Was There a Luther in There?

June 14, 2016

Matthew 10:1-4

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


There’s a funny story we tell in our family concerning our youngest son, Sam, who is ten. A few years back my Father was teaching my children and their cousins the Twelve Disciples Song. You may be familiar with it. Here are the words:

“Peter, Andrew, James, and John, fishermen of Capernaum; Thomas and Saint Matthew too, Philip and Bartholomew.  James the Less and Jude the brave; Simon the Zealot, and Judas the knave.  Twelve disciples here in all, answering the Master’s call.”

My father asked the group, “Who knows all the words to the Twelve Disciples Song?” Wanting to win the contest, regardless of whether he knew the song or not, Sam immediately raised his hand. He started off well enough, “Peter Matthew James and John, Fishermen of the Capernaum, . . .” That was it. He thought a few seconds and began again, yet he hit the same wall. After about ten more seconds and with a curiously serious tone, he asked the group, “Was there a Luther in there?” We are still laughing! We will never forget it and because of that we will always remember their names.

You have noted from reading the Gospels that the writers did not take care to clean and polish what history has come to call THE TWELVE. The Gospels present them in all their humble circumstance, prideful bantering and stumbling confusion. I think it’s because of this, rather than in spite of it, that the Gospels also present THE TWELVE as paragons of faith. These men (and there were many women in the close circle of Jesus’ disciples) were as ordinary as you and I are. They are presented without embellishment and polish so we might clearly understand they are playing our “role” in the discipleship story that was never intended to end.

Lots more to say on this in the coming days, but let’s end with what is perhaps the most stunning sentence in Jesus second major teaching session in Matthew’s Gospel.

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

Now try this slight variation on. “Jesus calls us to himself and gives us authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

I will close with the big question. “Was there a Luther in there?” Somehow the name of the great reformer of the church, Martin Luther, had lodged in Sam’s brain somewhere along the way. He didn’t realize he was fast-forwarding through fifteen hundred years of the history of the church to pull that name out of the hat. It makes his question strangely prescient.

It’s time to pull Sam’s question forward another five hundred years or so. Try the question by inserting your name in the blank, “Was there a (your name here) in there?

The answer is most certainly YES.

Daily Text MATTHEW 06-14-16


1. The Texas Aggies and the Seattle Seahawks have a powerful notion of what they call “The Twelfth Man,” which makes any and every fan of the team the twelfth player on the eleven player roster of the team. Do you see how this dynamic is at work with THE TWELVE disciples in relationship to us?

2. Do you see yourself in a “Twelfth Man or Woman” kind of way in relationship to Jesus? How so? Or why not? What would it take for you to get there?

3. Why do we struggle with the truth that Jesus gives us his authority to participate in his healing and deliverance work? Why is this so foreign to us? What might change that?


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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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