He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Mark 3, verses 14-19.
Two thousand years after they lived, the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ are still some of the most impactful men who ever lived. Only one of them lived to old age: all the others died in youth or middle age, Judas (of course) dying by suicide even before Jesus died. Yet what they did in the years after the day described in these verses forever changed history, our outlook, our relations with others, and human hearts.
Notice that Jesus didn’t equip them with Ivy League educations, formal project plans, a fat bank account, or brand new smart phones. Jesus had plucked them out of their regular lives and He promised them nothing other than Himself. They would soon find that Jesus was enough, that just knowing Him, preaching Him, being Jesus for others who didn’t know Him, representing Him, was enough. Jesus knew that these men would do the best they could and that, with Him as the center of their efforts, it would work out just fine. How many of our churches today would fall apart without fancy graphics, praise bands, or all the sexy bells and whistles we associate with Sunday worship? Isn’t just Jesus still enough even if you’re Joel Osteen?
Notice, too, that verse 14 says “that they might be with Him.” It segues on what we were talking about yesterday: Jesus wanted these common men to be with Him. He wanted them for who they were, for the talents He had given to them, for what He knew they could do (even if they didn’t know). Out of the thousands of respected, experienced leaders of the first century Mediterranean world, Jesus picked twelve commoners with no particular attraction to carry his message to the world. More than any of this, though, Jesus wanted them, their company, their hearts. He created people to be in His image, to be in communion with Him, and He wanted their company. Jesus wanted them because He wanted to share His divine love.
And then notice that the next verse says “that He might send them out to preach and to have authority.” He didn’t say “go to seminary and get all Bibled up, then go out and start an organization.” He intended to spend time with them, then send them out to share His words and His authority. I admire the churches today that take a mentoring approach to teaching young called servants. I admire them because that’s what Jesus did. He called His friends, He taught them His Word, then He sent them out.
So once again I’ll say something that you’re probably tired of hearing by now: just like He does for us today. The approaches that worked for these simple men of Judea still work for the simple people we are today. They still work because their foundation still is Jesus.
Lord, I want to go Your way.
Re-read Mark 3, verses 13-19.