shutterstock_64407244-copy16 These are the twelve he chose:

Simon (whom he named Peter),
17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”[a]),
18 Andrew,
James (son of Alphaeus),
Simon (the zealot[b]),
19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). 

Mark 3:16-19

At first these verses don’t stand out as particularly miraculous or special.  There were other Rabbi’s at in Jesus’ time and there were other disciples. Yet these verses are special because they tell us the very names of those who would be closest to Jesus during his earthly life.  The Bible describes that there were huge crowds that followed Jesus (Mark 3:7) yet only 12 were chosen to be disciples.  Disciples are learners, students, who would study from a great teacher called a Rabbi.  They were typically young men, probably teenagers (contrary to the mental pictures we have of the disciples!).  Teenagers! They were the ones being equipped with the very knowledge of the one who would save the world.
The disciples lived with Jesus, traveled with Jesus, ate and slept near Jesus.  They sat as his feet as he taught.  They saw every miracle, every healing, every exorcism.  He spent every day of three years preparing and equipping them.  It was the goal of every disciple to become the Rabbi.  It was an all-consuming passion for them.  It was not a part-time, Sunday only, 15 minute a-day activity.  Discipleship is so much more than that.
Thankfully the disciples themselves have passed down everything we need to also be disciples of Jesus!  Through the scripture they have set good examples for us to emulate.  They have set bad examples for us to learn from.  The disciples Matthew and John wrote down the story of Jesus that we still read from today.  The disciple Peter shared his story with Mark who wrote it down for us (according to tradition).  Peter also wrote two letters.  Luke no doubt interviewed some disicples for his “orderly account” of Jesus’ story (Luke 1:3).  The disciples (along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit) made it possible for us to be equipped to be disciples.
Christian tradition tells us that every disciple went on and died as a martyr for their faith (except for possibly John).  The very ones who were closest to Jesus were the most convinced of his deity.  This ought to give us the courage to continue their legacy and be the true disciples that God wants us to be.  We have everything we need.
When you read stories of the disciples, do you ever see yourself in those stories?
Would you describe your discipleship of our Rabbi Jesus as all-consuming, passionate, and on-fire?
What do you need to leave behind in your life to truly follow Jesus?