“Now Jesus went up the mountain and called for those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he named apostles), so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach and to have authority to cast out demons. He appointed twelve: To Simon he gave the name Peter; to James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, he gave the name Boanerges (that is, “sons of thunder”); and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Mark 6:13-19)
Jesus called twelve people to be follow him, to be his disciples, to be members of his “church.” What was the first and most important thing Jesus required of them? To spend time with him. At the core of being a disciple, at being a follower of Jesus is the necessity of spending time with Jesus and developing a deep relationship with Him.
Jesus’ call of his disciples reveals three things. First, Jesus “called those he wanted” (v.13). Jesus’ wanted and desired a close, personal friendship with his followers. Jesus did not call them as a marketing plan or to hire workers. He did not call them with a “human resource model” like most churches of getting them to sign up to be greeters, ushers, parking lot greeters, childcare workers…and the list goes on. He simply wanted to spend time with them. Second, “they came to him.” (v.13) The disciples attraction was simply Jesus. It was not a program, building, or ministry. They came and desired to spend time with Jesus. Third, “So that they could be with him.” Like Jesus’s desire for a close relationship with them, they desired a close relationship with Him.
The whole point of Jesus calling those to follow him was so that they could be with him. Yes, he wanted to “send them out to preach and cast out demons,” however all authority and power for them to be able to do this has its source and is only possible from a deep abiding relationship with Jesus.
What is the whole goal and purpose of being a follower of Jesus today? Why did he Jesus call you to follow him? Because He wants you to spend time with Him. At the core of Jesus calling of you is His desires to personally and intimately to spend time with you. At the core of your Christian walk needs to be a desire to personally and intimately spend time with Jesus. I have found as a Christian leader that if I do a service project of some sort people willingly show up to serve and work even though the tasks may be difficult and outside in hot conditions. I have found that people willingly get up on Sunday mornings and get dressed, get in cars, and drive off to a church to attend a service. However, I have found that getting people to spend time daily with Jesus: to sit comfortably on a couch in their pajamas with a cup of coffee or tea in their own home and read the Bible and pray, to desire to simply spend time with Jesus, is a struggle for them.
Yet “doing” things: attending church services, serving in a church or in a ministry, and teaching or leading a church event is not at the core of Jesus call of you, just as “doing” things was not at the core of the first group He called to follow Him. It is “being” with Him. You must first desire to be with Jesus before you can go out and do things for Jesus. The great commandment, to love God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength ( Mark 12:30) comes before and is a pre-requisite to fulfilling the great commission, “Go and make disciples.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Hear these haunting words from Jesus. “On the Judgment Day, many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name and expel demons in your name and do lots of miracles in your name?’23 Then I’ll tell them, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you people who do wrong.’ (Matt. 7:22-23)
There is nothing myself or any other leader can do to get you to desire to spend time with Jesus. There is nothing a spouse or parent can do to get their spouse or child to desire to spend time with Jesus. There is nothing Jesus can do to make you desire to spend time with him. As much as Jesus desires to be with you, he can’t make you spend time daily with Him in Scriptures and prayer. All he can do is call out to you, and expectantly await your response.
My family, I pray today as you begin your day you will come to realize that answering your call to follow Jesus is not centered on “doing” things for Jesus, but “being” with Jesus. May you desire to be with the one who desires to be with you, Jesus Christ. Please pray the same for me! God bless you my friends!
Please share your reflections and prayers with me in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
One Direction Community
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