When Jesus began His ministry on the earth, he chose 12 men to join with Him. Their names are Simon Peter, Andrew, James (the son of Zebedee), John, Philip, Bartholomew (or Nathanael), Thomas, Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus (also known as Judas or Jude), Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot (replaced by Matthias). (See Matthew 10:1-4 and Luke 6:12-16.) Some of these men were well known from scripture but some we really don’t know much about. But no matter whether their names are very familiar or not, Jesus saw something in all of them that He knew could be cultivated and nurtured into something great. That same potential that Jesus saw in these 12 men can be found in each of us! These were ordinary men who were transformed into extraordinary men by two things: the fact that they were discipled by Jesus Himself and because they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. You cannot help but be changed in the presence of Jesus. These men were fortunate enough to be with him physically. We have the opportunity to be with the “Word made flesh” through scripture and prayer. We can take encouragement from their failings and faults because we know how spending time with Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Spirit transformed them. Now we do know that Judas Iscariot eventually chose to turn away from Jesus to the point of betrayal, which was his free will choice. Don’t be lured away by greed, jealousy, pride or even fear. Peter may have denied knowing Jesus three times. But He went on to lead 3,000 people to Jesus in just one day! Don’t concentrate on your shortcomings, faults or even your past sins. Be encouraged by what your potential can be if you just spend time with Jesus and submit to the Holy Spirit.
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 (NLT)
1 IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. John 1:1 (AMP)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It
is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will
not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. John 16:7 (NKJV)
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)