These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); (Mark 3:16)
When we come upon this verse in Mark’s gospel, Jesus and His disciples have withdrawn ‘into the hills’ so that He can clarify the calling and set aside twelve for special office. Their commission will be unique: to be with him and to preach and cast out demons. Like that of the Lord himself, the ministry of the Apostles will be to announce the Kingdom of God. They are intimately sharing in His mission. In our modern reading, we are called to a similar ministry without needing the title given to his inner circle.
We are not told why Jesus elects to give Peter, James, and John their new surnames. Thus far, Peter has not distinguished himself as deserving of special calling but we, like Simeon himself, must simply trust the Lord’s foreknowledge and mission. Our modern world, filled with qualification tests and the prominence of credentials, can lead us to the mistaken belief that we are required to prepare ourselves for calling. In fact, as we learn from Jesus’ methods, he calls us to our ministry and will supply all of the necessary preparation through the Holy Spirit. Do we trust Him enough to simply follow closely along with Him and await His direction?