burden our hearts in the same way that his heart was burdened, and he taught his Twelve apostles to be burdened.
      • Further, every disciple should be praying for God to raise up more people to shepherd his flock.
        • Notice in verse 9:38 that Jesus asked the larger group of disciples to pray that the Lord would send out more into the harvest.
        • He already knew that He would call only Twelve, but he asked them all to pray. Why?
        • I believe he asked them all to pray so that as each one of them saw a sheep straying or struggling, that they would be burdened to see that sheep shepherded.
        • And ultimately, if we pray for sheep to be shepherded, then the desires of our own hearts will be transformed so that perhaps, at the right time, we might be one of those called to shepherd the flock of God.
        • You might object and say I can’t shepherd God’s flock, I’m not a pastor.
          • Friend, all shepherding is helping someone else take the next step to follow Jesus.
          • You might need help to know what the next step is for some believers, but shepherding is not more complicated than helping someone follow Jesus.
  • That brings us to perhaps the most important point about Jesus’ calling today. The Twelve were called not because of their unique qualifications but due to their transformation by Christ (10:2-4).
    • While we will study these disciples in more detail over the coming weeks, you can scour this list and will not find a religious leader on this list.
      • Remember the religious leaders had responded with pride to Jesus, refusing to listen to His insistence that they should repent and follow him.
      • They chose their way above Jesus’ way and that is always dangerous friends.
      • When Jesus calls, we must be humble enough for Him to transform us.
    • You can see in Matthew very clearly that there are families represented.
      • You have probably heard it said that family are the hardest ones to receive your witness.
      • That said, these men were transformed so radically that their families took noticed and joined them in the faith.
      • When Jesus calls, our transformation must be apparent.
    • You can also see that Jesus called a diverse, ordinary group because he knew he could transform them.
      • There are fishermen on this list. Rough, plain fishermen. That’s why Peter could not imagine Jesus using Him.
      • There are skeptics on this list. One so doubtful that Jesus had to ask him to put his hand into his side and in the holes in his hands.
      • There is a tax collector so hated that when he was converted the Pharisees immediately attacked Jesus.
      • There is a zealot or two, so radical that in just a few years their compatriots would lead a rebellion against Rome.
      • And there is a traitor, perhaps to illustrate more than anything else that there are always a few tares with the wheat that refuse to be transformed.

 

Conclusion:

  • What should you take away from this entire message?
  • I began this message talking about the Worst Cooks in America. To be on that show and be transformed those people had to admit that they were the worst.
  • Friends if you are too proud to be called to transformation; if you are so unbending that you would refuse Christ’s help then you will never be a true disciple of Christ.
  • But if you are an ordinary, flawed person who hears Christ calling believe this – you can be transformed.
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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Ministry of the Word

 

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