I’m currently reading through Mark’s gospel in my personal morning devotions. Last week I read a few verses that have continued to echo in my heart and mind. I’m typing a few thoughts into the keyboard in order to soften the reverberation.
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. – Mark 3:13-15
Jesus taking his disciples up the mountain recalls God summing Moses atop Mount Sinai in order provided the law to the people of Israel. Mark 3:13-15, like Moses’ mountaintop experience, is the beginning of a commissioning narrative. Something of significance is about to take place.
The number twelve is notable, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus is restoring and reforming the remnants of God’s people. Jesus calls the twelve and they obey his summons. With open eyes and ears they receive their appointment.
Jesus assigns them roles that are an extension of his own. First, disciples are to be with him. The best way to learn is to be with the Master, watch him, and modeling his thinking, speaking, and behavior. The core of discipleship is Christlikeness and is built around a personal, intimate relationship.
Second, disciples are to do what Jesus does. The assigned tasks specifically mentioned are preaching and casting out demons. Preaching would be the proclamation of the coming kingdom (this is noted in Mark 1:14-15). Casting out demons is a demonstration of the authority of the kingdom of God, which overwhelms the kingdom of Satan (Jesus discusses this in Mark 3:23-27).
People learn best not through instruction manuals or enduring lengthy lectures. Jesus knew that the best way to transform fisherman into disciples was on the job training. The Apostle Paul followed the Jesus method of discipleship. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 he instructs the church to “Follow my example, as I follow the Christ.” (Also check out Philippians 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; 2 Timothy 2:2). Everyone in ministry should be training new converts, encouraging others to deeper faith, and training their eventual replacements.
My encouragement to you: Spend significant time with the Lord today. Rest in his presence. Find comfort in his love and provision. Bow down your life before him. Place your passion and desires aside. Listen to the Lord with open ears. Obey what you hear.