The Crowds and the Called

Recently the Session of Bear Creek Church decided to suspend the search for a new senior pastor and explore the possibility and feasibility of merging with another congregation. While the elders look intently into this option for BCC, I thought it would be valuable for us to remember who we are and what it is Jesus has called us to. So next week, Sunday, July 2, we will begin a series on the Sermon on the Mount, a precious portrait of those who belong to Jesus' kingdom.  

But before we get to that I would like us to give some thought to Jesus' calling of the Twelve whom  He would designate apostles and upon whom He would entrust the very future of His work in the world. 

In our Sunday school class on Mark we have already looked at this, but I would like us to take a second look, keeping in mind that just as Jesus called together some very diverse characters, He may be calling us to join with another congregation of characters as diverse as we are! If so, what will that mean for us and to what end would Jesus do this? 
So take a few minutes and carefully read Mark 3:7-19 and use the questions below to help you meditate on this passage.  

1.    Crowds are the context of Jesus' ministry. For example, in addition to our text, consider Mark 1:32-34; 2:1-4; 4:1.
*    How might crowds have presented Jesus with greater opportunities for ministry?  
*    How might crowds have been a real hindrance to Him and His work?  (Mark 1:40-45)  *    What do you think about large churches or mega churches? What are the opportunities available to larger churches?  What are the challenges?

2.    But it would not be to crowds that Jesus entrusted the future of His work and His kingdom on earth. It would be to twelve chosen but quite ordinary men. Who does the choosing and why is that significant (v. 13)?  Compare John 15:16

3.    According to verses 13-15, why did Jesus choose twelve men?
*    What will be their commission and what will be their training?
*    Here is a thought question:  what does their commission suggest to you about Jesus' priorities and about the world in which we live?  (see also Mark 1:39)     

4.    What do you know about these twelve men? List them and jot down what you know about them from the Scriptures and from church history.
*    As you reflect on these twelve men, is there a personal application for you?

5.    What do you think is the difference between being one of the crowd and one of the called? How do you see yourself? Are you one of the crowd who is following Jesus or are you one of those called to be with him? Explain.  

6.    What is your calling and commission? (Again, recall John 15:16)
*    Do you think it is possible for you to be with him (v. 14) and learn from him in much the same way as the disciples were? If so, how?    

7.    How do you think these men, who most likely were very different from one another, managed to stay together and stay committed to their commission?  
*    If the Lord were to lead BCC into a merger with another congregation, how do you think we would manage to stay together and stay committed to our commission?    

8.    How would you summarize Jesus' purpose and training of the twelve men He called to Himself? What is His big picture?  
*    What is the big picture for you and for BCC? 

9.    What caught your attention in this meditation on the calling of the Twelve?

May the Lord be with you, and I hope to see you on Sunday!

Dan