Next Step: Next Generation

Jesus has continued revealing himself, revealing his identity to the people, showing who he is by how he is teaching and the works that he has been doing. The people are starting to understand and have begun to follow him in large crowds. But the common man isn’t the only one who has understood. The Pharisees and religious leaders have understood as well, and now they are out to get him.

Jesus had gained a reputation for healing on the Sabbath. He was doing those things that were considered to be unlawful, according to the Jewish law, and then saying that he was the Lord of the Sabbath, as we saw in Mark chapter 2 when his disciples had taken some grains off of the stalks.

Now in chapter 3, the Pharisees had specifically come to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. They wanted to catch him in the act of doing good so that they could accuse him of breaking the law. How upside-down is their thinking! It shows how much that they have truly begun to hate him.

Jesus does, in fact, heal the man. He knew what they were thinking, and in fact had the man with the shriveled hand stand up directly in front of them so that there would be nothing hidden. Jesus is challenging the Pharisees, fully knowing that it would one day cost him his life.

So it is in that context that Jesus goes on to choose his disciples. He is, on the one hand, setting himself up to be hated, and at one point soon, to be killed. Knowing this, he goes up on a mountain and calls 12 of the men out of the crowd of disciples that have been following him to come and be his closest disciples.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mark 3:13-18

Jesus had a role for each of them to play. Even Judas. Jesus knew that he would betray him, and yet Jesus chose Judas to be part of the group of his closest disciples. Jesus is thinking about this next generation that will one day carry on the work that he has been doing, and that he will continue to do.

Jesus would send them to preach. They would speak on his behalf, on behalf of the Kingdom of God, to the people around him. And he gave them authority to drive out demons so that their word, that which they are preaching, would be confirmed. Now, Jesus would take them and show them how to do what he does, and would soon be sending them out to do the same work that he will do. Jesus, in the midst of the troubled time, is thinking of the next generation and how they will also be sent to see the kingdom of God continue to expand.

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