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What could have been the 12th disciple

What leaped at me last Wednesday night when a young man in the church I attended stepped up to testify and sing  has remained with me until now.

I can’t recall anyone referring to this or preach from this thought, but I present it to you for consideration.

A rich young ruler approaches Jesus inquiring of salvation, and Christ sums him up as only he, the master, could.

In Matthew 19 and Luke 18 the account is given and in both passages the Lord gives him an opportunity to join the entourage as the 12 disciples who were chosen.

In both sittings Jesus says, “come follow me,” the same words spoken to the original 12.

After the young man gives out his profile and resume of being a strict follower of the Mosaic Law since a child, Jesus gives him a challenge and an invitation that would have placed him into the group.

“Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.’” Matthew 19: 22

To be a part of the most privileged group ever assembled, it required selling out one’s interest to be totally unattached for the cause of Christ.

It was the challenge Peter, James and John and all the rest had met and were fulfilling.

It also required an invitation from our Lord.

The invitation offered to them when they were willing to do so was offered to this nameless young achiever as well.

He did not become a wealthy ruler early on by being stupid and Christ saw in him everything needed to adequately replace the man that was going to leave the group in the coming days ahead.

Toward the end of this chapter, Jesus reminds the following of his death that was imminent and fast approaching.

This friendly reminder came after the disciples quizzed the Lord of what they could expect from following him and their sacrifices.

At the time Christ’s followers did not know one of them would betray the Lord and have to be replaced. Only the Lord knew a vacancy was coming.

The most trusted one of the group, their treasurer Judas Iscariot, would soon turn on them and the Lord.

But, the Lord had just seen a perfect replacement walk away.

He reassured them it was going to be well worth their efforts and go far beyond anything they could ever imagine in benefits.

All of this is indicative of my point of interest that here stood the young man who sadly turned it all down.

We will never know his name or what became of him as he was just another carbon copy of the many who walk away because of the deceitful trust in themselves and riches.

The number who followed suit is innumerable.

In the same chapter, Jesus touched upon both these subjects revealing just how difficult it is to advance into eternal life because of them.

You can be rich and be saved, but you are going to have to work hard at it to do so.

But trusting in yourself will always deny you entrance to eternal life.

In no other place is this invitation offered to any other, yet blinded by the deceitfulness of riches and his own pride, he walked away from historical and eternal fame.

Of course, the replacement was made in the first business meeting held by the early church leaders prior to the filling of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Sunday and Matthias was chosen by them.

But what jumps at me is the nameless young ruler who could have been included, and perhaps be number 12.

His name would have been inscribed on one of New Jerusalem’s 12 foundations and an endless list of endorsements and accolades would have be bestowed upon him.

He is gone now, and we will never know who he was mainly because of his pride.

If I had to choose between being inundated with self-worth and filled with pride, I would choose the first.

I can be helped in time with a sense of low esteem, but God will not come close to you if you are lifted up in a spirit of pride.

I will take my chances as a door mat rather than be up on a pedestal.

Until later, your pastor friend reporting the news for Jesus.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at angelsmannow@yahoo.com