Choosing the Twelve Disciples
We were studying Mark 3, in our Coffee and Conversation group this morning. We should also add “Doughnuts” since who brings goodies the next week is usually the first order of business. A young man who is going to the seminary this Fall came to class. John, one of the retired lawyer members, said, “Just so you are aware, this is a rough and tumble group.”
Rough and tumble is what Jesus faced, becoming more and more of a celebrity. People came from all directions. Mark reports, “To keep the crowd from crushing him he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him. He healed so many that all who had diseases rushed up to him.” Even the unclean spirits were rushing to him, falling down before him. They were the only ones who acknowledged that he was the Son of God. But Jesus didn’t want their acclamation and he told them to keep their mouths shut.
To get away he went into the hills and summoned to himself those he wanted to be his group of Twelve. Mark reports “He made the Twelve to be with Him and to be sent out to preach and have authority to drive out demons.” “Made” in the preceding sentence has the sense of Genesis 1:1, “He made the heavens and the earth.”
But who did he choose? There was Simon whom he nicknamed “Rocky.” Rocky shattered after Jesus was arrested but gave a rock-solid message on Pentecost Day. He also called two brothers, James and John, whom he nicknamed “Thunderbolts.” Andrew, Peter’s brother and Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew the hated and mistrusted tax collector, Thomas who later had his doubts about the resurrection, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the radical revolutionary and Judas, from Kerioth who would betray Jesus. Hardly a utopian group.
Incidentally, by this time the Pharisees, a legalistic lay group who thought they could hasten the kingdom of God via rigorous adherence to rules and regulations. In other words, legislate morality according to their own view. They gathered with some backers of the ethics – challenged king Herod to destroy and ruin Jesus. Of course, they were plotting to kill the very one they were expecting to come and save the day.