Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-19; THE TWELVE APOSTLES
Luke 6:12, " In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God." Before Jesus made a big decision such as choosing his 12 disciples, he first prayed all night. I have never stayed up all night praying! When did Jesus ever sleep? Have I ever prayed all night like Jesus did? Before something important and we're choosing to do. It makes me think if I ever stayed up all night. The answer is yes. I have even driven all night and stayed awake 36 hours straight. But I know I could not stay attentive to prayer all night. It makes me see even more how powerful Jesus is that he can stay up all night praying. I think I might eventually fall asleep after even an hour.
Jesus went up on the mountain and called whom He desired and they came up on the mountain with Him. He appointed twelve, who He also called apostles. He gave the twelve apostles authority to preach and to heal. This is significant in that any healing the apostles do is actually with authority and by Jesus, not of their own human accord.
Jesus names the twelve, "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); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him."
Peter, Andrew, James, and John had already been following Jesus (the four fisherman). It is interesting that there are two Simons, the first one renamed as "Peter," and the second is identified as a Zealot, so that gets a little confusing. Then there are two James's, so they need to be identified by their fathers to distinguish them. We also read a new name for John as "Boanerges," but in today's world, we do not typically call John the name Jesus gave him. Why? Is it too hard to say or remember? Boanerges means "Sons of Thunder" which gives us a description of John's personality and I can see him out in the crowds just speaking with thunderous words. Then we see a negative identifier in that Judas betrays Jesus.
Why only 12 out of the hundreds or thousands that followed Him? The number 12 corresponds to the 12 tribes of Israel. These 12 were about to get some intense training! Maybe these 12 were the most willing to serve Jesus and Jesus knows everyone's thoughts and hearts.
Mark 3:13, "called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him." What does it mean to be "called?" In this verse we see it simply means to come to Jesus when He calls. Let Jesus do the rest! He gave the men authority and told them what to do. It's not so easy today, without Jesus physically walking before me, but rather physically here by the Holy Spirit and in my heart, to hear a call from Jesus. However, I think it is loud and clear in my conscience when He does call and I should not ignore it, but come to Him in pray and then wait to see what He does.
Jesus choose ordinary men from a variety of backgrounds and personalities. I wonder how well they got along being so different. If Jesus can use ordinary people in such a great way, how much more can He do that yet today with ordinary people like me? When God puts me together with people from different walks of life and personalities, how well do I get along with them and work together with them for God's purpose? I pray that God give me the ability to accept the diversity of people and different strengths of people that God places into my life. I'm always analyzing and my own questions allow me to grow deeper during my Bible studies, so I ponder why God chose these 12, but an even better question to ponder would be why God choose me.
Luke 6:17, " And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples." So Jesus and His 12 disciples talked on the mountain and then they came down and the crowd sees the chosen 12 gathered for the first time. The words "on a level place" stick out to me. First because I am always wishing my life was on a level place, but that really has no meaning here. Second, because Jesus put himself on level ground with the crowd around him, rather than towering over them from the side of the mountain, Jesus is humble and does not put Himself on a stage. Be like Jesus.
Then they went home, to Capernaum, and the people crowded around so much that they could not even eat. I used to have an image of Jesus that He and the apostles "left everything," but time and again as I read, I see they do return home, similar to a soldier "on leave."
His family heard the crowd and went out to seize Jesus and bring him into the house. Apparently He could not make it into the house on his own as the crowd was so large, making it so he was unable to move. His family said, "He is out of his mind!" Jesus was lovingly rejected by His own brothers. They still helped him, but they put him down while doing so. He came to this earth to live as we live and He truly does understand how we feel. When I am rejected by my own family or loved ones, He understands and loves me.