Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.
9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. 11 And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons. 16 These are the twelve he chose:
Simon (whom he named Peter), 17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), 19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). – Mark 3:7-19
“Does he have a plan?”
Yes, a plan. Russians don’t take a dump without a plan, Son.” [Excuse the crude language, please.]
It’s a scene from a favorite movie of mine, Hunt For Red October. Jack Ryan is convinced that the rogue Russian submarine captain is trying to defect to the United States with Soviet submarine. Ryan is right, and so is the US Navy captain questioning him about the Russian’s plan. The Russian had a plan.
Jesus has a plan as well. As does God. On the one hand we can see it in bold relief in the life and ministry, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. On the other hand it is ever unfolding around us in the days, moments, weeks and hours of everyday life. Often we are so caught up in our daily challenges and goings-on that we don’t see how we fit into God’s plans. Sometimes we wonder just how his plan is going to work out – especially if we’re trying to follow what we believe to be God’s plan.
This short account of Jesus’ teaching and healing, calling and naming the apostles shows Jesus’ plan which continues on even today. Jesus has his disciples prepare the place for him and shows them in real time God’s power and authority over even the demons. Then he calls his disciples up on a mountain and designates 12 of them as apostles.
These he sent. The word apostle means “sent one.” They are named. They have been commissioned. And now they will go out. They go out under his authority. They will speak, heal, and cast out demons under his authority. They will announce the reign and rule of God. That’s his plan.
Imagine, if you will, the angels in heaven speaking with God, looking down on these 12 and hearing Jesus send them out. Imagine them learning that Jesus was also going to die, rise again, and then ascend into heaven. Then they learn that Jesus will leave the Great Commission in the hands of these 12 minus one (Judas).
They look to God and ask, You’re going to leave the eternal salvation of the whole world in the hands of these 11 men? What if they fail? What is your backup plan? God would answer: I have no other plan. They will do it. It’s far too important to leave in the hands of only the most powerful, important, intelligent, and successful. They must rely on me. My plan is to use them to turn the world right-side-up again.
Do you have a plan? An exercise plan? A savings plan? A retirement plan? A daily plan? Have you considered how God might want to use you for his plan, blessing you and blessing others through you? You wouldn’t be the first to learn to rely on his power and authority. You won’t be the last unless Jesus returns first to restore all things to perfection, bliss, joy, and life – which is God’s ultimate plan.