Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft talk about Jesus choosing ordinary, broken people; misfits: ‘When Jesus chose his disciples, it appears he went for the worst of the worst. Think about them: Whenever Peter opened his mouth he put his foot in it. James and John were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder”, not because they had digestive problems, but almost certainly because they were bad tempered. We’re told in the gospels that they were ambitious. When Jesus had been telling them about how he was going to die on the cross, James and John said, “Could you do us a favour? After you’ve done your suffering could we sit at your right and left and be really important people?” Jesus wasn’t impressed (Mark 10:35-40).
They were also competitive. As Peter and John ran to the tomb when they heard that Jesus had risen from the dead, John couldn’t resist telling us that he was a faster runner than Peter (John 20:3-4). (Note: If you read to the end of his book John tells us that there are many good stories he’s left out – but he still thought it was important to let us know who was the quickest over 100 metres…)
They were vengeful and violent. When some Samaritan villagers didn’t invite them in for a cup of tea, they suggested to Jesus that they should call down fire from heaven and have them burnt up (Luke 9:54). Jesus must have wondered whether they would ever understand.
One of the disciples, Simon, was a Zealot. In other words, he was trying to violently overthrow the occupying Roman army. Today he could well be labelled a terrorist. Matthew collected taxes from his own people on behalf on the occupying Roman power and was regarded as a traitor to Israel. Thomas was every pastor’s worst nightmare. He was negative, wouldn’t believe anything anyone said and always seemed to see the cup as half-empty. Yet Jesus chose them. He loved them. He was committed to them. For three years they misunderstood him and had wrong motives but Jesus didn’t give up on them. In the end his love changed them and they changed the world.
If we want to look at some other characters in the Bible, think about this: Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stutter, Gideon was afraid, Samson was a flirt, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah was too young, David was an adulterer and a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Job went bankrupt, Peter denied Jesus (three times!), the disciples fell asleep whilst they were praying, the Samaritan woman was divorced (and quite possibly a sex addict), Zacchaeus was too small, Paul murdered Christians, Timothy probably had an ulcer and Lazarus was dead! If God can use a dead man he can use us.
Source: Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft, Everyday Supernatural, 2016, Colorado Springs USA: David C. Cook Publishers, p.62-63