Mark 07: Fans or disciples

Mark 3:7-19

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

So here are some questions that I want to ask you tonight. Who are you? What is your name? What is your identity? The questions of identity are questions that we must answer. We can’t escape from it. We cannot live without knowing who we are. All of us want to feel valuable and precious. We want our lives to matter. So, the question is not whether we have an identity or not but what is our identity? What is our name? And we understand the importance of a name. For example, parents. When you know that you are about to give birth to a baby girl, you start to think very hard of a beautiful name for your baby. You don’t pick a random name from the Bible, “Mini mani mana mo. Oh, Delilah. Sexy.” You don’t do that. You also don’t ask your neighbour to name your baby. Why? Because that baby is precious to you. And over the years, I have seen how parents tried very hard to give their children beautiful and meaningful names in hope that they will live up to their names. That is why many of you are very creative in naming your children. Your children’s first name, it is fantastic. Middle name, fabulous. Last name, well it’s okay, we know it’s not your fault. There is nothing you can do about it. But here is what I know about those names. More often than not, the children do not live up to their beautiful and meaningful names. It tells us that when we name something, we are actually not capable to bring about what we want to bring about with the name. There is a limit to how much power we have in the naming. We can only hope that what we desire to see will come to pass, but there is no guarantee.

But God is different. When God names something, whatever God names come into existence. Think about what happened in Genesis 1. We see a pattern of God naming things into existence. God doesn’t say, “Let there be light,” and then he goes off and makes the light. He says, “Let there be light,” and light appears. It means that when God names something, the naming creates reality. He doesn’t have to wish what he names comes into reality. When God names, it happens. When we name, we describe the nature of the thing we are naming. When God names, he determines the nature of the thing he names. Can you see the difference? Let me tell you why this is important. All of us has a name. And I am not talking about our literal name. I am talking about the name we give ourselves to define who we are. I am talking about our sense of identity. The thing that makes us feel valuable and distinct as an individual. All of us have it. But if we are honest, we cannot live up to our names. We fail to be who we want to be. And even if we succeed, it is only a matter of time before we lose that sense of identity. For example, my sense of identity often comes from being a good preacher. A good preacher is a name I give to myself. But there is no sense of self that can last through any circumstances, last through any seasons and challenges. Again and again, life hits me in the face and reminded me that I am not as good of a preacher as I think I am. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus has come to give us a new name. And when Jesus names us, that name is secure. That name can handle whatever challenging situation we face in life. It can handle prosperity and adversity. It can handle success and failure. It can handle anything. How many of you want that? Let’s look at our passage together.

I have three points for my sermon: The crowd; The twelve; The new name.

The crowd

Mark 3:7-12 – Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

If you remember what happened in the earlier passage, the Pharisees could not stand Jesus anymore and they plotted with the Herodians to kill Jesus. By the way, I think Edrick did such a good job preaching on Jesus and Sabbath last time. We are blessed to have him in our church. So, Jesus knows that there are threats against his life. There is an unholy alliance of the Pharisees and Herodians against Jesus. And Jesus decided to withdraw to the sea with his disciples. But a great crowd follows Jesus. Most commentaries mention that at this time Jesus is at the peak of his popularity. There are tens of thousands of people following Jesus. And they include people from many different regions. Mark writes that there are crowds from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea, and even from Tyre and Sidon. This is interesting because Tyre and Sidon are the gentiles’ area. So, Jesus’ fame has spread so far and a great crowd from many different regions come to see Jesus. And think about it. There is no Instagram, Tik Tok, Reel or Facebook at that time. There is no internet or newspaper. But in such a short time, the fact that Jesus heals many diseases and cast out demons has travelled to far places simply through the word of mouth. People have never seen anything like it, and they could not stop talking about Jesus. So, people would come from many far places to see Jesus. And remember, there is no car, train, or plane during this time. Some people would have to travel for days or even weeks to come to Jesus.

But why are these people seeking Jesus? Mark tells us that a great crowd come to see Jesus because they heard of what Jesus can do. And when Jesus sees the size of the crowd, he is concerned that the crowd will put him in physical danger. Because everyone wants a piece of Jesus. Everyone rushes to touch Jesus. And Jesus is concerned that he might be crushed by the crowds. Imagine if BTS members walk around in George Street without security. What do you think will happen? George Street will become a sea of purple. It will be packed with the BTS army wearing purple. I love wearing purple but when I do, people associate me with BTS army. And all the fangirls will fight to get as close to BTS as possible. And this can get very dangerous. I am not saying that Jesus is the great and better BTS, but people who have travelled for days to come to Jesus will not be denied. They will not let anyone get in their way. They want to touch Jesus in hope that they would be healed. And this put Jesus in physical danger. So, he tells the disciples to get a boat ready so that he can distance himself from the crowd. Do you see what happened? The crowd does not care about Jesus’ well-being. They want to suck everything out of Jesus. They are determined to get what they want even if they have to crush Jesus for it. And in spite of all of that, Jesus still tends to their needs.

And when the demon-possessed people see Jesus, they get on their knees before Jesus and cry out, “You are the Son of God.” This is the first confession of Jesus’ sonship in the book of Mark. And the ones who say it are demons. The demons are not in doubt as to the identity of Jesus. The crowd only see Jesus as a miracle worker. But the demons know better. They know that Jesus is the Son of God, and they bow their knees before the true king of the universe. And once again Jesus rebukes the demon and tells them to shut their mouth and leave. It is interesting how when we read the Old Testament, we see some demonic activities but not much. But when we get to the life of Jesus on earth, it is everywhere. Why? Because the kingdom of God has come to earth. The rightful king has returned. And the enemies are restless before King Jesus.

What can we learn from it? Two things. First, it is not enough for us to be fans of Jesus. The great crowd are huge fans of Jesus. But what the crowd seeks is not Jesus nor his message but what Jesus can do for them. And we know that this is not Jesus’ priority. Jesus’ priority is to preach the gospel to them. Jesus’ priority is for the people’s spiritual well-being. But the crowd is more concerned with their physical well-being than spiritual well-being. There is nothing wrong with us being concerned for our physical well-being. Jesus cares about our physical well-being. That is why he heals the sick wherever he goes. He cares about our work. He cares about our family, our health, our financial struggles. But the question is, what is our priority? Are we more concerned about our physical well-being or our spiritual well-being? Let me put it another way. Do we want Jesus for Jesus, or do we want Jesus for what he can do for us? Because if we desire Jesus mainly for what he can do for us, then we are just like the great crowd who would crush Jesus to get what they want. We are simply fangirling Jesus. It’s like you were drowning in the sea and you struggled to stay afloat. You thought you were going to die. Then suddenly a lifeboat came to your rescue. You were extremely grateful that your life was saved. But it is very possible to be very thankful for the lifeboat and do not love the captain of the lifeboat. And that’s what we often do. We often see Jesus as a means to an end. We want all his gifts, but we do not want him. We enjoy all his blessings, but we do not love the blesser.

Second, it is not enough for us to know about Jesus. Think about it. The demons know exactly who Jesus is. They know better than the crowds. They have good theology. They know that Jesus is the Son of God. But good theology does not guarantee a relationship with Jesus. I need to say this because I know our church. Many of you have good theology. You love to read Keller and Piper, and you listen to the Village church and Gospel in life podcast. How do I know? Because you get it from me as your pastor. You have my love for theology. But here is where we must be very careful. Just because we know a lot about Jesus does not mean that we have a relationship with Jesus. As awesome as Piper and Keller are, there is a group of beings who have even better theology than them. The demons. Piper and Keller learned their theology from dead men. But the demons are different. The demons graduated from the best Bible College in the universe called Heaven University. Their professor was not Martin Luther or John Calvin. They learned their theology from God. Piper and Keller might spend 60 or 70 years learning about God. The demons had eternity to learn about God.

But listen. The demons have good theology, but they are still demons. They have the right knowledge of Jesus, but they refused to worship Jesus. And I was guilty of the same thing. There were times in my life when I followed hard after Jesus, was very active in ministry, very diligent in my theological study, not because I love Jesus but because I wanted to be famous for following Jesus. Everyone around me thought I was a great Christian. From the outside, I ticked all the boxes of a good Christian. I was so good that many aunties want to marry off their daughter to me. True story. But the truth was, I did not have a relationship with Jesus. I was empty on the inside. Do you see the danger? I could easily fool people around me and myself into thinking that I was a good Christian because I know a lot about Jesus. But I did not love Jesus. I loved myself. So, what do we need to do? Let’s move on to the next point.

The twelve

Mark 3:13-19 – 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

After escaping the crowd, Jesus goes up to the mountain and he calls to him those whom he desires. This is where Jesus appoints the twelve apostles. And once again, we see the same pattern that Jesus displayed before. It is not people who choose to follow Jesus; It is Jesus who summons those whom he desired to him. And this goes against the norm of that culture. The norm is for the students to choose their teacher. It is like us today. It is not universities that choose students, but it is students who choose which university they want to attend. But Jesus is different. He calls those whom he desires. But let’s look at some of the people whom Jesus desires.

Look at Simon, whom Jesus gives the name Peter. Now we know that Peter is impulsive. Peter is the type of person who acts first and thinks later. He doesn’t wait for things to happen; he makes things happen. He does not have a lot of patience. And he often gets in trouble. Peter is the guy who says to Jesus, “I know who you are, you’re the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus says, “Spot on mate. Well done.” And then Jesus says, “Oh, by the way, we are going to Jerusalem. And the plan is I’m going to be killed, and then I’m going to rise from the grave on the third day.” And then Peter steps in and goes, “Not in my watch. I am not going to let that happen. I am going to protect you from harm, Jesus.” And Jesus replies, “Get behind me, Satan!” Ouch. This is the guy who continues to make mess after mess. But Peter’s name is always listed first in all the accounts of Jesus appointing the twelve apostles. And Peter ends up being the leader of the twelve. Out of everyone Jesus could have called to him, Jesus desires Peter.

Look at John and James whom Jesus gives the name Sons of Thunder. That is a cool name. I want to be called son of thunder. Or god of thunder. But I don’t have the body to be Thor. We are not exactly sure why Jesus names them Sons of Thunder. But they also do not fare better than Peter. One time, they go to a Samaritan village and the Samaritans reject them because the Jews and the Samaritans hate each other. These two men say to Jesus, “Jesus, would you like us to call fire down from heaven to burn them?” These two men want to nuke a village in Jesus’ name. They certainly do not show the fruit of the Spirit in their life. But Jesus desires John and James.

Look at Simon the Zealot. A zealot is a religious-political group sworn to assassinate enemies of Judaism, like Romans and tax collectors. They are the freedom fighters. So, Simon is like the main character in the Assassin’s creed. He is a dangerous man. But Jesus desires Simon and calls Simon to him. And we can go on and on. Matthew is a tax collector who is hated by the public. Thomas is a doubter. Phillip is always slow to get what Jesus means. None of these guys will pass the screening be leaders in our church. But these are the people whom Jesus desires and calls to him. These are the people whom Jesus appointed to be the twelve apostles.

What does it teach us? It teaches us that Jesus does not choose the qualified; Jesus qualified whom he chooses. All the apostles are flawed people with many failures. Yet these are the people whom Jesus desires and chooses. What makes the twelve different from others is not because they are better than others. They are not educated and not well connected. They are unschooled, ordinary men. But what separates them from others is that Jesus desires them. What separates them from others is that they have been called by the sovereign king. And the good news is that if Jesus can use people like them for his mission, he can use us in his mission today. I love the way Oswald Chambers puts it. “God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or the abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.”

Listen. If we think that we are nobodies, we are the perfect candidates for God to use to accomplish his purposes on the earth. It is not our abilities that qualify us to be used by God; it is our dependence on God’s power and grace. Let that be an encouragement to you. Maybe some of you say, “Yos, that’s sweet. But you don’t know what I have done. You have no idea what I went through. You don’t know the failures I experienced.” Yes, I may not know how shady your past is. But Jesus knows every little detail of your past and he is not surprised by it. And the good news of the gospel is that the sovereign king who knows every little detail about you desires you. Let that sinks in. Jesus Christ knows your shady past and he desires you. He calls you to him. He wants to use you to accomplish his purposes on the earth. The choosing of the twelve tells us that Jesus specializes in using broken people to accomplish glorious purposes.

The new name

Mark 3:14-15 – 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.

Jesus not only calls the twelve to him, but he also gives them a new name, a new identity. For example, Jesus gives Simon a new name, Peter, which means rock. This is interesting. Think about it. Rock is firm and steady. Rock is a foundation. But Peter is anything but firm and steady. Peter is the man who swears to never betray Jesus the night before the crucifixion, only to deny Jesus three times in a matter of hours. Peter is very shaky. But if we look at the end of his life, Peter remains steadfast to his faith, to the point that he died being crucified upside down. Peter is as firm as a rock. Do you see what happened? When Jesus names Peter, Jesus is not wishing that Peter would be as strong as a rock. Jesus is transforming Peter to be as strong as a rock. Jesus’ naming has that power. If we are ugly and Jesus names us beautiful, Jesus can’t be wrong. He makes us beautiful. If we are weak and Jesus names us strong, he makes us strong. In other words, Jesus has the power to call into being out of nothing that which he names as he names it.

And this is what Jesus does with the twelve. Mark writes that Jesus appointed the twelve. The word appointed is weak. It is actually the word create. So, Jesus not only calls the twelve, but he also creates the twelve. He does not simply appoint them, he makes them into something else. That is why Jesus gives the twelve a new name. He names them apostles. Apostle means the send out one. This is their new identity. So, they are not only Peter, James or John. But they are the send out ones. Jesus names them the apostles so that they might be with him, and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. Some people might say, “Yes, but we are not part of the twelve. We are not the apostles. They are specific people that Jesus has chosen for a very specific purpose.” Yes, the apostles are unique, and they have a special role in God’s redemptive purposes. But we know that the call and commission of the apostles is representative of the call of every disciple of Jesus. How do we know? Because we recite it every single week at the end of the service. Matthew 28:18-20 – 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is Jesus’ words to all his disciples, not just apostles. So, we know that Jesus’ call and commission to the apostles also apply to every disciple of Jesus.

So, what are we called to do as disciples of Jesus? Three things. First, we are to be planted in a community. Following Jesus is a personal choice but a community project. We can see it from this text. Jesus not only calls a single person to be an apostle, but he calls a group of people and gives them a new name. But not only that. Why does Jesus call twelve people? Why not 5 or 6 or 11? Because Jesus is not making a basketball, a volleyball, or a soccer team. But why 12? Do you know the significance of the number 12? In the book of Exodus, Moses went up into a mountain, called the twelve tribes of Israel together, and made them into a new nation, Israel. When Jesus goes up to the mountain and calls twelve people together, he is saying, “I am creating a new people. I am creating a new community of the send out ones.” Do you know what Jesus is doing? He is creating the church. And every time Jesus calls an individual to him, he places that individual in a group. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. Every Christian is placed in a group of people called the church. It is through the community in the church that Jesus shapes us into who he created us to be. So, if you have yet to be planted in a community, it is very important that you decide to be in one. You desperately need a community to know who you are and become the person Jesus is calling you to be. You cannot thrive as a disciple of Jesus on your own. That’s the first one.

Second, we are to be with Jesus. It means that we do not follow Jesus to get something else. We follow Jesus to get Jesus. This is what it means to be with Jesus. When Jesus calls us, he is calling us to him. We are to follow him, watch him, spend time with him, learn from him, and know him. Jesus is the subject of the call. To be with Jesus means that Jesus is not simply a means to an end. Jesus is the means and the end. To be with Jesus is a language of intimacy. It means that we are not called to meet him every Sunday, from 4 to 6 PM. We are called to be with him 24/7. And we must get this right. A lot of times, we think of the call of discipleship as a call to study more about Jesus. It is not. Discipleship is a relationship. It is about the who before it is about the what. And when we are in a relationship with Jesus, it changes us. There is a big difference between hanging around Jesus and being with Jesus. Because being with Jesus means sticking with Jesus on his road to the cross. We share the toil, the suffering, the pain, the betrayal that Jesus experiences. Being with Jesus is no picnic. If we follow Jesus, we are not exempted from suffering. We must walk down the road to the cross on our way to glory.

But not only that. To be with Jesus is also to experience the kiss of Jesus. Let me explain what I mean. In Luke 15, Jesus gives the parable of the prodigal son. This son took his share of the inheritance while his dad was still alive, abandoned his family, and squandered all the money. And after he lost all the money, he reached the lowest point of his life. He could not afford a single meal and pigs’ food looked like crispy pork belly to him. So, he decided to return home and become one of his dad’s servants. But when his dad saw him from a distance, his dad ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. Imagine that scene. The son was covered in filth and dirt. He was feeding pigs. I’m sure he stank. But his dad did the opposite of everything expected of him. Everyone expected the father to reject his son and treat him as dead. But instead, the father loved his son so much that he emptied himself of any pride, any rights, any honour, in order to get to his son a second faster. And when he got to his son, he embraced him, and he kissed him. He kissed his stinking filthy son. And what’s amazing is that the son had not even apologized. The son had not told his dad that he was wrong, and his dad already kissed him. And the kiss of the father changed everything for the son. Listen. It is one thing to know Jesus loves us; it is another thing to experience the sweetness of his kiss when we are covered in filth and dirt. Have you experienced the kiss of Jesus? Do you know him like that? We can only experience the kiss of Jesus if we are with Jesus. And Jesus’ kiss changes everything about us. As we spend time with Jesus, Jesus is reshaping our love and our identity. Following Jesus is not about what we can do for Jesus but who Jesus is making us.

Third, we are to be sent out. We are not only called to be with Jesus, but we are also called to go with Jesus. So, we are not only recipients of God’s grace, but we also become an extension of God’s grace to other people. There is time for us to gather, and there is time for us to be sent out into the world. And the words send out means that we do what we do in the name and authority of the one who sent us. The term for it is an ambassador. What happen is that kings would send out ambassadors to different places to represent them. And if someone went as an ambassador of the king, it was like the king went himself. The king literally went through the ambassador and so when the ambassador comes, it is like the king himself has come. This is the picture that Mark gives us. Jesus calls us to him, and he sends us out. And everywhere we go we are ambassadors of King Jesus. And King Jesus is no ordinary king. King Jesus is the king with all authority in heaven and on earth. When he sends us out, he gives us his authority. To do what? To preach the gospel. We are to proclaim to everyone around us, “The kingdom of God is at hand; Repent and believe in the gospel.” And when we do that, we are not acting on our own authority. We have the authority of Jesus. And Jesus will not fail to save those who are his. That is why we can proclaim the gospel boldly. Because the power of the gospel to save does not lie in us but in the one who sent us with his authority. We have the authority of King Jesus.

And we are also sent out to cast out demons. What does it mean? It means that we are going to start a new exorcism ministry in our church. If you are interested to join, contact Novi. She is the leader of our exorcism ministry. Okay, that is not what it means. It means that we should go out into the world and make a change with the authority of Jesus. We are not called to sit on the sidelines and play safe within the walls of the church. The world that we lived in is under the influence of the kingdom of evil and we are called to confront evil. It means that there is no such thing as comfortable Christianity. Christianity is a war. There is a war that is happening all around us between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. And if we do not recognize that we are in a war, we are in big trouble. Let me give you an example. One of the things that bother me about the holocaust is that Germany was predominantly Christian at that time. Historians noted that of the 300 million people under Nazi domination, 90% were Christian. 90%! But only less than 1% acted to save the Jews. If you are not disturbed by that, you should. It means that the majority of German Christian decided to stay comfortable in their safe zone rather than go out and confront evil with the authority of Jesus. And that’s my fear for many Christians today. I fear that the enemy has made us very comfortable with our work, our family, Netflix series, games, and we forget that we are in a war. Our king has sent us out into the world not to be like the world but to invade the enemy’s territory with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians have been sent by Jesus into the world to confront evil with the authority of Jesus. This is our mission as ambassadors of the kingdom of God. This is what it means to be disciples of Jesus. We are to be planted in a community, we are to be with Jesus, we are to be sent out. The question for us tonight is, are we fans of Jesus or are we disciples of Jesus?

Let me close with this. When we put our faith in Jesus, Jesus has given us a new name. And this new name cannot be taken away from us. It remains with us forever. And with that new name, we have been given the task and authority to be the ambassadors of King Jesus. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out his disciples two by two and he gives them the authority to heal the sicks and cast out demons. They come back from their mission, and they are excited. They tell Jesus, “Jesus, it is amazing. Even the demons are subject to us in your name.” Jesus smiles at them and says, “Do not rejoice that the demons are subject to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “Do not rejoice that your name is famous in the here and now. Do not rejoice that you can do many things in my name. Do not get your identity from that. It is shallow. But rejoice that your names are forever written in heaven. Rejoice that your name is already written in the book of life. Rejoice that you are mine and no one can take you away from me.”

But listen. Do you know what it cost Jesus to have our name engraved in heaven? In every list of the twelve apostles, there is a name that is always mentioned last. Do you know who? Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. And Judas’ name was not there by accident. Jesus knew Judas would betray him and he still chose Judas. Why? Because that is the cost of our new name. Jesus was willing to be betrayed. Jesus faced injustice, mocked, and was beaten to death at the cross. And in doing so, Jesus satisfied the wrath of God against our sins. Get this. The reason our names could be engraved forever in heaven is because Jesus’ name was blotted out from the land of the living at the cross. And by his death, Jesus made us a new creation and named us his beloved. So now, when we put our faith in Jesus, we receive a new name. Our name is no longer Guilty; Our name is Righteous. Our name is no longer Slave to sin; Our name is Free from Sin. Our name is no longer Condemned before God; Our name is Holy before God. Our name is no longer Sinner; Our name is Children of God. This is the name that Jesus purchased for us at the cross. And nothing in this world can take that name away from us. We are forever his. Rejoice in that. Let’s pray.

Discussion questions:

  1. Every one of us has a “name” that gives us a sense of identity. What is the name you give to yourself? Share it with others.
  2. What is the main characteristic of “fans” of Jesus? Can you see this trait in you?
  3. In what ways do we often think that we are not qualified to be used by God? Why is the choosing of the twelve good news for us?
  4. Look at the three characteristics of the disciples of Jesus (Planted in a community; Be with Jesus; Sent out). Which area do you need to grow the most?
  5. List out some practical ways that you can do to grow as a disciple of Jesus.
  6. How does Jesus give us a new name and how is this name different from the name we give ourselves?
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