And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. – Mark 3:13-10
For some time, our culture has made liberal use of the word ‘retreat’. It references time where one or more people separate themselves from the day to day. Many things are done on retreats, from seeking a better understanding on a particular subject, or working with others toward a common goal.
It would seem Jesus had the same idea. He took his disciples to a place away from the bustling crowds, to a mountain side. Mountains are frequently places where God is present with those following him, like Moses, for example, and this time was no different. Jesus, the God-man, was physically present with his disciples.
When Jesus and the chosen twelve were up on the mountain side, authority over the Evil One’s minions as well as a commission to preach was given to them. Despite the presence of Judas, the betrayer, Jesus was able to be present with his disciples and they with him. The intimacy of the situation shouldn’t be lost on us. Presence with Jesus is something we can experience today, like the disciples did. The big difference between what the disciples had with Jesus then and what we have today is that Jesus is there, physically with the disciples, and he’s with us, spiritually, whether we know it or not.
Something you can do at any point during your day is to rest in the presence of Jesus, without moving from where you are. Many things can help us enter into this practice, from reading scripture to listening to music, or just being still and quiet. If there’s a physical practice you’ve used in the past to do this, do it now. If you haven’t done this before, listen to a song you enjoy that speaks to you of Jesus, relax, and pray for Jesus to make his presence known to you. And wait in quiet.
By Rich Obrecht