Today’s reading: Luke 6:1-31
Stuck right in between important passages on the Sabbath and Luke’s version of the Beatitudes is an important passage that often gets overlooked:
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Luke 6:12-16
This passage is important because it shows that the selection of the Apostles was more than the organic calling of them out of society that the other gospel versions portray. While Jesus certainly does call the Apostles individually to follow him, each responding to the call, he also at this point makes it “official”. Jesus prays all night on this matter. I think it would be going a little too far to suggest that Jesus was trying to decide which of his many disciples would be named Apostles for the rest of scripture suggests each was directly called by Jesus. However, I think we can safely infer that Jesus spent the night in prayer to emphasize and make holy that which he was about to do. He formally calls the twelve out of his other disciples and elevates them to a special role. The passage clearly states that he did this in front of his other disciples which implies there was some formal ceremony or recognition that was publically made to the larger community. Therefore, we should expect the same going forward. This suggests that future leaders of the community will be called by the Lord and then formally recognized the proper authority in front of the larger community. This is who it has been done with the priesthood since the founding of the Catholic church.
Tomorrow: Luke 6:32-49