• God does not call the qualified but qualifies those He calls
• Peter and John were unschooled yet spoke with a lot of wisdom and courage
Today's sermon is derived from 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth," it says.
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."
Wow! God continues to speak to me through His word in wonderful ways. The above scripture came to mind recently when I was reading Acts 4:1-22, which recounts the trial of Peter and John by Jewish religious leaders.
The two were brought before the Sanhedrin for questioning after they healed a man who had been physically disabled at birth (Acts 3:1-10). Subsequently, many who had witnessed this miracle — around 2,000 people — believed and gave their lives to Jesus Christ.
This angered the Jewish leaders, especially since the duo had gone further and preached about Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Considering it was the Saducees and Pharisees who had crucified Jesus, Peter and John's preaching was akin to playing with fire.
They were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. During their trial, what stood out was the wisdom and courage with which they spoke. Acts 4:13 says the Jewish leaders were astonished to see that the two were just ordinary, unschooled men who had been with Jesus.
This brings us to 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, which highlights God's thinking when calling us to His service. He does not call the qualified but qualifies those He calls.
Peter and John were mere fishermen when they met Jesus, but our Lord promised that He would make them fishers of men. Indeed, as a leader, He saw the value in both men and decided to enlist them in His ministry of reconciling the world to God.
In Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus also calls Matthew, who was a tax collector, one of the most hated people in Israel at the time. They were expected to collect taxes on behalf of the Roman empire from their own people, which earned them the tag of betrayers.
Many Jews' perception of the Messiah was of a political leader who would free them from this 'oppression' by the Romans. They were, therefore, displeased when they saw Jesus dining with tax collectors like Matthew, who they viewed as allies of their colonisers.
Nonetheless, Jesus saw in Matthew a man who was able to help spread the gospel. He saw the good, rather than the bad, in Him.
That is how God sees us to this day. He created each one of us for a purpose and as such, we are quite valuable to Him.
Many people struggle with their identity and see themselves as a liability on this earth. However, we can only come to terms with who we are when we surrender to God and walk in step with Him.
He will open our eyes to our true value and the purpose He destined for us even before we were formed in our mothers' womb. Regardless of your illiteracy or poor background, you are not useless but a special possession of God.