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April 11, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.”—Mark 3:13 (NKJV)
Here we see Jesus calling and appointing His twelve disciples. While everything we read in this is factual and historical to its original time, there are some transcendent principles alluded to here that apply to every follower of Christ.
The first thing is to observe that the calling is initiated by the Lord, Himself. He called the twelve into service, and He calls us into service, too. May we never forget He’s the initiator, it’s His plan to begin with, and we’re the responders.
The next thing to note is the twelve came to Him. When Christ calls us to follow Him, we’re to respond with a willing heart. We’re not on autopilot, our God-given will is to be fully engaged, because following Him is a reciprocal and relational activity.
“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons”—Mark 3:14–15 (NKJV)
Although this shows us what a disciple’s service consists of, we can’t miss that the first thing listed is simply being with Jesus! A disciple is only going to be as good as their proximity to the Lord. He wants fellowship with us first and foremost before we move on to the next aspect, which is proclaiming Him. At the end of the day, we’re to always point to what the Lord has done, not ourselves. He’s our message and that must never get twisted around. And in all of this, we’re empowered by Him. This will look different depending on the context, but His power is always the provision to effectively proclaim Him.
“Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, ‘Sons of Thunder’”—Mark 3:16–17 (NKJV)
Next, we see Simon, James, and John listed. It’s interesting how each is renamed by Jesus. He has the authority to rename us because He knows us as we truly are. Christ always knows us best, even better than we know ourselves! We need to know this in our discipleship because we’ll inevitably doubt ourselves and our identity, but that’s never in question with Jesus. We are who He says we are!
“Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite.”—Mark 3:18 (NKJV)
The next group of disciples are listed and, although deep detail isn’t offered for all of them, none is forgotten by the Lord, all twelve are accounted for. Similarly, no faithful follower, despite how obscure they may seem, is ever forgotten by the God they serve.
“And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.”—Mark 3:19 (NKJV)
We finally come to Judas who is tragically defined by his sin of betrayal. He serves as an opposite example, because those who serve the Lord with a sincere heart (unlike Judas) aren’t defined by their sin. We are “in Christ,” hidden deep within His righteousness!
May these transcendent principles of discipleship safeguard you as you follow the One worth serving!
PAUSE: How does the calling of the twelve relate to all other disciples?
PRACTICE: Write these transcendent principles down and refer to them as needed.
PRAY: Father, we are humbled that You would call us to Yourself. Help us to walk worthy of this high and holy calling! Amen.