Living God, open my heart, mind, and body to experience you in this reading of scripture, that in experiencing you I might grow into someone who brings you honor. Amen.
3:1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ 4Then he said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
7 Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; 8hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. 9He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him;10for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ 12But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
13 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message,15and to have authority to cast out demons. 16So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Then he went home;
In today’s reading Christ effectively picks a fight with the religious authorities when he heals someone in public on the Sabbath. Despite their desire to bring him down, he is wildly popular with the people, requiring a boat as a means of crowd control. It is this moment, when threats begin and his popularity peaks, that he makes his ministry a movement.
Why does Christ need the disciples? And why does he choose 12?
Most connect the 12 disciples with the 12 tribes of Israel. What are the implications of this connection? Can’t think of any? Google it. But be careful to take what you can find quickly on the internet with a big grain of salt!
If you’re participating in these daily readings through Facebook, comment to this post with your answer to this question:
Post a picture of 12 of something to represent the 12 disciples even as they represent the 12 tribes of Israel
Opportunity for Action
Today is when Pope Francis visits Washington DC. You are sure to see images of crowds—of people or of cars stuck in traffic. Imagine these crowds as the crows who pursued Christ. Pray for the crowd. Consider joining it. You could literally go see the pope. You could also join it spiritually as one of those willing to wait in lines and exist in a crowd in order to experience Christ.
Offer your own prayer or simply close your time of reflection with the Lord’s Prayer spoken aloud.