When Jesus came into the world, He chose twelve men to be with Him, to learn from Him, and to carry out His mission in the world. We would presume that He would look for the best, the most educated, skilled, and courageous. But instead, He chose twelve ordinary men and empowered them to do the extraordinary. That is the truth that the book Twelve Ordinary Men seeks to unpack.
In the book, John MacArthur, works through character studies on all twelve apostles. He looks at what Biblical material we have on them and then seeks to paint a picture of the kind of men they were. Apart from a couple for them, we actually know very little about most of the twelve disciples. And that is exactly what is so amazing – that Christ would choose a group of nobodies!
I really enjoyed reading the book and I highly recommend you get a copies. I think it will bless you in the following ways:
- Open your eyes to the fact that God can use anyone, no matter how humble or insignificant the world may say they are.
- Challenge you to submit yourself to the loving and equipping hand of God for development.
- Evaluate how God can take and use your strengths and weaknesses for His glory.
- Humble you to realise that it is not you that does the work but God who works through your weakness.
- Cause you to think about the various individuals around you and how God can use each and every one of them.
Here are a few quotations to wet your appetite for the book:
Think about the ramifications of this: From our human perspective, the propagation of the gospel and the founding of the church hinged entirely on twelve men whose most outstanding characteristic was their ordinariness (page xiii).
But worthless nobodies are just the kind of people God uses, because that is all He has to work with (page 11).
Peter was exactly like most Christians—both carnal and spiritual. He succumbed to the habits of the flesh sometimes; he functioned in the Spirit other times. He was sinful sometimes, but other times he acted the way a righteous man ought to act. This vacillating man—sometimes Simon, sometimes Peter—was the leader of the Twelve (page 37).
[Andrew] had lived his whole life in the shadow of Peter, and he apparently accepted that role. This was the very thing that made him so useful. His willingness to be a supporting actor often gave him insights into things the other disciples had trouble grasping. Thus whenever he does come to the forefront, the thing that shines is his uncanny ability to see immense value in small and modest things (page 67).
If you imagine that John was the way he was often portrayed in medieval art—a meek, mild, pale-skinned, effeminate person, lying around on Jesus’ shoulder looking up at Him with a dove-eyed stare—forget that caricature (page 96).
All [Jesus] really required of them was availability. He would draw them to Himself, train them, gift them, and empower them to serve Him. Because they would preach Jesus’ message and do miracles by His power, these rugged fishermen were better suited to the task than a group of glittering prodigies trying to operate on their own talent might have been (page 121)