In chapter 10, Matthew gives us the names of the 12 apostles. Reading this list of names is like reading the names of the women in Jesus’ genealogy of chapter 1. There are some fairly questionable characters in it. There’s a tax collector. They are most often included in the term “sinners” used by the religious leaders and were hated and despised by the Jewish authorities and the people in general. One could very well have been a revolutionary, and the others were basically of the common sort; fisherman, farmers, etc.

I often wonder how they struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I know the great, miracle-working prophet, Elijah did. So, it’s probably not too farfetched to think that this mismatched collection of commoners did also. But through their personal connection, relationship with Jesus Christ, they became the Apostles that took the Christian faith around the world. What a change! As far as we know only one of the apostles died of old age and that was the apostle John. According to most church history accounts, all of the other’s died a martyr’s death. John did not escape the consequences of his faith either. We know that he experienced great persecution and banishment as well. But nothing deterred these men from their calling to share Christ with the world. If they struggled with inadequacy we don’t know about it.

In the North Pacific lies the little island of Iwo Jima. Its dry surface of volcanic ash has been likened to a landscape on the moon. For this tiny but vital piece of land we paid the price of some 21,000 casualties in our war with Japan. For the men who took it, it was never a question of a feeling of adequacy or inadequacy, courage or lack of it. They took it in obedience to a command.

Jesus said to His followers, “Go, make disciples…”

“Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2