Daily Reading & Meditation

Friday (January 23): "Jesus appointed twelve to be with him"

Scripture: 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. 4 And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons: 16 Simon whom he surnamed Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed 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 Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Then he went home.

Meditation: What is God's call on your life? When Jesus embarked on his mission he chose twelve men for the task of preaching the kingdom of God and healing the sick in the power of that kingdom. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God's work: Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.

When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you make your life an offering to the Lord and allow him to use you as he sees fit?

"Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude and generosity for all you have done for me. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All."

Psalm 57:1-5,10-11

1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;  in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
2 I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3 He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample upon me. [Selah]  God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
4 I lie in the midst of lions that greedily devour the sons of men;  their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The renaming of Matthew by Jesus, by Bede the Venerable, 672-735 A.D.

"We must not pass over the fact that Matthew had two names, for he was also called Levi, and that name too bears witness to the grace granted to him. Levi means 'added' (or 'a joining') or 'taken up,' signifying that he was 'taken up' through being chosen by the Lord, and 'added' to the number of the apostolic band. Mark and Luke generously chose to use this name alone, so as to not make glaringly conspicuous his former way of life, for he was now their companion in the work of the Gospel (Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27). In setting down the list of the twelve apostles, they simply called him Matthew, not mentioning Levi (Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). Matthew himself, on the other hand (in accord with what is written, 'The just man is the first accuser of himself; his friend came and searched him out' - Proverbs 18:17), calls himself by his ordinary name when telling of being called from his tax-collector's place, but adds pointedly 'the publican' (Matthew 10:3) - 'Thomas,' he says, 'and Matthew the publican.' In this way he offers to publicans and sinners greater confidence in securing their salvation." (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.21)


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author Don Schwager 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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