The Gospel according to Luke (6:12-19)
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.
In today’s Gospel, we hear Luke’s recounting the selection by Jesus of His twelve closest followers, His Apostles. What do we “really” know about them, though? We do have some clues from the written word that has come down to us as the New Testament, and there is some limited historical documentation from that time as well, but not a lot. When we think of “great thinkers” from more modern times, we know much more and have much more written material to look at. But, in the case of the most important aspect of our lives – eternity – we know so little.
I have always loved history. It was probably my favorite subject, all through my growing-up years. I just loved looking back at times past, trying to piece together in my own mind what happened, when we only have an incomplete picture. For Biblical times, I guess I have always pondered why there isn’t more written information? Then, after a while, I remember why – what we have as the Bible is the Inspired Word of God, written by human beings under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. They weren’t writing to capture history – they were writing to convey the message that God wished them to share. It’s not like the expectation was that they would deliver something as rigorous as a modern historical work.
Trying to “fill in the blanks” is something that humans have been trying to do, pretty much ever since Jesus & His Apostles completed their earthly journeys. You have the other written works from the early centuries, trying to fill in, or add more perspective, but deviating from that primary message that God had (and has!) for His people. In our modern day, you have books, movies, and online programs that are also trying to fill in those blanks. What we need to do, though, is rely on faith. Faith is what helps us not necessarily to have a full understanding, but to know that the one in whom we have faith has only our best interests at heart. And then, when we allow the clamouring of our minds for answers to stop, we can pause and hear the Spirit’s voice, helping us to walk on this way of faith. And, when we pay attention to that still, small voice, we can help lead others on that same way. We can be Jesus’ “apostles” in our current day – we can be the ones that He sends forth to renew the world through our actions and our love for all whom we meet.
Action for the Day:
Take a few minutes now to ask God to show you how to be His apostle, the one who is sent forth to bring His light and love to the world. Ask Him to increase your faith, and that you would be willing to listen for that still, small voice!
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