Yesterday once again I hosted a zoom induction of a new Pastor to our church in Malton. The Church has a history of great Pastors who have continued the story. This new Pastor takes the baton today and will Pastor the church not in the way it has been done before otherwise there would have been no need to pass the baton on. But he will do it his way, he will run his leg of the race the best he can and that is how it should be.
Jesus chose 12 disciples who would become the Church leaders (well, 11 of them).
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Matthew 10 v 2-4)
Which one was the best leader? Who was the best preacher? Who pastored in the most caring way? Could any play music (an added bonus!)? Who was the best digitally?!
Any member of a church that stays in it long enough has the privilege perhaps of compare and contrast on the Pastors that lead their church. We all know this experience from both sides.
Well now can you imagine following on from the 12 disciples that Jesus chose?
But of course we know the good and the bad of most of them. Let us take a very brief look …
Simon Peter known for one thing, the denial, but was used in many ways for example in receiving revelation from heaven: “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
Andrew who struggled to see what Jesus was wanting him to see: John 6: 9 “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?”
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who desired promotion to have the best seats in Heaven: Mark 10:37 “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
Phillip who struggled to do the math of faith: John 6:9 “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Bartholomew also known as Nathanel was spotted by Jesus even before he knew about him: John 1:48 “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
Thomas had courage but lacked faith, John 11: 16, John 20: 25, “Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him… So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!… But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Matthew also known as Levi was quick to leave everything and follow Jesus, Luke 5:27-28 “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”
James son of Alphaeus is also known as the less, the lesser or the younger, Mark 15: 40 “Now some women also were watching from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome.” But nothing more is said of him.
Thaddeus also known as Jude who wrote the epistle has nothing said of him in the gospels
Simon the zealot listed but no more information on him either.
Judas Iscariot known for one thing alone.
The more you know these first 12 disciples the more you realise how human, sinful and actually it is not too difficult to follow on from them! You see it is often our rose-tinted glasses that make people bigger than they actually are.
Jesus chose these men, imperfect, ambitious, faith-less people that they were. They all had good attributes but for some we will never know what they were as no-one decided to write anything about them!
Therefore, you can do it, you can carry your own baton as a disciple of Jesus, you may have many reasons to disqualify yourself but these are no more or less than the 12 men above. If Jesus wanted them then he sure does want you. S grab hold of that baton and run your own race today.