Jesus has finished His marathon teaching on the seashore and heads into the mountains. Here he is going to appoint His next line of command, His Apostles.
Mark tells us that Jesus went up on the mountain and called to Him those who He wanted, and they came to Him. I’m wondering if, when He was leaving the seashore, He tapped each man on the shoulder who He wanted to follow Him up the mountain. Or maybe He stood on the mountain and shouted out the names of those He wanted to come up and join Him. Or perhaps He stood at the foot of the mountain and singled out who He wanted to walk up the mountain with Him.
I’m also curious about who held back the crowd. Is it possible that when Jesus was in the boat teaching that, after He was finished this band of men simply sailed to another part of the shore? That would make a lot of sense to me. This would mean though that all the disciples Jesus wanted on the mountain were already in the boat. When He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him, He would have also had to tell them which ones He wanted in the boat with Him.
How many disciples did Jesus have at this point? Were there people who became His disciples on their own, by simply deciding to follow Him and learn all they could? Were any of these “self-directed disciples” included in the list of twelve? I’m no expert and I certainly could be wrong, but of the twelve disciples who Jesus named as apostles, only James, John, Andrew, Peter and Matthew were called personally by Jesus. Did the others get a personal call before this day but we just don’t have record of it?
Sometimes I see Jesus standing there in front of ALL of His followers as He begins to call His chosen disciples one at a time. I feel the excitement of the ones chosen as they join the group to the side. I also feel the disappointment of those not chosen. “What did I do wrong? Why didn’t Jesus choose me?” Did some of those not chosen leave because of not being chosen? Was there jealousy among the ranks or did the Holy Spirit soothe the wounded egos? We know there was competition within the 12 for who was best/first.
The twelve who were chosen; did they feel they had earned this distinction? Did they wonder if Jesus made some kind of mistake in calling them? When Jesus equipped them, did they want to ask for more training time instead? I know I’m terrified the first time I put a new skill into play, especially if it has a chance or backfiring on me or hurting someone else if I use it wrong. I remember my first counseling session as the counselor. Can we say SHAKING IN MY SHOES! Is that how they felt that day?
In Mark’s account it looks like Jesus sends the 12 out right away because of our author’s choice of words: “Then He went home” (verse 20). But then Mark writes: “so they could not even eat” (verse 20). In one section Mark uses the singular to indicate Jesus, and then he uses the plural to signify Jesus had company at that dinner. Who was He eating with? Was it His disciples or someone else?
When Jesus went home it was apparently dinner time. Another large crowd gathered. The crowd that gathered was of significant enough size to interfere with His meal. Was this because they had “urgent” needs that wouldn’t wait until after He finished eating, or were they physically pressing in on Him again? If the disciples had been commissioned to go out preaching already, were they too encountering this kind of crowd? Or were the people still seeking to get to Jesus instead because He was the one with the “proven track record?” Whatever the reason, the crowds were impacting Jesus’ simplest human needs.
Jesus’ family heard about how much of Himself Jesus had been giving to those in need. They were concerned for His health as well as His sanity. “How can Jesus put all these people’s needs before His own? They won’t even let Him eat! He can’t go on like this. Something has to be done!”
Was part of their concern that Jesus would fail and that failure would reflect badly on them? They had to put a stop to this nonsense and get their boy back home where He belonged. After all, how can He possibly think He has authority to pass on to others?
Father God, I have so many questions today. I tried doing research, but all that did was confuse me even more. I was picking everything apart and looking for answers that I probably won’t have until we have “bench time” too. I know my own ego and sometimes impose it onto the characters in the bible. I’m sure I’m not unique and that there were more likely than not some with my issues. BUT You use them anyway. Those not chosen weren’t useless ore redundant. They had other things they would do in the grand scheme of things. I’m glad I wasn’t part of either group that day. I don’t think I would have been a very good apostle and I know my feelings would have been hurt because of not being chosen.
My feelings get hurt way too easy. We need to keep working on this together. Along with the issue Jesus’ family was dealing with; judging. Thank You for not giving up on any of us; the jealous, the proud, the self-assured, and the scared to death. ALL of these were found in Jesus’ disciples too at one time or another. You didn’t give up on them, so there is still hope for me yet.
I’m sorry I never really got to any “deep message” but my mind just wouldn’t settle there tonight. I hope that is ok with You and anyone You bring to read today’s words. If need be, rewrite them Lord to be what You want shared. I give You full control, and credit.