Mark 3:13-19: The Twelve are Appointed
Twelve: We all know the biblical significance of the number 12. Obviously, to the people of Jesus time twelve was representative of twelve tribes of Israel and only added the excitement that God was doing a new thing. From my limited study, apparently 10 tribes were still considered “lost” at this time and reconciling the twelve tribes would be very significant.
Bible history and Jewish significance aside, 12 is a really cool number. A twelve sided shape is a dodecagon, but a three dimensional shape with three flat sides is a dodecahedron, now that is an awesome name for a shape. As a matter of fact, some scientist believe that the universe is a dodecahedron.
Mathematically, Twelve can be divided by two, three, four and six, making it one of the easiest low numbers to work with and separate into groups, said Dr. Kristen L. Zacharias, a historian of science and philosophy assistant professor at Albright College. The Romans loved 12 so much that they measured weight, length, and money in units of 12. That is all great, but when I think of numbers I usually go the source of all mathematical wisdom … “Schoolhouse Rock”. “Little Twelve Toes” is not one of my favorites, but it does make you think. Actually, Some ancient cultures did use 12 as the basis of their numbering system. How could that be practical?
Glad you asked. They counted the joints on their hands, three joints per finger. Add a thumb, also made up of three joints and you have a very useful hand to perform just about any task imaginable.
So Jesus gathered HIs fingers together to begin the work. Maybe no great insight here, but it is apparent that Jesus was setting a precedence early in His ministry that there was work to be done and that His people were going to be a part of it.
Work is not easy and it is especially hard on the fingers. How many times has the wrench slipped you busted those knuckles. From jammed fingers and scraped knuckles to losing a nail. Years ago, I ran my hand through an electric pizza roller. It smashed all four fingers on my left hand to a point where the skin actually split. Our fingers are on the front line of everything we do.
Regardless, I am one of the fingers that Jesus has chosen to carry out the work and I am supposed to be on the front lines. Often times, I am not that enthusiastic about the whole work thing. As a matter of fact, I can down-right lazy.
“How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” (Prov 6:9)
He created me with a purpose and laziness is not an option. It is time to get to work.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)
Want to start from the beginning of Mark? Good News with Mark