by Tony Nester

The Presence of Evil and the Power of Community
Tony Nester
Mark 3:7-19a
March 12, 2000

Today's Scripture reading is from Mark 3:7-19. Jesus
has just healed a man whom he encountered in a Jewish
synagogue. The man had a withered hand and Jesus had
restored it to usefulness. This happened on the
Sabbath and the Jewish authorities were angry with
Jesus for violating the Sabbath laws that declared
that no work could be done on this day. Jesus had
become angry with these leaders - the Pharisees -
because they had let their own manmade traditions get
in the way of the good that God wanted to do.

Now we come to today's Scripture. Jesus is gong to
find himself surrounded by a crowd of needy people and
then he is going to call the twelve apostles who are
to help him in his ministry.

[read text]

Jesus never intended to try to accomplish his mission
by himself. It was always his plan to lead a group -
which we call his disciples - and then establish a
community - which we call the church.

There were reasons for this decision.
One was the way God had worked among Israel's
ancestors. Beginning with Abraham God revealed that
his purpose was to have a people of his own - a nation
that came to be called Israel. Moses became Israel's
greatest deliverer and David Israel's greatest king.
Our Old Testament is not the story of an idea, or of
individual religious experiences; it is the story of a
people. Jesus called twelve disciples - one for each
of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was making it clear
that this group of disciples were to serve as a
renewed Israel - a new people of God.

Another reason why Jesus called together the Twelve
Apostles was because Jesus knew that his time on this
earth was limited.

Mark tells us in Mark 3:6 that the Pharisees and the
Herodians had begun to conspire together as to how
they might destroy Jesus. Jesus was aware of his
opposition from the beginning. ...

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