Summary: Jesus called twelve men to serve as disciples. These men came from different backgrounds, varied occupations, and unique personalities. Jesus used ordinary men in extraordinary ways. That should challenge and encourage every believer.
The Calling of the Twelve
Mark 3: 13-21
Surely you would agree that our study thus far has revealed a very busy, and often difficult time for Jesus. His ministry had gained momentum and immense popularity among the common people. Everywhere Jesus went, He was met with large crowds of people, all desiring to receive something from Him. He is now continually met with opposition from the scribes and Pharisees. The busyness and opposition will continue, but Jesus remains faithful to the work the Father had given Him to carry out.
Our text today reveals a glimpse into one of the few occasions where our Lord pulled aside with the disciples for a time of fellowship and instruction. We will discuss the occasion when our Lord ordained the twelve to carry on the work of ministry following His death, resurrection, and ascension.
While many followed Jesus, these men were chosen and set apart for the work of ministry. This account should bring hope to every believer. These men were all different. They came from different backgrounds, with different personalities, and yet they were all chosen to serve the Lord in a unique and special way. For the most part, these men were average, ordinary men. In fact, their résumés would not have landed lucrative or influential positions among society. I am thankful the Lord doesn’t call the equipped or those with abilities; He equips the called, and seeks availability.
Let’s take a few moments to consider the realities within the text as we discuss: The Calling of the Twelve.
I. The Persuasion in the Call (13) – And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. We need to consider:
A. Jesus’ Sovereignty (13a) – And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would. Jesus went into the mountain, and called those He had chosen to follow Him. We have considered the call of several already to follow Him. These men were busy living life, and the Lord extended the call to come and follow Him. We have no record of any of these men seeking this position for themselves. In His sovereign wisdom, Jesus selected them to follow Him. Such is the case here as well. These men were chosen and called of the Lord. Luke reveals that our Lord spent the night in prayer with the Father before ordaining these men, Luke 6:12. One cannot ignore the sovereignty involved in the calling of the twelve.
Our Lord continues to call whom He will into various aspects of ministry. He chooses based on His divine wisdom, not the desires or dictates of men. Our Lord sees what men fail to see. Often He chooses those whom the world rejects. He chooses those who lack ability, and equips them to carry out His purpose. I am thankful the Lord allowed me to have a small part in the Kingdom work. When most would have overlooked me, Jesus offered a place of service.
B. Their Submission (13b) – and they came unto him. When Jesus called, the twelve obediently responded to His call. They willingly submitted their lives to the Lord. That is not to say they understood the enormity of it all, but they submitted to the Lord. They were not spiritually mature at this moment, or ready to lead multitudes, but they agreed to follow the Lord and submit to His will for their lives. This was just the beginning of a wonderful journey for them.
If the Lord is dealing with you about a specific area of service, I would encourage you to respond obediently to His call. He makes no mistakes. Your arguments and concerns are unnecessary and not beneficial. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your weaknesses and limitations, but He also knows what you are capable of through His leading. If He is calling, you will never find peace apart from obedience to His desire for your life.
II. The Purpose of the Call (14-15) – Mark revealed the purpose of this call for the twelve, the Lord’s desire for their lives. The call involved:
A. Instruction (14a) – And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him. Jesus knew He would not be with these men for an extended period of time. He would give His life on the cross for our sin and ascend back to the Father. There was much to learn in a short amount of time. Jesus needed these men with Him, in order to instruct and prepare them for the work ahead. (It is imperative that we spend time with the Lord, in close fellowship with Him, to receive the wisdom and instruction we need to be effective in the work He has given us.)