Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was. Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, giving them authority to cast out demons. These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder” ), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot ), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
Dear God, is it bad that I never have learned the names of all 12 disciples? If pressed I could probably name nearly all of them, but I’d have probably missed that there were two names James.
I wonder why Jesus referred to James and John as the sons of thunder. Was that a comment on their personalities or on their father’s. Since we don’t really get an indication that John was a very intense or even angry person, I’m guessing this was a reference to their father (or maybe even their mother).
This list is obviously in a specific order that ranks them since Andrew and SImon (a.k.a. Peter) are separated by James and John. If Mark is writing this, then this is the specific order he gave them. Traditionally, I think that Mark’s gospel is thought to be Peter’s telling of the story to Mark, so that might be a reason that Simon comes first. I don’t suppose any of this makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. It’s just interesting.
The thing that really hits me about this passage, I suppose, is that these were the 12 that were picked. There were others hanging around, but there was something that Jesus saw in these 12. He took the time to teach them a little extra. He equipped them. He sent them out. He spent more time with them. There was something about each of them that Jesus needed and that the beginning church needed.
Father, I’m in my late 40s and I am still learning what all you need from me. I am about to go and lead a Bible study/Home Church for some strangers. I am acquainted with a couple of them, but, for all intents and purposes, we are strangers. But they are coming together to worship you. Use me tonight. Use me to speak to them. Help me to be loving and merciful. Help me to be pastoral and what they need. Give me your words for them. Give me your eyes so that I can see them as you see them. Be very present with all of us tonight. Enter the world through this home and let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven through what you do among and in us tonight.
In Jesus’ name I pray,