And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; (Luke 6:13, 15 NASB)
We looked at the first six of the disciples-turned-apostles yesterday. Today, we have another four men for our study.
We have recently looked at the conversion and calling of Matthew. He was a tax collector for the Roman government. Those Jews who worked as tax collectors were considered traitors to Israel, friends of Rome, and extortionists towards their own people. It was a lucrative job, but when Jesus called Matthew, he was out the door and on his way to a fresh start with his Messiah. Everything he had ever done was washed away by the mercy and grace of Jesus.
Thomas is best known as the "doubter" because of his doubts about the risen Christ, but he was also the disciple who spoke up after Lazarus died. When they learned that Lazarus had died, Jesus headed toward Bethany. The other disciples were hesitant because of a previous attempt at stoning Jesus when they were in Judea. Thomas, however, said, "No. Let's go with Him and die with Him if we need to." (John 11:16). Thomas's doubts did not stop Jesus from using him to evangelize the world. After Jesus returned to heaven, Thomas made his way to India, where he took the Good News and evangelized for years.
Little is known about James the son of Alphaeus He's not quoted in Scripture and no daring exploits are recorded. Traditional thinking is that he was crucified in Egypt, where he was preaching the gospel.
Simon the Zealot also has little mention in scripture, but we know that he was both called and persevered to the end with Jesus.
These four men were called to a deeper walk with Christ and to become His messengers to a perishing world. Matthew had piled up sin for years, but none of that mattered when he allowed Jesus to transform him. Thomas's questions didn't matter when he found his answers in Christ alone. The quiet, behind the scenes servants, James and Simon the Zealot were no less used of God because they were not as flamboyant and well-known as some of the other apostles. In fact, they were called to serve, and that's exactly what they did.
We, too, are called to serve our Risen Savior. Neither the sin of our past, our doubts, nor our quiet, unobtrusive manner should keep us or our loved ones from being servants in the Kingdom of God.
What is it that holds you back from the call of Christ in your life? Let it go.
Pray today that we and our loved ones will allow Christ to remove everything that keeps us from following Him with all our hearts, and that we can be useful in His Kingdom.
Heres the link to last night's Lenten devotional.