Mark 3:13-19English Standard Version (ESV)
The Twelve Apostles
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, andMatthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Twelve Ordinary Men
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Strong Man and the Still Stronger
Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Servant's Servants
Jesus chose twelve disciples. And He chose twelve disciples (instead of eleven or thirteen) for a reason - it was a denunciation of the current leadership of Israel, and these twelve men would be the new spiritual leaders of Israel, ruling over each of the twelve tribes. And He replaced the religious nobility with twelve very ordinary men.
He chose them in order to train them to take over His ministry after His death and resurrection. These twelve men were the foundation of the church, and the first to fulfill the Great Commission.
He purposefully chose ordinary men so that it would be obvious where the power came from, and where the glory should go - Jesus.
These men were given the authority to be His representatives on earth. That's a big deal.
There were stages to how they became disciples. First, the Father drew them to the Son and they were part time followers. Then they became full time followers when they left everything to follow Him. And now (in our passage) they became apostles - called into training, to be with Jesus 24/7, to prepare them to preach and teach and lead. Later they would be sent as preachers, and finally they will be sent on the Great Commission.
Their ability to cast out demons and to perform other miracles, was to confirm that their authority and preaching was real. Supernatural power would be the evidence that they spoke the truth.
What's interesting is that the disciples seemed to be formed into groups, each having it's own leader. Peter led James, John, and Andrew - and the Bible gives us the most information about this group. Philip led nathaniel/Bartholomew, Levi/Matthew, and Thomas - and the Bible gives us little information about them. James (son of Alphaeus) led Thaddeus/Judas/Lebbaeus and Simon the Zealot - and we know the least about them. They did not all share the same intimacy with Jesus (Peter, James, and John were the closest three) but they were all given the same authority. power, and message to preach. Notice all the nicknames that are used for these men? Sounds familiar for a group of guys, doesn't it? Identifying each other's weaknesses and then rubbing them in with nicknames. I love it! (MacArthur has more info about what all their names meant and why they were called that).
MacArthur ended his sermon this way:
No backup plan, and no backup crew and a risky strategy, wouldn't you say? But these men are not the explanation for the advance of the gospel. They were available and they were empowered and the gospel went over the whole world and continues to do so as a legacy to their faithfulness. Our Lord uses ordinary, weak, failing, ignorant saints...guess why? The only kind there are. Welcome to the group.
Welcome to the group indeed!
Will you say "yes" to what Jesus asks of you today?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 3:20-30
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