We’re starting a sub-series within our study of the Gospel of Mark where we are going to look a little more closely at the lives of the Apostles. As we go through these mini-biographies that I want you to do a few things:
First, I want you to find yourself in this group. Without a doubt one of the Apostles’ personalities will jump out at you and you’ll be able to see yourself in them. Look for the ones who were tempted like you are tempted, have the same weaknesses and strengths as you, and see what meeting Jesus and following Him did for them.
Second, I want you to notice how different these people are and embrace the understanding that God calls lots of kinds of people into His kingdom. The differences between you and the believers around you are created by God Himself, and it is through those differences that He can be most glorified by His Church.
Third, I want you to be thankful that you have been chosen by God, just as Jesus chose the disciples, and that you have a divine purpose for your life. You may stumble and fall, but God’s grace is always available to you and once you accept that grace and begin to walk in faith, you can discover that divine purpose.
Full disclosure: I was powerfully impacted and inspired by this sermon by J.D. Jones when writing this. You can read it here on Google Books.
Peter is not the First Pope
Let’s begin with the first name in the list, Simon Peter. In Mark 3:16 it says Jesus “appointed the twelve” and then begins the list of who the 12 Apostles are. Each of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) there is a list of Apostles and Peter is always first, and Judas is always last. In each list it says that his name was “Simon” and then follows it by telling us that Jesus renamed him Peter.
We’ll get into the name change a little later, but I want to park here for a moment to mention that without question, Peter was the leader of the apostles – but he wasn’t the first pope.
The Catholic Church holds that Jesus made Peter the head of the Apostles, but there’s nowhere in scripture that He does that. Matthew 16:16-20 is one of the most controversially debated passages in all of scripture. Read the rest of this entry »