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Chosen of Christ – character and other considerations

What should be obvious concerning the twelve apostles is that there was nothing at all remarkable about them — nothing that would capture the imagination of the world based only on the strength of their own names or background. They would not have made it into the history books by some other route.

None of them had a high title or position in life. They were not listed in Who’s Who. They were just working class people. However, they were not the dregs they are sometimes made out to be and were neither dolts nor simpletons. All were religious Jews who took their religion and its worship seriously. Most (if not all of them) had been followers of John the Immerser, and all had been followers of Jesus from the time of his baptism. They were strong minded men who went out of the way in search of the truth.

Some other characteristics can be identified and implications drawn based upon incidental information and details in some of the narratives. As said, they were strong minded religious men and careful worshipers of God. Peter’s name springs to mind immediately in this, as does that of his brother Andrew, and James and John.

In their personal lives, we know that Peter had a wife (as you cannot have a mother-in-law without one) as did many if not all of the rest. We find this out by reading two different passages: Matthew 8:14 and 1 Corinthians 9:5.

Others along with Peter sinned and made occasional wrong choices, but they did not allow the making of bad decisions to continue, or did not allow themselves to continue on in sin, with the exception of Judas. Thomas wasn’t a very trusting sort, but Andrew was a quick study, who immediately recognized a good thing when he saw it (John 1:35 — 44).

Judas Iscariot was identified as a thief at some point after his appointment (John 12:4 — 6). As scary as it may seem, and as alluded to, he made the active choice to walk off of the path of right, and he, unlike the others, continued to make bad choices until he died in sin. Only Judas did not make it with the others to see Jesus ascend to the Throne of Heaven, or to have his name recorded on the foundations of the wall of New Jerusalem, as is listed in the vision of Revelation 20.

I have always maintained that if Judas had not stepped up as the betrayer then someone else would have come forward to perform the deed. But it was Judas, and he went on to his reward without asking God for forgiveness. We will receive the same reward if we do similar things — by denying Christ and dying unrepentant.

With Judas gone the others were compelled to call upon another disciple to complete his duties; and so out of two apparently qualified candidates, Joseph Barsabas and Matthias – Matthias was chosen by the eleven. We know nothing of Matthias beyond this single sentence in Acts c. 1, but we do know he also had to have been a faithful disciple from the time of the baptism of Jesus through the time of his ascension, as that was the requirement. The surname of Barsabas occurs a second time when the near kinsman of Joseph, listed in Acts 15 as Judas, was chosen to accompany Paul, Silas and Barnabas to Antioch. Apparently more than one in this good family had been led by others to Christ.

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