Friday, October 19, 2012

Mark 3:13–21

Mark 3:13–21 (ESV): The Twelve Apostles


In this passage Jesus goes up onto a mountain (I’m not sure which mountain, but it probably doesn’t matter), to appoint the twelve apostles, “so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons” (verses 14–15 (ESV)). These are the twelve men he appointed:

  • Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter)
  • James the son of Zebedee, and
  • John the brother of James
    • He gave James and John the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder
  • Andrew
  • Philip
  • Bartholomew
  • Matthew
  • Thomas
  • James the son of Alphaeus
  • Thaddaeus
  • Simon the Zealot
  • Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him
That list is mostly quoted but partially paraphrased from verses 14–19 (ESV).

After this Jesus goes back home, but the crowd gathers around him once more, and it’s so bad that he can’t even eat. His family hears about it and go out to seize him, thinking that he’s out of his mind.


It’s interesting to me that I don’t know a single thing about some of the twelve apostles except that they were on this list. Bartholomew, for example, or Thaddaeus; the Bible doesn’t say anything about these two men, aside from putting them on this list. And yet they were two of the founders upon which the Church was built; they will be sitting with Jesus in Glory, ruling with Him. I have no doubt that they were right there along with Peter and James and John and Paul in founding the Church, Jesus chose them for specifically that reason, yet God chose not to tell us anything about them except that they were apostles. And we should remember that this is not a bad thing—it’s not that these men didn’t do anything to be counted worthy of more mention in the Bible. Quite the contrary, the Bible prompts us to do good works without being seen and getting our reward on this earth; it could very well be that some of the lesser known apostles have received a greater reward than the more well known ones. I don’t feel confident enough to say that it must be so, but I surely wouldn’t be surprised if it is so.

Aside from that, I find it interesting that we are told that the crowd around Jesus is so bad that he can’t even eat. Is this because He is too busy healing people? Or teaching? Or both? We don’t know. But we know that he can’t even take time out to satisfy his own basis human needs, and have food.

And the third thing I find interesting is that the large crowds prompt Jesus’ family to think that he’s out of his mind. You would think that it would prompt Jesus’ family to think that the crowds are out of their mind, but they focus on Jesus. We know that some of Jesus’ family later became believers; I don’t know if they were among the family members in this passage who are believing he is out of his mind. It’s quite possible they are; I’m sure there were times when His ministry was strange enough to their eyes that they would have had these and worse thoughts. We don’t always understand everything all at once; sometimes we only get things piece by piece.

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