And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: (Luke 6:13 NASB)
The Greek word translated as disciple here is mathētēs. It literally means "learner" and can also mean one who follows the teaching of another. The word translated as apostles is apostolos and it literally means "one sent forth" or a messenger or delegate. Jesus had "a great multitude" of disciples by this time. Many people were following Him, listening to His teachings, and taking them to heart.
Of all those people, Jesus picked only twelve to be apostles. What He needed were men with the commitment, understanding, and stamina to go throughout Israel and teach His truth, carry His message. He needed men He could trust, men who would not let Him down.
I would not have picked the group He picked, but Jesus had help choosing. Remember, He had just spent the entire night praying about His choice. The twelve men He selected would be His messengers to take the Good News of Christ throughout the world. These men had the toughest job, but the sweetest reward. They had the closest contact with Jesus. They knew Him best.
Just before Jesus returned to Heaven, He gathered these friends together and gave them their final marching orders. I think those are our final instructions, too.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19, 20 NASB)
There were two kinds of followers surrounding Jesus. Some were learners and some were messengers, taking the good news of Christ to all they saw. Which are you?
Pray today for a willingness to become a messenger of Jesus. Pray, too, for the words to share Christ with loved ones in a way they can understand and embrace.
Here's the link to last night's Lenten devotional in case you missed it: