7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
A Disciple Is One Who Is Continually With Jesus
Jesus is with a large group of disciples and withdraws to the hills around the Lake of Galilee where revolutions are born. As he withdraws it is important to note who is with Jesus and who is not. The people who went with him originally are the true disciples, but a crowd of thrill seekers and people with illnesses seek him for healing. Jesus actually moves away from the crowds and probably heads out on the lake with his fishermen friends in a small flotilla. He is crowded by people with real needs, but they are detracting from the real reason he came.
Jesus came so that true disciples could be with him, not as exciting Sunday entertainment. Some of the more crowded churches today are crowded because people are entertained. They do not grow in a relationship with Jesus when they passively look on or are seemingly healed from some minor illness. Of course, Jesus can and does heal. However, when he heals the body it is in order to enable a person to more fully answer his call. He restores the mind, body, and soul so that a person can be in a deepening relationship with him.
When real change is occurring, real opposition often follows. If a person wrecks Satan’s work, Satan will rise in opposition and so will his demons. They name Jesus in the passage in order to control him. Jesus exercises his absolute authority by decreeing silence.
Being up on a mountainside connects Jesus with Moses who brought a new beginning to Israel by meeting God on a mountain. Jesus calls a selection of people to himself. Notice that he doesn’t call everyone for the task at hand. Not everyone is gifted in the same way, but out of those who are willing to follow him certain individuals stand out. He wants a closer relationship with some of his disciples and those who are closest he is even intimate enough to give nicknames to. Andrew could also be listed as closer to Jesus, along with Peter, James and John. This core of 3 or 4 have a closer walk with Jesus than the others. The next two groups of 4 are also close, but not quite in the same way. However, being close means having greater responsibility. When Jesus calls them, he calls them to be with him. This is Mark’s way of describing what Matthew called being known by Jesus. In the end it is what measures the value of a life. Were you with Jesus during your life? How intimate did you become? With what did Jesus entrust you? Every disciple today has the opportunity to draw near to Jesus. It baffles me how we got into this strange notion that a person prays a prayer at a children’s camp and that is evidence that they are with Jesus. That is evidence that they will be in heaven? Evidence that you will have a relationship with Jesus in eternity is that you have a relationship with him now.
Oh God, I pray for the small group. I have no control over them and yet I wish I could gather them into an intimate relationship with you and with each other. I wish there was stronger evidence that all of our lives are marked by being with you. Miracles and great singing at church are all very nice, but really I want you. I want to feel the strength that comes from walking with you in trying times.
- Where did Jesus go in today’s passage?
- Why did people go to find him?
- What is the difference between those who tracked him down and those whom he called?
- Do you walk with Jesus as a disciple?
- How do you act in Jesus’ authority as an apostle?