And He went up on the hillside and called to Him those He wanted and chose, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve to continue to be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority and power to heal the sick and to drive out demons.
When you read this account in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 6, we find that Jesus didn’t casually trek up a hillside but that He went up on the mountain and spent the entire night in prayer with the Father. I am convinced that in that all night communion with the Father Jesus learned who the Father would have Him call out separately from the many who were following Him. The Father spoke to Him of twelve men, including Judas Iscariot. When morning dawned, Jesus responded in obedience to the will and pleasure of the Father.
There a few things to learn from both the perspectives of Jesus and these called out ones:
1. Jesus shows us that we must separate ourselves in prayer and communion before we make any decisions. His call to prayer was upwards. He had to ascend to the Father, and we must follow His example.
2. We must be willing to sacrifice time and the needs of our flesh sometimes in order to obtain the direction of the Father. Jesus did not eat or sleep, He communed all night with the Father. We have to take off our watches, turn off our schedules, and reach past the comforts of our flesh to see His face.
3. Jesus responds in obedience to the Father. Rest assured beloved, there wasn’t one called out by Jesus that the Father hadn’t told Him to call. Even the very one who would be used to betray Him.
Secondly, the disciples-
1. The disciples stayed near enough to hear the call. There are times in our walk that when we are “separated” or feel a part from His manifested presence, and we must force ourselves to stay near. In the night, fear may come wondering where He is, but when dawn arrives, if we have remained steadfast we can hear Him call our name.
2. Notice that Jesus didn’t come down, He called them up. When they were invited to follow Him Jesus was “on their level.” This invitation was higher, these men were being called out to be sent out.
3. They had to go up. We are required to ascend, just as Jesus did. We have to leave the things of this earth behind and go higher. It’s much harder to go up hill than down. There are a ton of excuses we could probably give as to why we don’t want to wake up and trek up some big mountain first thing. How often do we just stay where our coffee is in the morning instead of ascending? Do we hear Him call our name and yet keep telling Him we’ll come up tomorrow, or after work, or before bed, etc?
The scripture says He called from on high and they came. The ascending was conditioning them for the sending. Perhaps this is why we, the church, are not walking in power and authority, healing the sick, and driving out demons. Are we ready to ascend?