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The Twelve 

Mark 3:13-19

The contemporary way to fill a vacancy on a pastoral staff is to get the word out at major seminaries, on social media, and by word of mouth. A pastoral search committee is chosen from the church members. Their responsibility is to go through sometimes hundreds of applicants, look at their YouTube presentations, qualifications, and recommendations. The pool is narrowed down to maybe two or three who are invited to have face to face interviews, and then the big day comes when the committee’s choice comes to the local church and candidates. This process isn’t much different than the way positions are filled in the corporate world or in education. Jesus, on the other hand, followed quite a different procedure to build his core team. 

The first time he met Simon and Andrew they were throwing their nets out into the Sea of Galilee to catch fish. Immediately, we know that they are industrious and able to put food on their own tables (Mark 1:16).  Right away Jesus also meets James and John, brothers, the sons of Zebedee, and they, too, are working hard to get their nets all set for the next fishing expedition. Jesus called these four who immediately followed Jesus. 

These first disciples are hardworking laymen, and as they travel with Jesus they hear him teaching in the synagogues and see him healing the sick and setting the demon-possessed free. The Jesus movement is exploding in numbers (Mark 1:45; 2:2; 3:7) and when it’s time for Jesus to delegate authority, here are the Twelve he chose. 

“And Jesus goes up the mountain and called to himself those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him, and so he might send them out to proclaim and to have authority to cast out demons. To Simon he gave the name Peter, and to James, the son of Zebedee and John, the brother of James he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder. He also called Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus and Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also handed him over.” Mark 3:13-19 
Jesus calls these men to be with him, and then in the coming chapters, we will see how he sends them out to proclaim the good news about his Father’s Kingdom and to demonstrate his authority over the Satanic Kingdom that is opposing him.  These Twelve are like us. They are slow to get it, sometimes directly contradict their Teacher, and have all the pros and cons of a group of hard-working Galilean fishermen, a tax collector who makes his living getting money for the Romans, an older devout Jew, a skeptic who doesn’t believe it until he touches it, and a political Zealot whose party had one purpose—to throw out the Romans. 

Two of them were called sons of thunder, maybe because they suggested later that Jesus call fire down from heaven to destroy their opponents. And then the last in the list, the most trusted disciple, ends up betraying his Master. Jesus knows all this from the beginning, but he still calls them to himself, spends time with them, teaches them, and then sends them out to serve. And not even the heinous betrayal by Judas could stop this movement with Jesus as the cornerstone. 

LORD, help me today to remember “to be with Jesus”—that’s top priority. Protect me from learning things just in my head, but not internalized in my soul. 

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!