Sunday’s sermon at Open Door Church in Mountain View, California included a segment on how God launches us, often before we feel ready. Our pastor used the context of Jesus launching the disciples to go out into all the world and, “Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” See Matthew 28: 19.
Two verses earlier it said that, “some disciples doubted,” even after seeing Jesus—post resurrection. This doesn’t seem like a “ready” group. With the loss of Judas, their group constituted of 11 disciples. 12 was the chosen number they started with, and were used to. 12 allowed for them to go out in groups of two. 12 is a number of wholeness. 11 seems like it’s not quite ready. Theologian Dale Bruner says that “the number eleven limps.”
What Jesus tells the disciples, is “Go, and I will be with you.” Jesus promises to accompany us as the invisible divine companion.
Using a football comparison, Jesus is “the 12th man.” The term “12th man” comes from Seattle Seahawks’ stadium where the sound of fans’ cheering is considered as an much an advantage as having an additional player to the 11 member team. Jesus is our additional team member everywhere we go.
Jesus’ promise remains true for all believers throughout time. Not just a comfort, this promise propels to go forward whenever He prompts, ready or not. Moving forward doesn’t depend on our ability ahead of time. Our obedience brings His presence which includes His supernatural power and direction to accomplish all He has for us. The angels in heaven cheer for God’s purposes fulfilled with obedient saints.
Prayer: “Jesus please come and be my 12th man. I listen for your nudges to go forward and choose to obey.”