Common, Flawed Vessels

by Paul Tautges | August 27, 2013 8:03 am

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). God makes himself very clear. The reason He chooses to use ordinary people to accomplish the supernatural work of spreading the saving gospel of Jesus Christ is so that His power and glory are made more manifest and so that our confidence is not in ourselves, but in Him alone.

More often than not, God chooses to use plain, ordinary, weak men and women to do His work. This is one of the many ways we see that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Jesus’ calling and choosing of the Twelve is a vivid example.

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)

After spending 8-10 hours in prayer, in the dark, Jesus chose the Twelve. He called them to Himself, for Himself, and for His purposes. The Gospel of Mark “says that this purpose was threefold: that they might be with Him (for training), that He might send them forth, and that they might have authority to cast out demons” (Herschel Hobbs). These twelve He then called “apostles,” sent ones, ambassadors, His official representatives.

But who were these men? Whom did Jesus select to be responsible to take the only saving message to the ends of the earth? Though they would go down in history as being very significant, they were insignificant when they were chosen. Christ would build His church upon them (Ephesians 2:20) and the wall of the heavenly city would forever pay tribute to them (Rev 21:14).

So, whom did Jesus build His entire church upon? Were they men with powerful speaking skills? Were they highly-educated? No. They were just common, ordinary men; men with many flaws.

Clearly, we can see that there really was nothing special about these guys. There were no “big guns” in the group. No high-society influencers. No guys showing off “power ties” at their business meetings. They were just ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of people. More than that, they had more flaws than you could shake a stick at. But they had something else—or should I say Someone—who made all the difference.

Acts 4:13 informs us that the opponents of the gospel “observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Can that be said of me? Can that be said of you? Is it apparent that we have been with Jesus?

Ordinary, but Precious to the Savior

These men were dear and precious to our Savior. One evidence of this is the manner in which Jesus prayed for them in the night before He was betrayed by Judas (read John 17:6-18). These beautiful words give us a glimpse of the tender love and compassion that Jesus had toward these very ordinary men. But He did not stop there. He went on to pray for you and for me. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20).

This brief look at the Twelve should encourage us greatly. God is not looking for superstars. He is looking for common, ordinary men and women who will surrender all for Him and His kingdom. And whenever God calls us to be involved in His work, He also equips us for it. He gives us just the right spiritual gifts. And, of course, He has already given us the Holy Spirit, who is the true power behind anything that you and I accomplish for the Lord’s glory.

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