“and he appointed twelve so that they might…” v. 14
What are the basics of being a disciple? When Jesus appointed the first twelve he had a purpose for calling them. In verses 14-15 we are told,
“and he appointed twelve so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”
His purpose stated here, is three fold. “He appointed them so that they might…”
- “Be with him…” Jesus called his disciples to be with him. Before he ever sent them out to do anything he called them to get to know him. As a follower of Jesus our first call is no different. We are called to be with Jesus. This involves more than having the right opinions about him. It is a call to be intimately acquainted with him. By spending personal time with Jesus we learn more than his commands. We learn his heart. Jesus knows your heart but do you know his? You know what he commands, but do you know why? It’s one thing, for example, to love your enemy because Jesus tells you to, and entirely another to love your enemy because you feel his love for them. It’s one thing to believe Jesus loves you because, “Jesus loves everybody, and logically, that must include me.” But when you have spent enough time with him to feel deeply his love for you personally, that is a whole new realm of existence. Jesus calls his disciples, before anything else, to simply be with him, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” He says. Before he sends you out into the world, He calls you in to relationship with him. Next he sent them out.
- “He might send them out to preach…” Jesus purpose in calling his disciples was not only relational, it was also missional. He called them to go and preach the gospel. If you would follow Jesus you have a mission to complete as well. HIs mission for them was more than some general call to go spread good will in whatever way they chose. He called them to go and preach. When I ask people what God has called them to do, most of the time I get one of two types of responses. The most common is ignorance- “I don’t know.” The second most common is Generalization- “God just wants me to be a good person.” Both answers fall short of what the New Testament teaches. God does not want us to be ignorant of His purpose, as if it were some dark mystery cloaked in obscurity. Many walk around in the safety of this murky notion, mumbling to themselves, “I guess He must have me here for a reason…” but never really grasp what the Bible clearly tells us. Neither does God want us to settle for just being generally good people. Too many believers wander around with no real direction, thinking God just wants us all to “get saved, and behave to the grave.” Living lives that are more akin to the Disney Channel than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus call was specific, “preach”, and he has a specific call for you. He wants you to know it and be about it all of your life. The good news is he has not called you go do what he has not enabled you to do.
- “and to have authority…” Finally Jesus called them to power. In this case he gave them authority, i.e. power, to cast out demons. Don’t let anyone water this down with goofy notions, suggesting they were just curing people of mental illness. The demons were real. They were supernatural. People were, and are in serious bondage to demonic powers. Only the power of Jesus can overcome them. The power of the Holy Spirit is central to the life of the believer. It’s tragic to see in so many of our churches today, the Holy Spirit is ignored at best, and is replaced at worst. In many churches the Holy Spirit is no longer sought. We’ve decided we can do better with our man made schemes and resources. Does your church teach about the ministry of the Holy Spirit? A church that has no teaching about the Holy Spirit is like a Restaurant with a menu and waiters, but no kitchen. You have everything except what people need the most. You have an organization that is no better than a secular business or a government agency. You’re like a hospital that only hands out band-aids, because you have no doctor. But the followers who know they need His power have a life that has a lasting impact.
Friends, our Lord has not simply died to bring us to heaven. He has appointed us to bring heaven to others. We do that when we spend time with him, obey his specific call for us, and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.