He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word and give them authority to banish demons. These are the Twelve:

–Mark 3:13-16 MSG

Somewhere in the chaos, the plan changed. The boat sat unused, disregarded. Looking around Jesus said, “let’s head up the mountain.” “Is He talking about all of us? Who is going up the mountain?”

Then He did something that had everyone who was aware holding their breath. One by one He called out names as He passed by. “Thaddeus. Simon. John….”  Hearing Him call out names, I realize that not everyone will be going up the mountain. I start to feel strange. My heart pounds. I think I’m holding my breath. Then He is almost to where I’m standing. Everything in me wants to shoot my hand in the air yelling, “Pick me, pick me!!!” but I don’t say a word. My eyes track His every move. And then He’s in front of me. He pauses for just a moment, looking deeply into my eyes. Then He says my name. Relief swamps me so much I broke into a sweat. Taking a deep breath, I move to the others who moved to the edge of the crowd waiting to see where Jesus wants us to go.

The crowd starts to realize Jesus is finishing up. He’s leaving and only taking a few people with him! I can hear different ones call out, “I didn’t get to talk to you!” “What about me?” “Why do they get to go?” “I walked 3 days to get to you. And you’re just leaving?”

In your mind’s eye, how do you see Jesus responding to the disappointment of the crowd? How does it strike you? In your heart what do you feel?

Jesus wasn’t afraid to disappoint anyone. Often, we put this down immediately to His perfection as the perfect union of human and divine. But think for a minute. What do you think that was like for Him? How do you imagine He felt about it? When He knows you are disappointed with Him, what do you think He does with that? What do you do with it? How do you feel when Jesus doesn’t say “yes” to you? Especially when you’ve come so far or worked so hard to follow Him?

“The walk uphill continued. I hurry to catch up and keep pace. I’m not sure what this is, but whatever it is, I want to do it well.”

How do you imagine that trek up the hillside? What’s the conversation about? Is anyone even talking?

Once more turning to look back at the crowd, you see friends and others you thought more worthy than yourself.

“How did I even get chosen?”

There’s such a mixture of emotion. Elation, gratitude, mystery, puzzlement, curiosity, sadness, guilt. How did I get this good thing and they did not?

ACTION: What is it like for you when you realize that Jesus chose you? That in spite of all your weaknesses, He picked you?


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Stories of Jesus…Part of the Crowd
Stories of Jesus…Chosen to Go