Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur

Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur

The sub-title is "How the Master shaped His disciples for greatness, and what He wants to do with you!"

I thought it was fitting to report on this title since I had just finished the Gospels in my daily Bible reading program.

John MacArthur is the long time pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He is a well known and well respected expositor and leader. He has authored many books and hosts a popular radio program.

He mentions that the series of sermons he has given on the twelve apostles are among the most highly desired of his entire body of work and that fact gave rise to the book itself.

As the title suggests he finds the men called by the Lord to be rather ordinary but the calling to be extraordinary. By ordinary he means that these men were not highly educated nor were they wealthy or of high social position or even of notable physical appearance. They were, in general, not greatly spiritual or religious or even political. Individually they had special interests of course but they do not appear to have been of particularly prominent stature even in their vocations.

He notes four different stages of their calling. First they were all called to belief in the Lord Jesus. Secondly they were called to ministry. In those two stages they are so very similar to all believers because we all experience that very same thing. It is instructive though to look at how each one was called.

But these men were also called to apostleship and martyrdom.

The training period itself lasted about 18 months or perhaps a little more or a little less. It was a kind of internship training.

It certainly could be argued that they would not have been chosen today by most of our great churches and Christian denominations. I thought once about going into some kind of chaplain or pastoral care ministry. I felt the Lord was calling me to some kind of caring work but I thought it was religious. So I applied to a seminary and was turned down because I was too old they thought. They said they had too many applicants and felt it was a better use of resources to train younger men who could server longer. I was only 50 then so I guess I would really be too old for them now. The Lord did of course have a caring ministry for me but it was certainly not the one I had imagined for myself. Thankfully I was not too old for His purposes.

MacArthur notices that the names of the twelve are usually found in three groups. The first is that of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. The second is Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, and Thomas. And the third is James, Thaddeus, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot. I found that interesting and had not really studied it myself.

He then describes in some detail each individual giving as much as can be determined from Scripture about each one. I found each portrait to be fascinating and very instructive.

For instance MacArthur notes that Andrew several times noticed small details. And that Phillip was very much a "bean counter."

I found the portrait of Judas Iscariot to be particularly interesting. MacArthur discusses Judas Iscariot's disillusionment with the Lord. I thought that was interesting because Judas Iscariot seems to have believed Jesus. The problem for him seems to be that Jesus wasn't the Lord he wanted. I bet that happens still.

I enjoyed the book and endorse it.

1 comment:

Lori1955 said...

Sounds good. I have 2 more books I have to finish first though.:)