Then There Were Eleven


The countdown continues.

One of eleven pipers piping

If twelve is a significant number in Scripture, it seems eleven is the opposite. Granted, there were eleven disciples who didn’t sell Jesus out, but they hardly remained faithful as some claim when trying to give Christian meaning to the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Peter, James and John all fell asleep when Jesus asked them to pray. Peter denied he even knew Jesus, and they all ran away.

Granted, after Christ took on His new, glorified body and vacated the tomb, after the Holy Spirit filled the disciples with power and they preached Christ boldly, we might then consider them faithful, but eleven? Before Peter preached at Pentecost, before their ranks swelled by thousands, before they were persecuted and refused to obey men over God, they had already chosen a replacement for Judas.

Christ spent over a month appearing to various people in His resurrection body before He left to take His place at the right hand of the Father. In obedience to His instructions, the eleven, and a bunch of others, crammed into an upstairs room to wait:

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together) [Act 1:12-15 — emphasis mine]

Hardly a faithful eleven, was it. 😉

Add in the reason why Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren — he proposed that they should replace Judas. They narrowed down the candidates to two and put them before God:

So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Act 1:23-26)

So faithful eleven? Not practically speaking.

But that’s as it should be. Christians are to be about replication.

We have Jesus’s direct command to go and tell:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)

And we have Paul’s ministry model:

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2)

Hallelujah those frightened, selfish, confused doubters turned into faithful Jesus followers. Even more, praise God they did not stay silent, but boldly took their stand for Christ, proclaiming Him in Jerusalem and Judea, and to the far reaching parts of the known world. No “holy huddle” that group. They went in power before priests and kings, before crowds of thousands. They had a Savior to proclaim, not safety and comfort to protect.

Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm  Comments Off on Then There Were Eleven  
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