We know Jesus called twelve men to be is disciples and some of can probably still sing the song we learned growing up which names all of them. We see Jesus calling the 12 in Luke 6.12-16 and we probably breeze over it pretty superficially, not really reading what is going on. We know Jesus called the twelve, so let’s move on…
However, Luke draws our attention to a very imiportant fact concerning Jesus: Jesus is up all night praying to God. What is he praying all night? Is it the model prayer he teaches his disciples to pray in Luke 11? Just quoting that prayer again and again all night? We don’t have a detailed record of what Jesus prayed nor do we need one. What we need to learn is that Jesus prays. He is about to take a big step in his ministry by calling these twelve men to follow him for the rest of his earthly life. He is going to spend hours walking from city to city with these men, instructing them in the deep truths of God’s word and will. These are the men he is preparing for the continuation of the ministry of the kingdom of God. And so for Jesus to spend the night in prayer over these matters make sense.
One more note: notice the last name on the list – Judas Iscariot. This is the man who will betray Jesus, in fact, Luke points that out to the reader that he is the traitor. Jesus was still friends with this man; God put him in Jesus’ group. Why? He had a specific purpose in Jesus’ life. Indeed, God is going to put people in our life who will be around for a while but they may betray; they become the traitor, the Judas. But never for an instant that God cannot work his purpose for you in that relationship. Just as God used Judas to make sure Jesus made it to the cross, God will use friends in your life to accomplish his purpose for your life. Even with the bad friends, God is teaching his children a lesson and is working his purpose.
And like I said, we can read this and breeze past it without making application. But here is what is being communicated: if Jesus, the unique Son of God, needed to spend an entire night in prayer in order to prepare himself to select his followers and friends, wouldn’t it make sense that we ought to spend just as much if not more time in prayer concerning the people we choose to hang around with us? Shouldn’t we lose a little sleep to pray that God would bless us in our pursuit of friendship and mate selection (for those of you singles)? I think so. I think we need to pray this kind of prayer before we go hanging out with just anyone. There have been too many times that because I did not turn myself over to God, I selected the wrong people to hang around with. I never got in serious trouble with parents or the law, but I could tell that because I chose to be friends with certain people, my relationship with the Lord suffered. Indeed, who we choose to be around and who we choose to be our friends does make an impact upon our relationship with God; either these people will help us draw closer to God, or they will pull us away from the Lord. Jesus knew it and therefore he prayed to the Father about. We too should do likewise.