Running With Mark 20

Day Twenty– January 17, 2020

Read Mark 3:13-19a New Revised Standard Version

Right away we know something important is taking place because Jesus goes “up the mountain”.  Remember that mountains are place of great spiritual significance in the Bible.  They are places where people encounter God. 

Jesus calls twelve people up the mountain.  Why twelve?  The number corresponds with the twelve tribes of Israel in the Hebrew Scripture.  He is calling the twelve out of the world, and into the kingdom of God.  So who were these people?

  • Simon, whom we call Peter he would do some great things for Jesus, and some painful things too.  His brother was Andrew.  Andrew’s name is always listed with at least another disciple.  These brothers were fishers who lived in Capernaum.
  • James and his brother John (who with Peter make up kind of an inner circle among the disciples.  These two were the Sons of Thunder, a bit fiery and tempestuous and they often were competitive.  They were fishers too, and likely came from some means because when Jesus calls them, they leave their father and their hired men. John is often referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.  He would write 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation.
  • Philip and Bartholomew Philip brought Bartholomew to Jesus in Mark 3:18 but that’s really all we know about either one.  The gospel of John lists a man called Nathanael who was likely also known as Bartholomew.
  • Thomas and Matthew Thomas the one who wanted proof of the resurrection. Thomas had moments of doubt, as do we all, but he was also incredibly loyal to Jesus and was willing to die for him.  He declares Jesus, “My Lord and my God” in John 20:28.  Matthew collected taxes for the Roman government, which meant he was equally hated by the Romans and the Jewish people. 
  • James who is identified as the son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus who is sometimes called Jude or Judas.  He is not often mentioned in scripture.  We know that his mother’s name is Mary and that he has a brother named Joseph.  Some of the most faithful followers of Jesus are never in the spotlight.  They humbly and consistently do their ministry of loving God and serving others. 
  • Simon the Zealot  He was a hot-tempered, right wing extremist. He was a political activist.  He believed that Rome should be defeated, even if that meant violence. 
  • Judas Iscariot. He is the one who will betray Jesus and eventually take his own life. 
    After the death of Judas, and after the resurrection of Jesus, Matthias will be called to be the twelvth disciple. You can read more about him in Acts chapter 1.


Why would Jesus call these twelve? They are not leaders or scholars.  They come with some of their own baggage, questions, doubts, gifts and skills.


These 12 are called both disciples and apostles.  What is the difference?

Disciple means “learner”.  They are an apprentice or pupil attached to a teacher.  Followers of a rabbi were called “disciples”. When the word disciples is used in the New Testament it is used to refer to these twelve students/disciples of Jesus.  One of the best descriptions I have ever read for disciple is someone who walks so closely behind their teacher that they are covered in dust kicked up by the rabbi’s footsteps.

Apostle means “one who is sent out.”  In this chapter Jesus sends them out to do three specific things: 1) to be with him 2) to proclaim the message 3) to have authority to cast our demons.  An apostle is a messenger or an ambassador.  Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, yet he became an apostle.


You and I are called to be both a disciple and an apostle.

  • How are you learning more about God? Are you walking in the dust of the rabbi?
  • Where are you being sent in the world to serve?
  • Who was an apostle who brought God’s message to you? A church school teacher? grandparent? parent? friend?


Visual Liturgy:



Follow You by Ben Rector

I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin


Prayer Focus:

Talk to God about your desire to learn more and grow more in your relationship.

Ask God to help you discern where you are being sent as a messenger?  With whom will you share the good news?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins