We are obsessed with qualifications in our culture. We are entirely merit based. When we hire we want quality resumes, with commensuate experience to the job description, and then we put people through interviews where we try our best to test out whether they will be a rock star in our organization or not. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. And here in the midst of all the insanity of Jesus’ work and increasing fame, Mark pauses as Jesus calls the 12 Apostles, or as commonly known “The 12”.
These are not rock stars. They have no resume. And their experience mostly consists of fishing and tax collecting. Jesus has passed by the religious and theological experts of the day, and there is nothing in these 12 about which we would think that they would be Jesus’ choice: There’s a couple of hot-heads in James and John. Simon Peter will annoy, and then ultimately publicly deny Jesus. Simon the Zealot will be constantly pushing the overthrow of Rome, Matthew (Levi) will have little credibility in the community because he was a tax collector, and, well, Judas’ job title is already set: “Betrayer”.
So why does Jesus choose them? We don’t really know, except maybe to say this: In God’s Kingdom, no one is disqualified, but for those who self-select out because of who else is invited. There were likely more than just The 12 following Jesus, but there were others who are offended by who he calls and who hangs with, so they left. Some even began plotting how to stop him. We saw this in chapter 2. Jesus’ key followers are a band of misfits. We are a kingdom of misfits, an island of misfit toys.
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? You might look like you belong, but you don’t feel like you do? Welcome. Welcome to the Kingdom of God. Step fully into the you that the world may think odd, and you may just be stepping into the work and call Jesus has for you. Be your truest self. It may disqualify you from something here in this world, but in it will you find the Kingdom of God.