In these days He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God. When it was day, He called for His disciples, and of them He chose 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 called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
– Luke 6:12-16 MEV.
How did Jesus determine what kinds of people He would and would not have relationships with? How did Jesus pick the twelve disciples to be in close relationship with Him for three years? Luke 6:12–13 says of Jesus, “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.”
Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? Perhaps for school or work? You know that something is incredibly important when you stay up all night to work on it. For Jesus, picking who would be in relationship with Him as disciples required that He spend the whole night in prayer.
You might ask why it took so long. Could they not have simply made a list and let Jesus go to bed? No, the Father, Son, and Spirit are relational and take relationships very seriously. It would not be surprising that they had some long conversations about Peter the denier, Thomas the doubter, and Judas the betrayer. Jesus spent all night talking to the Father and the Spirit about the list. You and I need to do the same. Do you invite the Lord to help you pick your closest relationships?
When looking at the disciples, we can rush to the assumption that Judas was a mistake and should not have been chosen, but he was part of God’s plan. In John 17:12 Jesus again prays to the Father saying, “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Jesus was a perfect friend to Judas, and Judas betrayed Him. It just goes to show that relationships can be painful even if we did not do anything sinful.
Surveying the life of Jesus, it is insightful to see how He managed so many diverse, complex, and shifting relationships with the help of prayerful time with the Father and Spirit.