When a professional man like an architect is given the task of creating some building, he will choose a team to help him and first of all show them the plan he has in mind. So when Jesus Christ began the work of bringing the kingdom of God into the world he first chose a team of disciples or apostles to work with him. The only precedent for this in the Bible is Elijah calling Elisha; the normal practice was for men to attach themselves to a rabbi or teacher and gradually learn his teaching and way of life. In Mark’s first chapter we learn that Jesus first called four men,
Peter, Andrew, James and John, not possibly poor or ignorant men but sons of a prosperous businessman, for we learn ‘they left their father with hired servants’ and followed him. Next he called Matthew, a tax collector, again with some nous, and finally seven more. What though, did these men see in Jesus which made them change their lives so drastically? In a dark world there remained among Jews the hope of a Messiah who would save them from their enemies. A further clue could be found in the Psalms: ‘My covenant will I not break nor alter the thing that goes out of my mouth; I have sworn once by my holiness I will not fail David, His seed shall endure for ever’ and Jesus came from that line. He was indeed a son of David. Now another Goliath of evil and ignorance withstands the arrival of the kingdom of God and needs to be overcome by David’s heir. In Mark’s Gospel battle is being fought not with armed strength but quietly. The kingdom advances each time Jesus heals, gives life or corrects ignorance. The disciples are drawn into his mission and slowly trained, not least by witnessing the miracles of the Master, truly visual aids! We are told in the Acts of the Apostles that these men had been with Jesus from the beginning and we might reflect that we as Christians could also be with Jesus if we read the whole of Mark’s Gospel.