Friday, December 30, 2016

Jesus Selects the Apostles

Mark 3:7-21

“But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,  And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.” (Mark 3:7-8)

While the Pharisees were plotting with the Herodians, Jesus simply left the cities, going back to the less populated areas around the Sea of Galilee.  Thousands of people flocked to hear him, not only from Galilee, but from all of the Jewish territory, from the Northern coasts near Tyre and Sidon, to the border of Egypt and east of the Jordan River, The entire area once ruled by Herod the Great. 

“And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.  For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.  And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.  And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. “ (Mark 3:9-12)

Because the crowds were so large, with people trying to just touch him so they would be healed, there was danger of people being hurt in the crush, so Jesus had his disciples get a small boat so that he could speak to the crowds from out in the water.   He healed people with various common diseases.  T%hose who were controlled by demonic spirits recognized him as the Son of God, but again he forbid them to tell who he was, in an effort to prevent Satan playing on their recognition to mislead people by implying they believed the same things and worshipped the same god.    

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.” (Mark 3:13-19)

Jesus selected the twelve apostles out of the crowds to go and preach around Israel, giving them special powers to heal sickness and cast out demons.  In II Corinthians 12:12 Paul describes these gifts as the signs of an apostle.  “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”  As he explains in I Corinthians 13:8-10, those gifts or signs would disappear when they were no longer needed.  “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”    

“And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.  And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.” (Mark 3:20-21)

While it is exciting to have a crowd, the bigger the crowd, the less concern there is for individuals.  People get trampled or crushed and go unnoticed as the crowd gets larger. . Even Jesus and his disciples were unable to even eat.  Jesus’ friends were concerned that he was getting in over his head and would burn out because of the frantic activity.  

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