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An Unlikely Choice


In her book Team of Rivals, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin described how Abraham Lincoln chose an unlikely group of leaders to serve as his cabinet. Instead of surrounding himself with friends, he chose opponents and competitors. “[That] was evidence of a profound self-confidence and a first indication of what would prove to others a most unexpected greatness,” Goodwin observes.

Some may find Jesus’ selection of His inner circle even more surprising. He did not choose His disciples for their natural potential. They would all fail Him in the end. Jesus was also not blindsided by their inconsistency (Matt. 26:31–33). Recognizing who they were, He predicted what they would become. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matt. 4:19). Later Jesus promised to use Peter to build a church that would prevail against the “gates of Hades” (Matt. 16:18).

Christ’s call came when the disciples were engaged in their ordinary occupations. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishing (vv. 18–22). Their immediate response is impressive but not without a prior context. According to John’s Gospel, Peter, James, and John were already aware of Jesus and His ministry. Andrew had been a follower of John the Baptist and heard him identify Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew (John 1:35–42).

None of the disciples fully realized what they were getting themselves into. They only knew Jesus had promised to use them to do remarkable things. Their future success did not depend on their own ability but on the power of Christ at work in them.

>> Do you ever wonder what God “sees in you?” The answer is simple. If you belong to Jesus, He sees the righteousness of Christ. God also sees what He will make of your life. Accept Jesus’ call to follow and He will transform your life and use you in ways you never thought possible.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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