Tuesday, July 31, 2018

In Mark's account of the choosing of the 12 (Mark 3:13-19), Jesus goes up on the mountain and then selects men whom He Himself wanted to serve with Him. Drawing from the text, here are four application points to consider devotionally.

The men who were designated to be Apostles were ordinary men. Varied backgrounds comprises the men whom Christ used in His service. A tax collector, a zealot, some fishermen, other Galileans were those ordinary ones whom Christ used in His ministry. Our Lord did not go to Jerusalem to find the elitist, the scholars, the rabbis and Sanhedrenists, What an encouragement that Christ employed ordinary men, with ordinary talents, with ordinary abilities, with common issues that we can all relate to. What made these ordinary men extraordinary was not gifting and abilities. Rather, it was the call of God on their life and the empowering that came upon them to do the awesome work God had predetermined for them. Ordinary men, like you and me, can do great works for Christ as we serve Him with humble obedience, joyful reverence, and diligent persistence.

Mark’s gospel record tells us that Jesus went up to the mountain and He summoned those whom He himself wanted, and they came to Him. We also know from Luke’s account that Jesus spent all night in prayer prior to making this decision. He carefully thought about whom He would select to be engrafted into His mighty service. What a glorious Savior who initiated the selection of certain men to be His ambassadors in ministry. They did not seek Christ out. Nor did they catch His eye because of their academic achievements or political viewpoints or radical risk-taking endeavors. Rather, He prayed and came to these ones and He initiated the contact and He employed them into HIs service of gospel proclamation. All those whom Christ selected were those whom “He Himself wanted.” What joy to think that He selects men into service that He himself wants to be employed in his gospel-work.

These disciples had one glorious characteristic: they were with Christ. They spent time with Christ. They watched Christ. They observed Him. They lived life with Christ. He empowered them to preach and He gave them authority to cast out demons. Their ministry was a supernatural one. That is, theirs was a ministry that they could not achieve in their own strength and by their own intelligence. But Christ empowered them to do the task that He gave to them. What they could not do on their own, they were now enabled to do by the sovereign grace and ineffable power of God that enabled them to do the spiritual work of this important ministry.

A three-fold ministry sums up the ministry of these men. First, they are to be WITH CHRIST. Second, they are TO PREACH. And Third, they are TO CAST OUT DEMONS. Note that the first element of gospel work includes that nonnegotiable duty of every minister to be with Christ. Without close communion with Christ, the ministry will be cold, heartless, lifeless, and powerless. The minister must be with Christ, fellowshipping and communing with Him, close to Him and able to say with the Psalmist: “The nearness of God is my good!” Second, Christ sent them to preach. Yes, they must prioritize the verbal proclamation of this good news of salvation found in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene. Preaching encapsulates the minister’s primary work, the most taxing work, the most exacting work, the most supernatural work, and the most urgent work. May the Lord help His ministers to be faithful in studying the Word and preaching the Word faithfully, accurately and compellingly. Third, they were to minister to the needs of men by casting out demons and delivering them from the power of darkness. They had the ability to cast out demons because Christ Himself endowed them with this authority. Note that they were with Christ, then they were preaching the gospel to men’s hearts and minds, and they cared for men’s bodies and physical well being to cast out demons and guard them from the Evil One. May God’s ministers be faithful in Christ’s service as we commune with Christ, preach His Word, and minister to men’s needs.


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