Wednesday, June 21, 2017
“Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.” (Luke 6:12-19).
This week at the Lord’s Table, our Gospel reading comes from Luke chapter 6, verses 12-19 where Jesus has just chosen 12 of his followers to become the first apostles, the human founders of the divine church. At first glance, this passage begins with nothing more than a list of names. But upon a closer examination, there are two seemingly unrelated concepts here that beg for our earnest attention. Being chosen and being healed. The passage begins with Jesus prayerfully choosing the apostles in verse 13, and it ends with the healing of all in verse 19. What’s the relationship with being chosen and being healed?
Well first, we must ponder what it means to not be chosen. To not be chosen, is to be rejected, to be abandoned, to be forgotten. Jesus understood rejection all too well. Not only was he rejected but in a sick twist when he was finally chosen it was not as Lord and King, no, Jesus was chosen for execution for crimes he had not committed. The people Jesus came to save were the same people who crucified him. And those people he came to save, well they understood rejection too. The history of the Jews was filled with stories of rejection, exploitation, and slavery. The God of Scripture declared that they were his people, but the Jews felt anything except chosen. What about you? Do you feel chosen or do you feel rejected? If you answered no, you are not alone. Many of us often feel rejected, at the cross, Jesus Christ himself cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Now you may have been great at sports growing up as a kid, but that’s not my testimony. I was never very good at sports. And I was always reminded about my lack of ability by the fact that when the team captains were making their picks for who they wanted on their team, I was never chosen. No matter how great at sports you might be good at today, the truth is far too often we are not chosen. We are not chosen for that job. We are not chosen by that woman or man of our dreams. We are not chosen as the prize winner, not chosen as the number one this or that, not chosen but rejected. And the truth is no matter how tough you might be, not being chosen hurts. Not being chosen leaves us in need of healing. But there is One who has chosen us. Regardless of our ability or lack thereof, regardless of our net worth, our looks, or even the horrible things we have done, God has chosen us. As you begin your small group discussion today, know that God has chosen you in Christ and in Christ you can be healed.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.