Mark highlights three reasons why Jesus called the twelve disciples (Mark 3:14, 15). In this post, we will highlight Christ’s first motive.
We might venture to guess that Jesus’ priority in calling these men was to help him accomplish a great task. The disciples may have had similar thoughts. Yet, Mark makes it quite clear that Jesus first priority was "that they might be with him." Have you ever stopped to consider that Jesus calls us to relationship before he calls us to task?
This concept of relationship is vital to the Christian life. For example, when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray to God he uses the term “Father”. This would have been radical for a first century Jew to hear. It also should sound radical in our ears. After all, Paul says we "were once children of wrath" deserving God's punishment. Instead, we call God, “Dad”. In another context, Jesus calls his disciples "brothers" (Mark 3:34; John 20:17). Jesus would first call these men to become family members before he ever called them to a task. We too have been called to be a part of God's family. This should stir our hearts with immeasurable gratitude.
This relationship does more than simply stir our hearts, it actually becomes the source of our power to live the Christian life. The Gospel of John reads, "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Elsewhere we read, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). It is only out of this intimacy or knowing Jesus that we will be able to perform the task(s) Jesus calls us to.