Jesus taught us many important things in different ways; in both word and deed. Even actions that don’t seem significant to us today, would have spoken volumes to his contemporaries. Including how he chose his disciples. Much of renaissance art has given us the image of a young to middle-aged Jesus surrounded by older, grey-bearded disciples. Nope, forget that. And we, of course, look to these twelve as the Christian superstars. If only we could be as worthy as they. Yeah, forget that, too. There are two things we learn about the disciples in two different places which are very significant for us. The first thing we learn comes from the way Jesus chose them. But let’s back up just a bit, and look at the Jewish educational system (briefly) of Jesus’s day. It was a three tiered system beginning at about age 4 or 5 for the first tier. Those who showed the most promise would get to advance to the second tier at around age 10. And those who were super awesome would get a chance to try for tier three around age 14. At tier three you could (if you could afford it), interview with a rabbi to become his student. He would grill you endlessly until he thought he had pulled out of you all he could and then he would either accept you as his student, or he would tell you to go home and ply your trade (whatever trade your father was teaching you when you were not in school) for you would not be a rabbi (a very coveted position even to this day). In Matthew 4:19-22 Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to follow him, as they were casting their nets into the sea. What were they doing? Plying their trade. In fact, all those he called to be his twelve disciples he called from their trade. None were in school, and none were in the rabbinical classes. So point one – they had all been rejected. They had all been told, at some point, that they weren’t good enough. Point two we see a little later. In Matthew 17:24-27 Jesus takes his disciples to the temple, but he doesn’t pay the tax. In the end, he pays the tax but only for himself and Peter. What about the other 11 disciples? This tax is specified in Exodus 30:11-16. There we read that the tax was applicable only to those who were 20 years or older. So point two – the disciples were teenagers. Just a bunch of kids. Peter was the only older one (perhaps as old as 24 by some scholars) which would have been consistent with the way a rabbinical school was setup. There was usually one older student who was sort of the lead student and would be the one who would step out and try things first. But the rest of them were kids! Teenage rejects. And they changed the world. So we are worthy. If we’ve ever been rejected; told, or felt, like we weren’t good enough, smart enough, cool enough. That is what makes us worthy. Jesus called a bunch of kids to follow him and to change their world, and the course of human history. Now Jesus calls us. He calls me and he calls you. What does that look like for you?
— David Kirscht