He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons.
– Mark 3:13-15
In Mark’s gospel the first thing Jesus appoints his apostles to do is not something to do, but something to be: “And he appointed twelve… to be with him.” So often we think of Jesus as one who does. Especially in Mark’s gospel Jesus seems to be perpetually doing, moving from one ministry opportunity to the next, preaching and healing and casting out demons at a pace that might well leave the reader breathless. Given Jesus’ prodigious activity, we might suppose that Jesus would appoint apostles who could keep up with his action-packed schedule, who could join him in going “immediately” (one of Mark’s favorite words) from one act of ministry to the next. But the first thing Jesus appoints the apostles to do is not something to do, but something to be: “to be with him.” Continue reading