Mark 3:13-15- “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.” NKJV
Jesus has created quite a stir since starting His public ministry. Although I have read the Bible from cover to cover, more times than I can remember, I am still amazed at the response of the Jewish leaders to Him. Of course, I am aware of the prophecies, and I know the end of the story, but still, this is Jesus, the Son of God!
Multitudes of people were beginning to show up wherever Jesus visited. They followed Him from one place to another, to see what He was doing. I’m sure we would have been following Him too! Mark wrote:
But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him”Mark 3:7-8 NKJV
Why did you come to Jesus? Was it because of what you thought He would do for you? I think that may have been the original motivation for most of us to follow Him. But now I trust that we follow Him because we know that He is God and there is none like Him!
Jesus asked His disciples to have a small boat that He could use if the crowd became too much. The crowd was trying to get as close to Him as they could to get their needs met. He didn’t rebuke them and tell them to give Him space; He just made arrangements to have a way to step away from the crowd if He needed to step away.
Why were they acting so frantic, you might wonder? Mark tells us!
For He healed many so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.”Mark 3:10-12 NKJV
The kingdom of God was thriving! Jesus not only preached the kingdom of God, but He demonstrated that the kingdom was near at every opportunity. Many are healed and delivered from unclean spirits in demonstration of the kingdom. Mark, a writer who gets to the point, doesn’t give us the details of these healings, but he does let us know that they really wanted to touch Him.
Traditionally, I always thought that the woman with the issue of blood was the first to want to touch Him, but here we see the crowd wanting to get close enough to touch Him, and she hasn’t been introduced to us yet by Mark! Demons left the bodies and spirits of people, screaming in terror of the Son of God, as He warned them that they were not to make Him known. It had to be a busy day of ministry!
Finally, Jesus leaves the sea and goes on the mountain where He called a group of men that He wanted to spend some time alone with Him. It is at this meeting that the twelve were chosen as apostles. What I want us to note is the fact that Jesus called them for a specific purpose:
And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.”Mark 3:13-15 NKJV
This news is exciting to me! Jesus appointed twelve men to disciple. What a special privilege they were given, for many were following Him. The twelve apostles were Simon and Andrew (who were brothers), James and John (also brothers), Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas (who was called The Twin), James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas who betrayed Him. It is said that Bartholomew is also Nathaniel, and that Thaddeus is Jude, the son of Alphaeus.
What did Jesus call them to do? Exactly what He was doing! He called them to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to heal the sick and cast out devils. In Matthew, Jesus gave more details to their mission:
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV
In other words, Jesus’ ministers represent Him, not just with the gospel message, but also with the gospel power! Disciples follow their leaders, displaying many of the same traits and teachings that they have learned. Traditionally, as Christians, our focus has been on getting people saved. Since people need the Lord, this is a good strategy. But when Jesus went out, He spoke of the kingdom of God, and then He demonstrated the kingdom of God. He didn’t tell people that they had a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Although this is accurate theology! His focus was on wooing people into the kingdom, not scaring them into His kingdom!
The early church added something else to their message, the message of Jesus the Christ! They proclaimed Jesus everywhere they went, preached the gospel of the kingdom, and demonstrated it with power! They also used the wonders of the King and His kingdom to reach the lost! Fire insurance (scaring the Hell out of people) will only take you so far!
A man convinced against His will, is of the same opinion still!Mary Wollstonecraft, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
As the early church began to grow, the apostles had to put some things in place to institute order, but they never changed the message of Jesus! And they never lost their focus! They healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out devils, all while spreading the gospel of the kingdom!
As followers of Jesus, we need to know that we have a responsibility to the message of the Savior. We live in this world, but we are not of this world, and we are to tell people about the King. I am sure that most of us already do! But we also have to ask God to bring us to a point where we boldly proclaim the kingdom and then watch as He demonstrates the kingdom through us.
People are still lost in their sins, as they were when Jesus walked on this earth. They are still in need of physical healings and deliverance from the demonic attacks that plague society. If we genuinely believe that Jesus Christ is still the same as He was and forever will be, we must realize that we have been missing a big piece of the puzzle, and it is time for us to reevaluate how we portray the Savior!
Much is happening in our world today. As I write this blog, Hurricane Ida is raging in Louisiana with a trajectory to cross several more states. I am praying that the damage will not be as severe as expected and that there will be many testimonies of people and property being kept by God. As you read this blog, please do the same. The virus isn’t taking a vacation while all of this is happening, so people need prayer for protection as they shelter in place. We don’t need to be afraid or worried about all that is going on; we just need to trust that God is who He says He is and believe that He will answer our prayers. Wonderful Jesus!