Sunday at church our Pastor, Dr. Bob gave a wonderful message on Hail to the King. He spoke of the triumphal entry Jesus and his disciples made into Jerusalem. “Hosanna’s!” were shouted as Jesus came into town riding upon donkey. Jesus knew that the rest of his ministry would be confined to this city, this place called Jerusalem.
With him on this journey were 12 men. Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas; James son of Alphaeus and Simon, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot…..All ordinary, just like us. Jesus knew their faults and flaws long before he chose them. None of them had any exceptional talents or training as theologians, orators or had supreme intellectual abilities. On the contrary they were all too prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith and bitter failure. They were just like us and the people we know. They were real living characters we can identify with, approachable, endearing and real.
As they came into this city with Jesus they had no idea what was about to take place. Jesus did. He was hoping they would “Have his back” like they had been doing these past few years of ministry but he knew this final step in the journey was his alone. As events unfolded, each stayed a step or two back in order to stay in their comfort zone. It’s scary standing too close to Jesus. It can be uncomfortable standing too close to Jesus. Well, we do know how it unfolded, they either stayed way back, denied him or became a traitor. But Jesus knew who he has chosen and knew that the ultimate success of his ministry was dependent on the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those ordinary men to accomplish His sovereign will and keep His ministry alive.
During this Holy week leading up to Easter I would like to extend Dr. Bob’s challenge, ” How close will you stand to Jesus?” Because just like those ordinary 12, God wants to use us too with all our short comings, flaws and failures. He delights in using the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Jesus knew that his disciples would fail, but he also knew that his church is not built on people’s strength but on God’s ability to use people even after they have failed.
How close will you stand?
(Thanks Dr. Bob, John MaCarthur; Twelve Ordinary Men, My NIV and Jesus for challenging me!)