It takes time and the skill of the Master Potter to craft a vessel that will be fit for His use in the end.
Suppose you had been assigned the task of inquiring into the qualifications of those who sought to become disciples of Jesus. Suppose you were asked to examine their credentials. How would you have voted on them?
Let's examine our first candidate. He has just come up from the beach. His fishing boat, drawn up on the pebbled shore, has worn seats, patched sails and the high rudder that is characteristic of Galilean fishing craft.
His hands are rough, calloused and strong. He smells of fish!
He is not at all refined or cultured or educated. Blustering, blundering, clumsy and impulsive, he does not strike us as being material for the ministry.
Then, too, his age is against him. Why, he is 40 if he is a day.
His ideas will be very hard to change. He will be stubborn, set in his ways. He is a rough man, and he has lived a rough life. When provoked, he is liable to burst into profanity, and his vocabulary is lurid.
Can you imagine this big fisherman as a disciple of Jesus? He would not be your choice, would he? No, we'd better send Simon back to his nets.
The next candidates are brothers. They, like Simon Peter, are fishermen. They come from the same village, from the same colony of rough, strong men who work with their hands for a living.
But you are not going to hold that against them, are you? Remember the Lord Himself was a carpenter.
There is no shame in manual labor, and would it not be to a preacher's advantage to know what it is to do manual labor? Would it not be excellent preparation for the ministry?
These two men are looking at you. Their eyes are steady, accustomed to far distances. They are good weather prophets.
A glance at the sky and a look at the lake, and they can tell you what is brewing. They know the signs of the sudden squalls that whistle through the mountain passes and come screaming down to make the water dangerous.
They operate a boat in partnership, and they are very successful. In fact, they always catch more than the other boats and manage to get better prices for their catch. This naturally does not increase their popularity among the fishermen.
They are not modest men. They have earned for themselves the nickname, "the sons of thunder," because they are always rumbling about something.
They have little patience with people who cross them, and they would be inclined to call down fire from heaven to burn them up. Get rid of objectors! That's their motto.
They are ambitious men, and if the stories are true that are whispered about them, they have been brought up to believe that if you want anything in life—grab it. Their mother had taught them that to get on in the world you have to push.
They would want to be in the chief places. If they became disciples of Jesus, they would naturally want to be His chief lieutenants—one on His right hand and the other on His left. If we took time to hear from people who know them, our verdict would be unanimous that James and John simply would not do.
More Unlikely Candidates
So let us pass on to the next candidate. There is a wild gleam in his eyes—and no wonder. He is a member of the Underground. He seems to be the fanatical type, impatient and nervous.
His hands itch to reach up and haul down the hated pennants of Rome that hang in desecration from the walls of old Jerusalem. His blood boils when he is forced, by some clanging legionnaire, to make way on the pavement and step into the gutter.
He dreams of the day when the kingdom will be restored to Israel. His eyes dance at the thought of the Messiah, at the head of a liberating army, driving the hated Romans into the sea.
He wants, more than life itself, to be a part of that glorious campaign that would rise up to bring back the glories of David and Solomon. But this young man might be too dangerous. He is a great risk—a very great risk. We could not take a chance on Judas. We dare not.
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