The tension is growing.
Powerful people are starting to plot.
People everywhere are continuing to come.
Evil spirits are announcing.
What’s Jesus going to do?
He heads to the hills.
He calls the people he wants and heads to the hills.
In contrast to the lakeside where everyone can find him, he invites the people he wants to work with to the hills.
Because he needs to keep preaching and driving out demons, and the best way to do that, or better, his way to do that at this point, was not bigger crowds, it was more helpers.
He appoints 12 in particular. And as they are listed by Mark, the people who first heard this thought, “Ah. Peter knew Jesus! John was picked by Jesus! Thomas was picked by Jesus! Wait, Judas was picked by Jesus?”
In 2022, I still remember 1987 clearly, parts of it. The birth of a son stands out. So do some other things. And hearing the origin stories from then, of people and organizations I know now, is interesting at least, and deeply validating at times.
I hear those stories and say, “you mean she knew him that far back? You mean he learned his craft from the master? You mean they heard the stories directly from that person?”
We do it all the time. We talk about teachers, mentors, schools, cities. It matters to us.
And that is what was happening here. Mark was letting those first readers know that the apostles had cred. And that the people who learned from the apostles were learning from the first learners.
It would help.
But still, Jesus picked Judas?
The story is just getting started, after all. There are going to be some plot twists.
If you think Lent’s just about giving something up, it will be a long battle with willpower. But what if Lent’s actually about learning to follow God?
Lent For Non-Lent People is a seven-week guide to learning to listen for God. In this short book, I help readers use the season of Lent to learn to focus on God. If you’ve read it before, it’s time to get it out. Ash Wednesday is March 2. If you haven’t, I’d love you to take a look.