“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired…”
Charles Spurgeon once said, “I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.”
Mark now records the choosing of Jesus’ disciples. They will journey with Him, preach news of the kingdom, and display God’s power to defeat Satan. Bible students have described the surprisingly diverse and generally undistinguished nature of this group. If most of us had been choosing followers, we would have pursued the best and the brightest. But Mark writes that Jesus called to him those whom he desired. Why does Jesus desire them? We do not know. As we evaluate their backgrounds and anticipate their failures, we wonder what Jesus is thinking with at least some of His choices. We are especially befuddled by His selection of Judas because Jesus knew Judas would betray Him.
Yet this scene is a small version of the great doctrine of election. If you believe in Jesus, you are the object of God’s electing grace. Before you chose Him, He chose you. You only believe because the Holy Spirit has birthed saving grace in your heart, turning you from sin and leading you to faith in Jesus. You are a child of God not because of your merits, but purely because of God’s mercy.
The doctrine of election offends some people, even professing believers in Jesus. But you must realize that it is clearly taught in the Bible. You cannot avoid it in such foundational passages as John 10, Romans 8, and Ephesians 1. Beyond that, you must understand that apart from election, you have no hope. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This glorious God is perfectly holy and just. You can receive His favor only if He chooses to give it to you. Because you cannot choose Him, He must choose you. And if you love Him as your Father, you know He has provided this great blessing.
Think again of the disciples. Could they boast that they were better than others? Might they say, “Jesus chose me because He saw such potential in me”? Never. In the same way, your faith in Jesus should never be source of pride. The doctrine of election is the most humbling of truths because it gives all the glory to God and none of the credit to us.
You are not one of the Twelve. But you still have the glorious privilege of being one of Jesus’ chosen people. May you daily choose to serve the One who has chosen you.