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12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:…
…17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
Jesus made some important choices when he went off to pray. He had many disciples who followed his teaching. However, he only chose 12 of them to be apostles. They were to be the “sent ones” going out as the vanguard of his message. They were to be the leadership to train other disciples. His first lesson to them was a demonstration.
The scriptures say He “went down with them and stood in a level place” where a large crowd had been gathered by his disciples. Then he began to minister by teaching, healing and making those troubled by evil spirits whole. This is an amazing thing as it is presented. Something powerful was happening in such a visible way that the report is that “power was coming from him and healing them all.”
What do you think his newly appointed apostles were doing? Clearly they were amazed. I think their mouths were open! I submit that their sense of pride of being among the select suddenly turned to “why on earth did he choose me?” That is why the text says he fixed his gaze on his disciples and said, “Blessed are you who are…”
Jesus was saying in effect, “I choose you because you know you cannot prove yourself to God. You know you are “poor.” You have longing for a better life. You have wept. You know sadness about the injustices of life. Because you are such a people I have chosen you.
We cannot help but remember that these apostles failed over the years they followed Jesus. Yet, these became the very people who later turned the world upside down. They led a revolution of hope and redemption. They died martyr’s deaths to change the history of mankind with the message of the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Can’t we see that even today we qualify to serve Christ precisely because we are aware we are inadequate to the life changing challenges of life? We do not have to rise to poverty of spirit. We have but to recognize our poverty and call on Him for grace.