“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:13-15).
Jesus called them one by one
Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
Next came Philip, Thomas too,
Matthew and Bartholomew.
So goes the children’s ditty to help them learn the names of the Apostles. You will find all their names (though not the song) in the four verses that follow our text.
There is more to the call however than just the call. First, it was a call of grace. Why did he pick these guys? What made them special? Evidently nothing. He did not call them because they were special. His call made them special. Second, it was a call of commitment, a call “to himself” (that part is repeated in the Greek text) and no one else. Third, it was a call “away” from their previous lives – a different life signified by a change in their names. Fourth, it was not just a call to join his entourage, but a call to engage in Jesus work – with his full authority. Finally, it was a call of conflict: the disciples were to be “with” Jesus, and yet they were to go out from Jesus into the world.
It was, in fact, the precursor and example of what it will mean to be a Christian.