Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him (Luke 6:12-13 NIV)
Jesus disciples were a motley crew. Even though He had prayed all night about the selection of His followers they had their issues.
Peter was rash, impetuous and denied Jesus.
Andrew, while bringing his brother Peter to meet Jesus, seems to be in his brothers shadow.
James and John were nicknamed the sons of thunder because of their fiery nature.
Philip seems to be full of questions about who Jesus was and what He had come to do.
Matthew was a despised tax collector; a collaborator with the occupying Romans and considered to be a traitor to his people.
Simon was a Zealot, hell bent on overthrowing the Romans by violent means.
Thomas was full of doubt.
Judas Iscariot was a thief.
Bartholomew, James, son of Alphaeus and Judas, son of James are indescript.
Add to these followers of Jesus, Paul who consented to murder and Mary Magdalene who had seven demons cast out of her, and you have quite a bunch of people.
What all this tells me is that being a follower of Jesus includes everyone.
Are you rash and impetuous, have you denied Jesus? You’re included!
Are you living in someone elses shadow? You’re included!
Do you have a fiery nature? You’re included!
Are you full of questions about Jesus? You’re included!
Are you despised and considered a traitor? You’re included!
Have you been violent? You’re included!
Do you have doubts about Jesus? You’re included!
Have you been a thief? You’re included!
Is there not much to say about you as a person? You’re included!
Have you been involved in murder? You’re included!
Are you a woman? You’re included!
Have you had problems with wrong spirits? You’re included!
Apart from Judas Iscariot these men followed Jesus with all their issues, allowed Him to transform their lives, and became part of the foundation of the Christian church. Mary Magdalene was privileged to be the first witness of Jesus resurrection and immediately evangelised.
Even at the Last Supper, Jesus held out an offer of inclusion to His betrayer by washing his feet and eating with him. Sadly, rather than allowing Jesus to transform him, Judas Iscariot allowed his guilt to overcome him and committed suicide.
Jesus message is the same as it was to His first disciples, Come, follow me, (Matthew 4:19).
Whoever you are, whatever your background, no matter what youve done, come and follow, you are included.
Dont be so consumed with guilt concerning whatever issues you may have that you give up on life.
Jesus can transform lives.
He turned a denier into a leader of the church, a son of thunder into an apostle of love, a doubter into a believer, a murderer into an apostle of grace, and a woman possessed into an evangelist.
Jesus can do the same in your life.
So why not take up the call to follow Him? After all you are included.
Father, thank you for including me in your plans and purposes. Please work in me so that you are able to work powerfully through me.
Have a good week following Jesus,