Following Jesus isn’t easy. Jesus' continues His ministry around the northern end of Israel on the Sea of Galilee. Many from the larger surrounding towns come to be healed by Him and follow Him. So many people crowd in on him that it is hard for Jesus to do simple tasks.
We've seen in early stories that the religious leaders oppose Jesus and even plot His death. Yet when the demons encounter Jesus they fall down before Him and clearly state His identity as “Son of God.” The demons get it even when the religious leaders don't! Yet again Jesus commands them not to proclaim to all what He is doing.
Then Jesus, up on a mountain, calls to himself the 12 disciples. In the Old Testament there were the 12 tribes of Israel. Symbolically, Jesus is calling the exile community around himself in these odd 12 disciples. These 12 apostles (disciples) are those sent out in the power of Jesus. The list begins with Simon Peter and ends with Judas Iscariot. In between we have Sons of Thunder, a Tax Collector, and a Canaanite (foreigner).
Who would you most want to hang out with? Why do you think Jesus attracted so many people?
Why do you think Jesus tells the demons not to reveal His identity?
What does the symbolic nature of the 12 disciples say about Jesus’ ministry?
What might the identity of these 12 say about Jesus? About the nature of His Kingdom? About Discipleship?
How does Jesus’ selection of such a diverse group say about discipleship? About church? How might this serve as a comfort when it comes to the call to discipleship?
How should our discipleship look like theirs?