Go back and read chapter 3 in the Gospel of Mark again because it is a critical chapter in the book. One of the reasons it is so critical is the clarity of what discipleship looked like for the disciples. The verses to examine are 13-15.
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. (ESV)
For Jesus, mentoring His disciples was a relational and purposeful process. There was both a “with-ness” to the process and there was a goal to the process. And that process required the original disciples to spend time with Jesus.
- Sitting at His feet.
- Listening to His word.
- Watching what He did.
- Observing how He lived.
- Seeing Him pray.
- Learning to follow His example.
Ask yourself this question:
How are we supposed to spend
time with Jesus today?
Isn’t this why God has given us the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? How can we become like Him if we aren’t daily reading about Him and meditating on
- His life and ministry,
- His ways,
- His example,
- His words,
- His commands,
- His illustrations,
- His parables,
- His way of teaching,
- His way of interacting,
- His way of dealing with objections,
- His way of dealing with questions,
- His prayers,
- His way of moving through time?
Can we learn from others? Yes. But how can we dispense with this most basic “with-ness” in the study of God’s word, all of it, but most particularly the Gospels? Answer? We can’t. We simply can’t.
And that’s why Jesus’ mission is NOT being fulfilled in and through our lives. Because the process is BOTH relational (the with Jesus part) and purposeful (that He might send us out to preach). Jesus wanted His disciples then and now to spend time with Him so that we would be able to preach the gospel with sensitivity, authenticity and power. And until we spend time with Him we will continue to be powerless.
Aside: Read Psalm 73 and see the difference worship makes in the life of the believer who is storm-tossed and doubting as he looks at the prosperity of the wicked.
Hint: the psalm pivots from doubt to faith at verse 17.