Last Sunday we talked about Jesus’ disciples. We talked about the process of becoming a disciple (as seen in the video below), and we talked about the little we know of some of the disciples. We really only know a little bit about 7 of the 12. But one thing we know about all of them was that they weren’t good enough to become any disciples of any other rabbi. They were average Joe’s, if not a little below average in some cases!
What really sticks out to me about this particular passage is that Mark gives a slightly different job description than Matthew and Luke. Mark says that Jesus called these 12 guys to him so that they might 1) Be with him, 2) Be sent out to preach, and 3) Have authority to drive out demons. Matthew and Luke do not include 1 and 2. It’s almost as if Mark has a more universal view of discipleship. Not everyone has the power to drive out demons or to heal diseases (Matthew 10:1), but everyone can have the chance to be with Jesus and to go out and preach.
Be with Jesus
We all have different categories of relationships. Not everybody can really be considered a “friend” (sorry, Facebook). There are strangers, acquaintances, co-workers, friends, good friends, best friends, mentors, teachers, students, family, extended family, spouse, child, parent…the list goes on. This is just how our brains handle all the different types of people we interact with.
The relationship between disciple and rabbi was a truly unique one. When it says they would be with Jesus, this supersedes practically every other relationship. We see sons leaving their parents, employees leaving their employers, husbands separating from their wives for a time – just to be with their rabbi. And they would be with him nearly 24/7 for however long they were discipled to him.
How many of us can say that we are truly WITH Jesus? Does he get 24/7 access to your life or do you just lump him into one of the other categories mentioned above? We sing the songs “I’ll Be a Friend to Jesus,” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Well, what kind of friend? A good friend? A best friend? A Facebook friend? Being a friend and being a disciple are two completely different things.
Be Sent Out to Preach
But preaching is what that one guy does for that thirty minutes on Sunday mornings. I’m no preacher.
News Flash: If you’re a disciple, you are a preacher. Preaching comes with the territory. It’s a two-fer-one deal. No, not everybody is supposed to get up on Sunday mornings and deliver a thirty minute sermon. But preaching is so much more than that. The preaching that Jesus and his disciples did was simply proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15).
As his disciple, we are expected to carry on Jesus’ message – God is establishing his kingdom on earth, and this movement is for everybody! God loves everybody! God wants to save everybody! We don’t have to live with guilt and regret over past sins and screw-ups because Jesus took all that to the cross. His blood has wiped all that away! That’s good news. Preach it wherever you are and however you can.
Have Authority to Drive Out Demons
This one is a little more tricky. This was a very specific ability granted to these apostles. Jesus came to wage war on the powers of Satan. Releasing people from these evil forces was a central component to the ushering in of God’s Kingdom (see Mark 3:23-27).
No, I don’t think demons posses people today like they did in Jesus’ day. Satan is fighting a losing battle, and he knows that God has already won the war. But as Jesus’ disciples, we are still given the authority and power to battle against the powers of evil wherever we encounter them (Ephesians 6:10-18).
I think we all need to do a better job of learning what it means to be Jesus’ disciple. It’s far more than just showing up to church once or twice a week. Do you really know Jesus? Are you really WITH him, or are you okay with just an arm’s-length friendship?
Check out this video if you have the time: