“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” (Mark 3:14)
It is understandable that large crowds followed Jesus with enthusiasm. He had healed many, and word had gotten around.
Jesus had come to call followers, but he was not seeking fame like a celebrity or a power-grabber. He came so that he could bring the good news of God’s kingdom and give people new life. Remarkably, even when evil spirits saw Jesus, they would cry out, “You are the Son of God” — which of course was true.
In our reading from Mark today we see that simple enthusiasm or saying the right words about who Jesus is — both of which seem like good things — are only of value to Jesus when they are tied to discipleship. So Jesus specifically chose some followers to be his disciples.
He appointed twelve so that they could learn from him and preach his message. Disciples come with their own flaws, needs, characters, and fears — and these twelve made their share of mistakes over the years. But they did follow Jesus, and they would show flashes of enthusiasm, even at times confessing the truth that Jesus is “the Son of God.”
When we follow Jesus, some days are easier than others. Some days we can be passionate about following him, being with him, and getting our confession right. But other days are harder. Remember, Jesus isn’t looking for fame; he is making disciples.
Lord Jesus, help us to grow in following you and learning to confess that you are the Son of God, our Savior. Amen.