JESUS APPOINTS TWELVE APOSTLES Mark 3:13-35 Key Verses: 3:14-15 June 10, 2007 ―He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.‖ Last week we read in the gospel of Mark how Jesus defended his disciples against the accusations of the Pharisees. They weren‘t fasting, but were joyfully following Jesus. They dined with sinners and tax collectors. They felt free to pick grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus said that their joy and freedom was like new wine, that legalistic minds could not accept or understand. We also learned how Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath, without any hesitation. Through this we learned that Jesus is Lord of all creation, even Lord of the Sabbath. In Jesus we find complete freedom and joy that nothing in all creation can defeat. So let‘s open our hearts newly and freshly to Jesus‘ teaching, so that like new wineskins, we may be filled with this new wine. Now we all know that Jesus had twelve disciples. Today we will learn why. We‘ll witness Jesus as he serves others, teaching them God‘s word with full devotion, pouring out his life for them. Jesus‘ sacrificial serving and love reaches out to all people who accept God‘s will for their lives. Jesus considers them to be his dear and precious family members. First, He Appointed Twelve (13-19) Let‘s begin by looking at verse 13. ―Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.‖ In verse 7, Jesus had tried to withdraw from the crowds with his disciples by going to the lakeshore. He had something really important to do with them, so he tried to get some privacy, free of distractions. But it didn‘t work. Because he had already healed many just with a word or a touch, many more with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Jesus could not turn them away. But now Jesus again tried to get away from the needy crowds with his disciples, and this time he tried a different strategy. He went up on a mountainside. It worked because nobody who was sick or weak had the strength to climb up the mountainside after Jesus. Jesus himself was probably exhausted and hungry, as were his disciples. Finally, Jesus was by himself, uphill from the others. Then he looked down and began to call to him those he wanted. As he called each one by name, they came up the mountainside to him. Didn‘t Jesus want everybody? Of course, but in this case he wanted only a few, select men for a special purpose. Let‘s read verses 14-15. ―He appointed twelve— designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.‖ Jesus wanted these twelve men to become his key apostles, the ones he would personally teach, train and disciple, until he would send them out to the whole world to preach and drive out demons. The number twelve rings a bell for anyone who‘s studied the Old Testament. In Genesis we learn how Jacob, also known as Israel, had twelve sons. According to God‘s promise, each one became the patriarch of a large tribe. In Exodus, we learn how God led the twelve tribes of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to be trained in the desert. God established the priesthood from the tribe of Levi. The high priest wore a special garment called the Ephod, for prayer. It had onyx stones on the shoulders with the names of the twelve tribes carved into them. The high priest was to pray for the twelve tribes when he entered God‘s presence, bearing them on his shoulders before God. He also had a breastplate for making decisions, on which there were twelve different precious gems, one for each tribe. In the book of Joshua, when Israel crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, tribe leaders picked up twelve large stones from the river bottom, one for each tribe. They were stacked up as a memorial of how God was faithful to his promise to bring the twelve tribes to a land flowing with milk and honey. God‘s high purpose in raising twelve tribes was for them to serve him, as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. They represented all people of the world, whom God loved and wanted to reach with the forgiveness of sins. By this time, the twelve tribes of Israel were history. Only a few descendants of one tribe of Israel remained. But God‘s purpose of salvation was not defeated. Jesus chose twelve, designating them apostles. It was the start of a new chapter in God‘s eternal history. The Twelve were a sign of God‘s hope, that through Jesus, God would accomplish his plan to save all peoples on earth. The Twelve were called, first and foremost, to be with Jesus. They were all ordinary sinners, men with faults and flaws. Like raw materials, they needed to be refined, shaped and molded to be useful serving God. They needed a lot of help; in fact, it was impossible. To Jesus, the best way to help them become ready to serve God was for them to just be with him. It was more than just being room-mates with Jesus. Jesus would make them go through the full experience of the Messiah‘s life. When Jesus got up, they got up. When Jesus ate, they ate. When Jesus went hungry, they went hungry. Whenever Jesus served people, they had to be right there with him. It was hard – very hard. It was like being in boot camp every day through three years of Jesus‘ ministry. But being with Jesus was not agonizing discipline. Spiritually speaking, it was like being in heaven. They were the closest friends of the true Shepherd. They experienced his perfect love. And Jesus understood each one individually. The privilege of being with Jesus is beyond what anyone in all history could ever hope for. The Twelve could not have exchanged their three years with Jesus for all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus‘ calling was Jesus‘ commitment to these men. Jesus sacrificed everything to become the shepherd for the Twelve. But Jesus had a goal in discipling them. Verses 14b-15 say, ―…that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.‖ Jesus intended to ultimately send them out to preach the kingdom of God to the world. Apart from Jesus, the world is ruled by demons. Anyone who doubts this needs only to watch the daily news. To bring God‘s kingdom into the world requires the defeat of all the demons, one person at a time. It is a spiritual war. To succeed in this war, one must learn to effectively preach God‘s word, and to possess the authority of the Holy Spirit in order to drive out demons. Jesus intended to equip each of these raw recruits with everything they would need to be effective and victorious in the battle to win people back to the kingdom of God. Who were the Twelve? Look at verses 16-19. ―These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.‖ Simon Peter was first, the most visible of the Apostles. Later he would be the father of the church during its infancy. He was unstable, like sand, but Jesus had hope for him to become the firm rock, who could support the whole church. James and John were young and ambitious. Jesus hoped for them to become humble and faithful servants of his word. Among the others were remarkable people – brilliant Philip, insightful Andrew, philosophical Thomas, patriotic Simon the Zealot—as well as some utterly unremarkable people. The Apostles that never got any press, like Bartholomew, James son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus, were incredibly important. Jesus was willing to sacrifice the precious three years of his ministry for someone like Bartholomew, who only had his name mentioned four times in the Bible, and then only in lists of the disciples. Today there are countless unknown people like Bartholomew in this world, without whom the work of God would be impossible. Perhaps they are the greatest of all. Let‘s face it, each of us is different. But Jesus knows each one of us. We should each aspire to be apostles of Jesus. When he calls, may we come to him, one by one, to a life that is continually in his presence through the Holy Spirit, being prepared to be sent out to preach and drive out demons. Praise Jesus who appointed twelve, designating them apostles. Second, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” (20-30) Let‘s read verses 20-21. ―Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‗He is out of his mind.‘‖ Think about Jesus‘ lifestyle at this time. Jesus never took a time out. He just kept going continuously. As long as people came to him, he taught them God‘s word non-stop. If they needed anything, he would give it to them. Mobs of people, many of whom had already been healed of their diseases, crowded him until he was swamped. Jesus spent each moment on the verge of exhaustion, with no end in sight. Yet he never seemed close to stopping. Once I was invited to join a missionary journey to Korea. At the airport we were met by hundreds of well-wishers, and they all lined up to shake our hands. I was overwhelmed. After smiling, bowing and shaking hands with each one, I was beyond exhausted. My face hurt, my hand was sore, and I had a headache. It was wonderful, but stressful. Yet that is nothing compared to Jesus. pouring out his life each moment. He literally was To his family, Jesus looked like someone who was mentally ill, and they were deeply concerned. They complained openly about his way of life: ―He is out of his mind.‖ They loved him and wanted to save him from the stress of his extreme serving, so they came to take charge of him. On the other hand, teachers of the law took advantage of Jesus‘ exhausted condition, and the comments of his family members. They began to accuse Jesus of being possessed. ―He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.‖ There is no worse feeling than that of being misunderstood and falsely accused. Especially when one is stressed and exhausted, it is easy to snap back at our accusers. How did Jesus respond? Look at verse 23. ―So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: ‗How can Satan drive out Satan?‘‖ Jesus taught in parables. Doesn‘t it seem like there is an endless supply of parables from Jesus? Nobody could do what Jesus did at this moment, calling his accusers to come and learn from his wonderful teaching. Jesus‘ teaching was very gentle and rich, yet incredibly stern. As we look through the parable, we see the phrase, ―a house divided against itself cannot stand.‖ Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech based on this phrase, which began his run for the Senate. Jesus‘ teaching is so rich, that it even inspired this man with the reason that America could not remain half free and half slave. Jesus‘ point in his parable is that Satan does not do the work of God; if he did, he would destroy himself. Jesus was not possessed by a demon; rather, he had given himself entirely over to let the Holy Spirit work through him. His life was at the disposal of the Spirit of God to do God‘s work, liberating people from the power of the devil. He gave a stern warning to his accusers that whoever blasphemes, calling the Holy Spirit‘s work evil will not be forgiven. Only the devil would do such a thing. The teachers of the law must repent or end up becoming the devil‘s servants. After this they stopped saying that Jesus had an evil spirit. Through this we get a glimpse of what life was like for an Apostle. When people came to be served, Jesus served, and so the Apostles served. When Jesus didn‘t eat because he was so consumed with ministry, they didn‘t eat either. They relied on Jesus, and followed Jesus, trusting Jesus completely. I‘m sure that they complained and cursed a lot. Jesus forgave them of all their weaknesses, and served them, teaching them God‘s wonderful word each time. Jesus was pouring his life out for them, entrusting himself into God‘s hands, and God sustained him with what he needed. He truly is the Son of God. Third, Jesus’ mother and brothers (31-35). Finally, Jesus‘ mother and brothers showed up. They had obtained power of attorney and had prepared for an intervention to take Jesus to be hospitalized. This shows their love and deep concern for him. The love of family is the strongest and deepest emotion of people. As strong and deep as this love between family members may be, it ultimately is limited by human weakness. It is no substitute for the love of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, Jesus teaches about the meaning of family in God‘s kingdom. When Jesus‘ family members arrived, they sent someone to call him. Word reached Jesus: ―Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.‖ Jesus loved his mother and brothers. Ultimately, Jesus would lay down his life for them. But Jesus‘ love for them was not what we have come to expect. Let‘s read verses 33-35. ―‘Who are my mother and my brothers?‘ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‗Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God‘s will is my brother and sister and mother.‘‖ Notice the exclamation mark in verse 34. It was an intense statement of his love. Jesus loved all those precious people who followed him and listened carefully to his teaching. He could never reject or turn his back on them – no never! They are his precious brothers, sisters, mother and father. Let‘s think about who these people were. In the innermost circle were his twelve disciples. Among them was Matthew, the tax collector. Matthew drove himself to a lonely, empty life by his own bad choices. Jesus loved this man as if he were his longlost, wayward kid brother. It broke Jesus‘ heart. Now Matthew had come back. When people like Matthew came to him, accepted his forgiveness, and became his disciples, Jesus was driven on by his intense love. Jesus was pouring out his life for people like Matthew, a sinner, his own precious brother. Whoever does God‘s will, Jesus welcomes as a precious member of his family. If there is one thing that has devastated the young people of our generation more than any other, it is the breakdown of the family. Hardly any of today‘s young people has not been touched by the effects of divorce or parental abandonment. To them, family is fragile, and often no more than a fairy tale. We learn Jesus‘ heart‘s desire is that they may be restored in God‘s true family. Human families are created by God in the image of God‘s greater, more permanent heavenly family. Human families meet many needs, but not every need. God‘s will is for them to come to Jesus and be with him. Whoever does this will be welcomed with open arms, and full forgiveness. Human families are not perfect, but they are precious to God and can be greatly used by God for the service of his kingdom, when we become united with Jesus. May Jesus be present in the daily life of my family, and use it to do God‘s great will, which is the forgiveness of sins. Let‘s read verses 14 and 15. ―He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.‖ This is a call from Jesus to you and me. We need only come to him, be with him, and learn from him. Romans 1:5 says that we each received grace and apostleship. May God bless you richly as you grow as apostles of Jesus.