|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:12-19 We often think one half hour a great deal to spend in meditation and secret prayer, but Christ was whole nights engaged in these duties. In serving God, our great care should be not to lose time, but to make the end of one good duty the beginning of another. The twelve apostles are here named; never were men so privileged, yet one of them had a devil, and proved a traitor. Those who have not faithful preaching near them, had better travel far than be without it. It is indeed worth while to go a great way to hear the word of Christ, and to go out of the way of other business for it. They came to be cured by him, and he healed them. There is a fulness of grace in Christ, and healing virtue in him, ready to go out from him, that is enough for all, enough for each. Men regard the diseases of the body as greater evils than those of their souls; but the Scripture teaches us differently.
Verse 13. - And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve. St. Luke frequently alludes to Jesus spending periods of time in prayer. He would have the readers of his Gospel never lose sight of the perfect humanity of the Saviour, and, while ever keeping in view the higher objects of his earthly mission, still is careful always to present him as the Example of a true life. This is why he mentions so often the prayers of Jesus. This time the Master continued in prayer all night. It was a momentous task which lay before him on the following morning - the choice of a few men, the measureless influence of whose life and work we, though we live eighteen centuries after the choice was made, and see already how the twelve have moved the world, are utterly unable to apprehend. In these solemn hours of communion with the Eternal, we may in all reverence suppose that the Blessed One took counsel with his Father, presenting, as Godet phrases it, one by one to the All-seing, while God's finger pointed out those to whom he was to entrust the salvation of the world. Whom also he named apostles. The literal meaning of this term is "one who is sent," but in classical Greek it had acquired a distinct meaning as "envoy or ambassador" of a sovereign or of a state. These favoured men, then, received this as the official designation by which they were ever to be known. Unknown, unhonoured, and for the most part unlearned men, they with all their love and devotion for their Master who had called them, little recked that morning on the mountain-side to what they were called, and of whom they were the chosen envoys! The four lists of the apostles copied above vary very slightly. There was evidently in the matter of the holy twelve an unerring tradition at the time when Luke wrote these chronicles at Rome or Alexandria, at Ephesus or at Antioch, - all knew every detail connected with the great first leaders of the faith. The bare list of names was enough. The Church of the first days knew a hundred facts connected with these famous men. The Church of the future needed no details of private history. These apostles, great though they were, were only instruments in the Master's hand; what they did and suffered was, after all, of little moment to those who should come after. In the four bare skeleton lists, though, certain points are noticeable.
(1) Each catalogue fails into three divisions containing four names. In each of these divisions the same name always stands first, as though some precedence or authority was deputed to this one over the other three forming the division. This, in the absence of any further notice, must not be pressed. It is, however, a very probable inference. The names of these three are Peter, Philip, James.
(2) The twelve were thus divided into three distinct companies, of which the first (this is clearly borne out by the gospel story) stood in the closest relation to Jesus. Of the twelve, the first five came from Bethsaida on the lake, and they all apparently with the exception of Judas the traitor, who came from a town in Judaea - were Galileans. The names are all Hebrew (Aramaic) with the exception of Philip and Andrew, which are Greek. It was, however, at that time by no means uncommon for Jews to possess Greek names, so widely did Hellenic influence extend over Egypt, Syria, and the Mediterranean-washed countries of Asia.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when it was day,.... Or morning; having spent the whole night in prayer to God, no doubt for his disciples, whom he was about to send forth as his apostles, to preach his Gospel, and work miracles, and for their success therein:
he called unto him his disciples; the whole company of them, as in Luke 6:17 all that were his followers, and professed to believe in him, or as many as he pleased; see Mark 3:13.
And of them he chose twelve; and ordained them, and sent them out to preach, heal sicknesses, and cast out devils:
whom he also named apostles; or "messengers", from their being sent by him on such important business; and their names are as follow.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-16. (See on Mt 10:2-4.)
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