Welcome to my second post in the Three Sixteens series. In chapter three of Mark’s Gospel, verse 16 lands at the moment where Jesus has chosen those who will eventually be his apostles, his special representatives charged with the task of calling people to repentence and faith. Now I would call that a significant moment!
Mark 3:13-19: “Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. . . These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).”
These disciples are taught directly by Christ in plain language (not just in parables, as spoken to the crowds). They accompany him in his ministry travels for three years (equivalent to a university degree!) and are given the authority to cast out demons and preach salvation in His name. I can’t help thinking how ill-equipped for the task they probably felt!
These young men were plucked from the normality of their lives, their homes, their work, their possessions – to face scorn and hardship. They followed the Man who had no home so that many might have an eternal home with him! These men gained an intimate knowledge of the One through whom all things were made, the Creator of the Universe, but at the same time they were often confused by his teachings and rebuked by him for their lack of faith.
These young men would become eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, preachers of his gospel, and in turn they would share his sufferings. Indeed most were martyred during the early church era for the sake of the glorious gospel message: salvation in Jesus name. Really you could say they were martyred for us, that we might believe and become His disciples. Their deaths are such a powerful testimony to the truth of Jesus and the reality of salvation in Him.
Two millennia later, how do we show that we too are disciples of Christ?
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:35 (NLT)
Remember that old song from the 70s/80s?
A new commandment
I give unto you
That you love one another
As I have loved you,
That you love one another
As I have loved you.
By this shall all men
Know you are My disciples
If you have love one to another.
Just as these disciples were the start of a movement which would sweep the world bringing many souls into the Kingdom, so too we can offer our lives as his disciples. May the Lord start with me, start in me, to accomplish his purposes in this place. Listen to how Meredith Andrew sings of this willingness: Start with Me