When Jesus called the first disciples on the shores of Galilee, they had already witnessed His power over evil. They had seen Him challenge demons (Luke 4:34-36), heal the sick (Luke 4:38-41), rule over nature (Luke 5:4-6), reveal sin and then reassure Peter there was no need to fear (Luke 5:10).
Some time later, after praying all night (Luke 6:12), Jesus assembled His followers (disciples), and from that larger group chose twelve, calling them apostles (Luke 6:13; the Greek word apostolos means “to send out”). Before Jesus sent them out, He spent some time with them giving them instructions (Luke 9:1-5) that were similar to the details He gave to a larger group of 70 some time later(Luke 10:1-16).
Read Mark 3:14. What did Jesus want the apostles to do before sending them out on their own? What important message is in here for all of us?
How many times are modern disciples more eager to race off and work for Jesus rather than spend time with Him? The simple reality is that when we go out to fulfill the gospel commission, racing off with our own to-do list, we bypass the Savior of the world and try to replace Him with ourselves. It is too easy to have a “Messiah complex,” thinking it is up to us to save the world, forgetting that Jesus alone is Savior.
One would not be too hard-pressed to say that so much of Christian history has been soiled by those who, professing the name of Jesus, had not spent time with Him, had not known Him, and had not been changed by Him. The last thing our world or the church needs are those running around in the name of Christ who have not been “with Him.” One of Satan’s greatest ploys in the great controversy has been his ability to co-opt those who claim the name of Christ and to use them to defile that name. Hence, before sending them off, Jesus wanted these men to be with Him in order, no doubt, to learn from Him.
What does it mean to us, today, without the physical, fleshly presence of Jesus, to be “with Him?” What are the practical real-time ways in which we today can have that time with Him?