New Israel

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Mark 3:7-19

So he appointed the twelve. (v. 16)

Every first-century Jew knew that there once had been twelve tribes of Israel. Before
the current Roman occupation, and before the Babylonian and Assyrian conquests centuries
before, there were twelve tribes and twelve regions of Israel – one for each of the
sons of patriarch Jacob. And every first-century Jew also knew that their prophets had
spoken of a coming time when God would restore Israel to its former glory.

So when Jesus went up to a mountain, a place of special significance, and picked twelve followers for a special assignment, no Jew in the crowd would have missed what was up:
Jesus was reconstituting the fullness of Israel, because the time of restoration was at

But what a motley crew Jesus picked. No bank executives or government power-brokers. No
doctors or nurses. No school teachers or college professors. Mostly just a bunch of
fishermen. And quite unexpectedly there was a tax collector (Matthew) and a zealot
(Simon)- in other words, a crook in collusion with the Romans and a violent revolutionary bent on overthrowing the Romans. How could Jesus ever imagine those two would get along? Did they? Do we?


We say we are your followers, O Lord, and yet we fail in so many ways. Give us

the imagination and courage to do your will on earth as it is done in heaven.