Recently we have been studying Mark in CBS. In our reading from this past week I read these words in Mark 3, “13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot,[b] 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
This verse states Jesus went up to the mountaintop. In Luke chapter 6 he gives us the detail of Jesus going on the mountaintop to pray all night. He also said he called His disciples to himself; and from those he chose twelve to become Apostles. This is very interesting to me because Jesus felt the need to pray all night about this decision. No one could have been closer to God already because he was the Word made flesh, but yet he prayed all night. Think about the last time you had to make an important decision, did you spend your time in prayer, or getting opinions from all your friends? When we are faced with hard decisions we must face them with prayer. God convicted me sharply of this about a year ago. A man from the Southern Baptist Convention called and ask if I would meet him at Starbucks, and I agreed. I knew who he was but had no idea what he wanted with me. The next few minutes of conversation would rock my world. He ask me if I would consider running the BCM on the campus of University of South Alabama. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing this had been my dream job. I had kept my resume updated for the past 10 years because this particular type of job is rare. There are only about 25 positions in the state. I was so excited until the reality hit me of why now. We were settled, my kids were happy, I was happy. As we began that decision making process we talked and talked and talked and talked some more. One night in the stillness I said, “God if I turn down this job I may never get another opportunity. However, we are so torn about leaving, and uprooting our children. I just don’t know what to do!” Immediately I was convicted that I had been so busy talking, I had not taken the time to ask him. I had not taken the time to “be with him”. After much prayer I felt that although it would be one of the toughest decisions I had made, God was not calling our family there at this point in our life. After this entire worrying and stressing episode, God gave the clear and decisive decision when we asked him, and we have never looked back. What a simple thought, just ask, but how often we try to figure it out and then when we have exhausted all other measures then we look up.
Another interesting part of the passage is the use of disciples and apostles.
“The word disciple comes from the Latin word for pupil or learner. In ancient times, there were few higher learning institutions. Instead, those who wanted to learn a skill or a philosophy attached themselves to a journeyman or a teacher and spent significant time with them to learn the trade. In the case of those learning a philosophy, the student would follow the teacher for years, traveling wherever they would go, and the teacher would expound as they walked, teaching the intricacies of the faith. The disciples of Jesus did just that. Wherever Jesus went, the disciples would follow, and Jesus would teach them as they moved across the land. The twelve disciples, as they were so named in Matthew's gospel-John's gospel simply calls them "the twelve"-were specially chosen from the rest of the disciples to be specifically mentored as Jesus' closest associates. These twelve disciples would later be sent out by Jesus to become the first church planters of the Christian church. Which is what the word "apostle" means. The stem of the word apostle means to send out, and that's exactly what Jesus did. In Mark and Luke's gospels, Jesus chooses twelve from his band of disciples.” http://www.hcna.us/columns/apostle-disciple.htm
I find it so interesting who Jesus chose to call. These men were not scholars of their day just average men. Their was a questioned ask why these men? Al I could answer is why not these men? The religious leaders were so blinded by pride they would have never been able to serve. I love that Jesus called them because it show us that he can also call us to great works. I am reminded by 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” However, just because Jesus called them out there was work to be done on their part. Jesus wanted them to “be with Him” to know Him before he called them apostles. Sometimes I think my generation and younger get so caught up in the doing, we forget to get the foundation first. You have to spend time studying the Word to be able to give a defense. You have to study the Word to make sure it is not your idea, but God’s calling. These disciples were learning tons of things just by being with Jesus. They spent many days, weeks, and years, learning the teachings of their Rabbi. Jesus was trying his best to fully equip them before he sent them out as apostles to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons. Don’t misunderstand me. In our flesh we will never feel worthy enough or even smart enough, but it is through us that God works. If we have spent time in the Word, when we open our mouth it is the Lord’s words not our own!
Where are you in your walk with the Lord today? How many days, weeks, years have you spent allowing God’s Word pour into you.
Have you ask him what he wants for your life, or are you busy asking everybody else what is best? Are you studying hard in the Word trying to know your Savior better? Has God urged you to be an apostle for him? No matter where we are in our walk we all have one thing in common. Jesus wants us to call upon his name, and seek his face so we may know the will of God.
Matthew 7:7-8 ESV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.