With these passages in mind as well: Luke 6:12-23 Matt. 5:1-12
The Calling of the 12 Apostles
Jesus right now you are seated upon your throne in the cosmic mountain, the New Jerusalem. I love pondering you at the heights of heaven being adored by all the angels. Now here in this scene you ascend a different mountain. OH the picture you are displaying to the nation of Israel. I'm remembering before your incarnation when you came down in glory and sat upon Mt Sinai and called Moses & the elders to yourself. In blazing glory, terror, and fire you sat upon that mountain in your horrifying beauty. You betrothed yourself to Israel that day (Jer. 2:2), you promised that they would be a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:5-6), you made covenant with them forever, and now here you are sitting upon another mountain calling a new group of leaders from Israel to yourself.
This time you didn't sit down in terror and outward blazing glory; rather this time you came from the lowest place of a manger to climb this mountain as a man. What a Paradox. You are the same GOD, the same power, glory, and terror has always been yours! You opened up your majesty at Mt. Sinai, but now with no change of identity, with no contradiction in person, You, Jesus climb a mountain in the appearance of a bondservant, as a man.... OH the humility!
Indeed you did take your seat upon this blessed mount.... OH Jesus did they even have a clue what was happening? To a Jew Mt Sinai was such an integral part of their faith, so closely tied to the revelation of YHWH. That this scene must have evoked some sort of internal dialogue within them? Maybe the throngs of people would have asked: Why is He going up and sitting on the peak of this mount? Doesn't He know what sitting on the top of a mountain means to us? Why is He calling those men up there to Him? OH they probably had no idea who it was who was again sitting on the top of that mountain in their very midst! Just as you summoned Moses and the elders up in the midst of your glory, now you are beckoning a new chapter of leaders up to yourself..... What were the Apostles thinking? Why do we have to climb up there? Why can't He come down here? Did they have any moments where they realized the significance? I wonder if they thought about Moses and the elders making their way up that mountain as they climbed up?
Now, the Apostles stand before You, a man from Nazareth, who once engulfed that ancient holy mount in flames. And the first thing You do is set them apart to "Be with you". This is reminiscent of when you made it known you wanted a Kingdom of Priests to minister to you (Ex 19:5-6). You wanted these new 12 first to be with you and then to be sent out to bring forth your desired priesthood.
Jesus, You once called 12 tribes to be this kingdom of priests but now you redefine individual election. You are choosing 12 new men, not from the 12 sons of Jacob as before, but instead 12 ordinary humble Jewish men. For people thought that since they were simply the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they were automatically God's elect. Now you are making it clear that your intent has always been that the elect are those that trust in the Messiah and obey Him with a pure heart. Now these new 12 leaders will be the spiritual fathers of all nations proclaiming Jesus as the promised seed of David who alone possesses the promises of Abraham. I can hear them now.... "Hear all Israel & gentile nations, if you want to be included in the promises of Abraham you must join yourself to this Man... for He is the promised heir" Did they have any idea that from moment on and forever their names were to be etched into the foundation of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, excluding Judas the betrayer of course. (Not that this did away with the national election of the nation of Israel who's calling is irrevocable for these 12 men were all Jewish... for salvation comes from Israel to all nations.)
Oh, Jesus now you openly define what it means to be a true Jew; to inherit the promised blessings those outward Jews must become inward Jews by letting You the final Patriarch circumcise their hearts unto yourself through the power of the Spirit to obey the sermon on the mount.
Jesus it says that you called to yourself those that you wanted. What was it about these 12 that caught your eye? Why did you want these specific ones to be with you? Within the list of the 12 Apostles we are introduced to 4 new faces "Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus (also called Judas the son of James Lk 6:16), Simon the Zealot, and Judas". The other 8 had already been formally called into discipleship but these 4 are summoned from a more distant group of your followers. Simon and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel) were all called to follow you in John chapter 1, and Matthew was previously called in Luke 5. But now You call all of them together not just to be formal disciples but to be Apostles. (The main difference being an apostle is a "sent one" and a disciple is a student following a rabbi). OH the excitement in your heart as you under the direction of Your Father are giving these 12 men authority to heal the sick and cast out demons for the purpose of preparing your long awaited bride.
Jesus, I love thinking about you spending all night in prayer prior to choosing the 12. Here you are not only acting as YHWH but acting as the promised Prophet. Just as Moses ascended prior to calling up the elders of Israel so did you. Exodus 19,24 is what this seems to emulate. In exodus 19 Moses ascends by Himself and then goes up with the elders in Ex. 24. Then Moses gives the Mosaic covenant Law to the Elders and then He comes down from the mountain and gives it to all the people. Jesus it seems that you did the same as you went up the mountain by yourself then called up your new eldership to you... they too saw the God of Israel and lived! You then gave the sermon on the mount to your disciples (Matt 5) and then You went down to the plain to preach to the masses (Luke 6).
The Exodus account was a marriage proposal and covenant to Israel (Jer. 2:2), of which they broke and couldn't uphold. But now here You are calling up a new eldership and again giving Israel a new marriage proposal! Oh, you never gave up on your beloved! You then go down to seemingly "consecrate" the assembly in the wilderness just as Moses did but this time with the New Law (the law of the spirit) - the sermon on the mount...... Your prenuptial agreement to your future bride. You will surely have your desire of a Kingdom of Priests as Your beloved bride, and they will one day obey all your words by the power of Your Spirit in all perfection. You will not ever compromise righteousness in any way. Your Bride will be perfectly righteous to be joined one with You. It can be no other way.... You are Holy.
I also can't help of thinking of the eschatological picture the prophet Isaiah paints of the law going forth from the promised Messiah as He sits upon the elevated mountain city of Jerusalem (Is. 2). Jesus one day you won't be teaching the sermon on the mount on an obscure Galilean mountain in the wilderness. One day you will teach the sermon on the mount to all the nations from the throne of David in an elevated city of Jerusalem. All the nations will stream up to the holy city to hear You teach and expound on your own precious words. All nations will hear these words and rejoice and bow down and kiss the son... for you alone will be exalted. Come Lord Jesus come!