This next verse has a very important spiritual significance to it. It explains salvation. It explains just how people get saved. It shows the primary difference between the two great groups of people in the world: the saved and the unsaved. The Bible says in Mark 3:13, “And he goes up into a mountain, and calls unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.” Notice first of all that some of the people went with Jesus and some did not. That’s a picture of the condition of all humanity. Some have come to Jesus and some have not. Of course, we hope that those who have not yet come to Jesus will still be given a chance and will take that chance. Even so all of humanity are divided into two groups of people: those who know Jesus and follow Him and those who do not. Which group are you in? First John 5:12 says, “He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.”
Notice also that the ones who came to Jesus were first called by Him. This Bible verse says that He “calleth unto him whom he would.” Before anyone can come to Christ, they must be called. Today by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we are drawn to Jesus. Salvation is the work of God in the heart of a person. You cannot convince anyone to come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit is using you as an instrument. Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus said in John in John 16:8, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Be careful about being too aggressive to get people to make decisions. Only the Holy Spirit can convict a person of their need of Christ. No one can come to Christ until they are called. Everyone is called at some point in their life, but you do not know when that time will be for another person.
Once someone is called of God to come to Christ, then it is up to the person to answer the call and to respond in a positive way to it. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Woe and sorrow and destruction to the person who does not answer the call. Proverbs 1:30-33 says, “They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
Here in Mark chapter three, the ones that Jesus called did not resist His calling. It says in Mark 3:13, “and they came unto him.” That’s how you get saved. You come to Jesus. This is not a religious ceremony that gets you into a religion. This is a relationship with Jesus. If you came and joined a church, that did not get you saved. If you came and got baptized, that did not get you saved. But if you came to Jesus, then you found salvation in Him richly and freely.
The Bible says in Mark 3:14-15, “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” These two verses tell us exactly why Jesus called the twelve apostles. The first reason and the most important reason is “that they should be with him.” God likes fellowship. He created man so that He could have fellowship with us: so that He could know us and we could know Him. Jesus wanted the twelve to be with Him, just for the sake of Him knowing them and them knowing Him. For the next three years the apostles walked with Jesus and talked with Him. What a difference that made in their lives, and how much they benefited just from walking with the Lord and talking to the Lord. They learned a great deal, and they became different people because of it. You do not know what you are missing if you have not learned to walk with Him and talk with Him along life’s narrow way.
Because they spent time with Jesus, the apostles became equipped to do the work that Jesus wanted them to do. He wanted them to preach, to heal sicknesses, and to cast out demons. It is important to note that the first thing on this list is “to preach.” Jesus preached. He made the gospel known publicly. And Jesus wanted the apostles to preach also. Not everyone is called to preach. Preaching is a very important business; and if you are not called to preach, then you are called to help those who do. Jesus realized that there was a need for more preachers. Jesus spent a great deal of His time preparing and sending out these preachers. In order to preach you had to be called by Jesus, and you had to be prepared by Him especially through spending time with Him.
Evidently the apostles had certain gifts and powers that we do not have today. That’s what makes them apostles and what makes them different from us. They could preach just like we can, but they could also heal diseases and cast out devils. We can see the healing of disease and the casting out of demons through the preaching of the Word and through prayer, but we cannot do it the way the apostles could because they had special powers given to them by Jesus.
Concerning the calling of the twelve apostles, the Bible says in Mark 3:16-19, “And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.” The first Apostle that is mentioned is the Apostle Peter. Jesus changed his name. Up until this time he was called Simon, but Jesus changed his name to Peter. Peter comes from the Greek word “petros,” which means “rock.” There is a very clear symbolic meaning to this. Simon definitely was not a rock, as is clear in all the gospels. He had a very severe weakness to his character. He was impetuous, impulsive, and he often did not follow-through on his word or his promises. Why did Jesus name him a “rock?” Jesus called Simon a “rock,” not because of what Simon’s character was like up to that point in his life, but because of what Jesus would transform Simon into after three years of hearing the teachings of Jesus and after the working of the Holy Spirit in Simon’s life. After what Jesus would do, instead of being weak and unstable and untrustworthy, Peter was a rock. The Lord wants to do the same thing in all of our lives. Whatever you are today and whatever are your weaknesses, Jesus wants to transform you through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also gave a new name to James and John. They used to be called “the sons of Zebedee,” but Jesus called them “the sons of thunder.” Again, this new name signified a big change in their lives. The fact that James and John were the sons of Zebedee was once the greatest fact of their lives. When they first came to Jesus and left their nets, the Bible told us that they left their father with the servants. They were attached to their father. They worked with their father. They got their identity from their father. But once they started walking with Jesus, that changed. They now had an identity all their own. They now had a life with a significant circumstance that Jesus gave them. Jesus no longer called them the sons of Zebedee. He called them the sons of thunder. When we speak of thunder, we are speaking of a great and very loud sound that is heard everywhere in the community. Jesus was saying that James and John would become known for the message that they would help deliver as preachers of the gospel. John himself would one day write about thunder several places in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 10:2-3 John wrote, “And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.”
Here in Mark chapter three with the listing of the twelve apostles a very ominous thing is found in the statement that is made about the last one on the list. It says, “And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him.” There were twelve apostles, but one of them betrayed Jesus. They appeared to all start the same, but they did not finish the same. They all started out following Jesus, but one of them ended up betraying Him to a horrible death. What happened? Why did Judas Iscariot end up that way? Without getting into the question of whether Judas was saved or not, one thing is for sure: at some point Judas started wanting something that he should not have wanted. Some people think that it was money that Judas wanted, and eventually a bag of silver was more than he could resist. Perhaps it was power that Judas wanted. If Christ became King in Israel, Judas would receive power as one of Christ’s right-hand men. But when it became evident that Judas could not have such power because Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world, Judas became disillusioned and got what he could out of the situation, and betrayed Jesus for a few pieces of silver.
The important thing to remember about the ruined life and the lost opportunity, and the horrible failure of Judas Iscariot is the fact that he started desiring something that he should not desire, and he started down a road that led to the destruction of everything that was good and true and valuable in his life. Proverb 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, because out of it are the issues of life.” People always want to know if Judas lost his soul or not. We do not know for certain, but this we do know: Judas lost his opportunity, he lost his position, he lost his reputation, he lost his future, and he lost his life. It is an important thing to surrender your will to God’s will. Beware. Do not go your own way. Remember Mark 3:19 and take it as a warning, “And Judas, which also betrayed him.”
The Bible says in mark 3:20-22, “And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” The people who did not believe in Jesus tried to come up with explanations for this new behavior of His. After all, He had been a quiet carpenter in the little of village of Nazareth for so long. Now He was a great public speaker and miracle worker who attracted multitudes on a daily basis. What could account for this change? We know that the reason for the change was the call of God and the timing of God. There is a time to be still, and to work with your hands, and to wait upon God; and then there is a time to stand up and speak out. For Jesus, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, His time had come to be manifest to the nation of Israel.
When you attempt to serve God, there will be opposition. There will always be those who will tell you that you should not do what you are trying to do. Your strength against this kind of opposition must be your confidence in finding and following the will of the Lord. If you know for sure that what you are doing is what God wishes you to do, then it does not matter what others say. The friends of Jesus opposed him. Those who were once closest to Him, probably friends or family from Nazareth, tried to get Him to stop. The opposition from those closest to you might hurt the most, even though it may not be as hateful as that which comes from the outside. Those of your own family may be your biggest obstacle to doing the perfect will of God.
Of course, we know that the religious leaders opposed Jesus. Do not forget this fact, if you do not want to be too surprised when the same thing happens to you. Religious leaders of established religious organizations are usually not filled with the spirit. They easily become filled with the selfish spirit of human control in a human organization. Jesus the divine Son of God was doing the will of God and the work of God, but the religious leaders came and said that Jesus did what He did by the prince of the devils. They twisted everything backwards. They called evil good and good evil. There are people who commit the same sin today. There are people who because of their political affiliation will support any scoundrel and will oppose and denounce any good man who is not in their political party. Such people in our society are of the same mind and the same spirit as these evil scribes. Some things do not change much after all. “There is nothing new under the sun.” Thanks be to God who sent His Son to deliver us from this evil generation.
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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