Isn’t it true that when we love someone, whether a friend, a parent, a child, a significant other, we just want to be with them and spend time with them? And it’s in the spending time with them that our relationship grows?
Well, in today’s passage, Mark 3, I want to zero in on Jesus calling the 12 disciples and specifically zero in on one phrase that addresses this.
Verses 13-15 state: “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
"That they might be with Him."
Did you catch that? Yes, it’s true that Jesus chose to set the wheels in motion for His mission to reach the whole world through His people - first through these twelve - and He’d send them out to do His work. But before He ever had them DO anything for Him, He simply called them to BE with Him.
Every word and phrase and placement of that phrase in scripture is significant and purposeful, and here we see in this sentence in verse 14 the being with Jesus comes before the preaching and driving out demons in His name. That’s significant! Before preaching and teaching and performing miracles and all the other things in His name, He called them "that they might be with Him."
Why does He do this? He could have brought about His Kingdom in any number of ways, but why does He call these twelve, and us, to be with Him?
1) First, because He loves them. He loves us! This is so simple, yet so profound. He actually wants to be with these twelve and all their various backgrounds and personalities. He actually wants to be with us and spend time with us! Within the context of relationship and through relationship, this is how He chose His Kingdom to come. Even Judas, the one of the twelve who would betray Him - and Jesus knew Judas would - Jesus still called Judas to be with Him because He loved him.
2) Second, He knows that some things are caught, not taught. Some things are caught, not taught. It’s why that phrase some parents use “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t actually work most of the time. Our kids, or others we are discipling, generally do what they see us doing. It’s the same with Jesus. As His followers, the more these twelve were around Him, the more they would potentially do what He does, speak like He does. Yes, Jesus would teach the twelve and speak to them just as He did the crowds, but just imagine it - these guys got all the extras - sitting around the fire cooking their fish, walking miles and miles together, all the in-between times that aren’t written down. They were with Jesus, watching Him, listening to Him, observing Him in both the miraculous and the ordinary moments, probably even sharing jokes with Him. They got to know Him on a much deeper level than the crowds. Imagine all they soaked in just from being with Him. And it’s the same for us! The more time we spend with Him, the more His character we will catch as our relationship with Him deepens.
3) Third, Jesus knows that it’s out of relationship with Him that ministry flows. For the twelve, it’s out of their relationship with Jesus, out of His power and authority, that they were then able to preach and drive out demons. Some of us might not preach on a platform or perform signs and wonders - some of you might - but our ministry, our reaching out to our neighbors, our steadily showing up for a co-worker, having integrity at home and at work, serving our community, discipling our kids or students - all of that will only be fruitful and lasting if it’s coming from the source, from Jesus Himself. In order for us to bring Jesus to others, we first need to know Him ourselves and be with Him. Our ministry and witness, no matter what that looks like in our day to day, flows out of our relationship with Him.
That’s His invitation to us. To be with Him. Not just be a part of the crowd, but truly be with Him. Yes, He invites us to join Him in His Kingdom work, bringing His Good News to all peoples, but first and foremost He calls us to Him, that WE might be with Him. We aren’t cogs in a machine; He’s not a taskmaster solely looking for productivity. He’s looking for a relationship with us, to draw people to Himself. Before we DO anything for Him, we are called to BE with Him.
Now, what does that look like for us, when we aren’t physically walking with Him like these original disciples? It looks like reading our Bibles and responding in prayer. His Word is our primary source to know what He says, what He sounds like, and what He cares about. And the more we are in His Word, the more we get to know Him. That’s what Dwell is all about this year.
Then we are invited into a two-way conversation through prayer - responding back to Him, telling Him what’s on our minds, our worries, and our responses to the world around us.
So as you go about your day today, before you get bogged down by your to-do list or checking off all the boxes, know that Jesus, out of His love for you, has first called you to be with Him. To enjoy His company, to walk about your day with Him. So intentionally pray throughout your day “Jesus, I invite you into this moment, I know you are present with me” or “Jesus, here I am, what are you up to today and how can I join you?” As you walk with Him today, be blessed knowing that no matter what else is going on, Jesus has called you that you might be with Him.