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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, June 8, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 3:13–19a  

He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (NRSV)

Reflection
As I read Mark’s account of Jesus calling the first twelve male disciples, I was struck by the image of our brother and our Savior as a community organizer. Jesus recruited a leadership core for his grass-roots movement, later involving women as well as men in his ministry (though the Gospel writers listed only a few of their names).

From early on, Jesus chose to initiate a communal effort. Jesus worked with these friends (yes, sometimes despite their words and deeds). Together they sought to further God’s ways of hospitality and compassion, love and justice. The Jesus movement still models the path of life and ministry for present-day disciples.

Jesus used a very personal touch in his organizing work. Several of the twelve are named by relationship to one another, by a new given name, or by their nicknames (James and John, Sons of Thunder). As I read the names, I began to envision these characters. Most, if not all of them, were locals, Jews just like Jesus. As Jesus’ ministry expanded, so would the diversity of his followers, strengthening the movement. May we continue Jesus’ personal, powerful, organizing in our own day!

Prayer
Empowering God, I thank you for sisters and brothers I know by name in the Jesus movement, as well as so many others whose names I do not know. Open all of us to the leading of your Spirit, as we seek to continue Jesus’ organizing efforts. Amen.

Written by Jeffrey Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults


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