Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Notes on Mark: Choosing The Twelve

As happens too often around here, I was partway through re-running posts I did when studying the Gospel of Mark, as well as updating them with notes from new things I'd read ... when I dropped the ball. Way back in July! Yikes! 

That's ok. If there's something Christians should be good at it's picking ourselves up and trying again. Time to get back on that horse pardner!

You can find links to all my posts on Mark, past and present, at the Bible Studies page.

MARK 3:13-19
I like the way the Standard Revised Version says it ... "He called to them those whom he desired." That rings true for my life, much less for anyone who is called to a vocation. Some interesting observations about the choosing of The Twelve. I especially like the point that the Apostles were a group because I always am mystified by people who say that they don't need church. I know that if left to myself I tend to lose perspective. I definitely need the church even if I don't always feel warm and fuzzy toward the people in it all the time.
It is significant that Christianity began with a group. The Christian faith is something which from the beginning had to be discovered and lived out in a fellowship. The whole essence of the way of the Pharisees was that it separated men from their fellows; the very name Pharisee means the separated one; the whole essence of Christianity was that it bound men to their fellows, and presented them with the task of living with each other and for each other.

Further, Christianity began with a very mixed group. In it the two extremes met. Matthew was a tax-collector and, therefore, an outcast; he was a renegade and a traitor to his fellow countrymen. Simon the Cananaean is correctly called by Luke, Simon the Zealot; and the Zealots were a band of fiery, violent nationalists who were pledged even to murder and assassination to clear their country of the foreign yoke. The man who was lost to patriotism and the fanatical patriot came together in that group, and no doubt between them there were all kinds of backgrounds and opinions. Christianity began by insisting that the most diverse people should live together and by enabling them to do so, because they were all living with Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark (The Daily Bible Series, rev. ed.)

We also can't forget the significance of numbers, as is always the case when studying Scripture.
The Twelve chosen by Jesus receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out," which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which he will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable to perform this mission he gives them part of his power. The fact that he chooses twelve is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds his Church (Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20); Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23

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