Mt. 10:1-4; Mk. 3:13-19; Lk. 6:12-16
Many times when Jesus wanted to be alone, He would go out to a mountain. This night, He was near His home base of Capernaum. Since it was just before a momentous occasion, He prayed to God all night. We should pray for guidance when making great decisions in our lives.
It had been more than a year since Jesus had begun His ministry and He was ready to choose twelve apostles who would work as a special team. These twelve men were to plant, organize and train the early church. He also gave them special powers to heal the sick and cast out demons.
Some of these men, namely Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew and Matthew had been following Jesus for several months. When it became day, He called these men along with a number of other disciples who had been following Him and He selected twelve from that number to be His apostles.
Those chosen were Simon Peter; Andrew (Peter’s brother); James; John (James’ brother, possibly cousins of Jesus); Philip; Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel); Thomas (sometimes called Didymus); Matthew (also called Levi); James (son of Alphaeus, sometimes referred to as James the Less); Lebbaeus Thaddeus (also called Judas, son of James); Simon (the Cananite, also referred to as the Zealot); and Judas Iscariot.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”
Mt. 12:15-21; Mk. 3:7-12
The northern end of the Sea of Galilee was about seventy-five miles from Jerusalem. When Jesus saw that His life was in danger, He left Judea and went back to this area. He was safe around the sea because of the many different jurisdictions that bordered it.
A multitude of sick and cripple people from great distances followed Jesus to Galilee and He healed all of them.
Mt. 12:9-14; Mk. 3:1-6; Lk. 6:6-11
On another Sabbath when Jesus was in a synagogue, a man who had a withered hand was present. The scribes and Pharisees, trying to find a reason to accuse Him asked if it were lawful to heal on the Sabbath. He asked them if it were lawful to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill on the Sabbath. Then He told the man to stretch out his hand and when he did so, it was healed. The Pharisees were so enraged by the healing of this man, that they plotted even with some of their enemies to try to destroy Jesus.
Mt. 12:1-8; Mk. 2:23-28; Lk. 6:1-5
A week later on the next Sabbath, as Jesus and His disciples traveled, they came to a field of grain (probably barley). They were hungry and the disciples began to pull the heads of grain and to eat them. The Law of Moses permitted the plucking of grain from a standing field and even required that the corners not be harvested so the poor and strangers could gather for themselves.
Even though the disciples were hungry, the Pharisees condemned them for “doing what was not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” Jesus pointed out that even the priests perform intense work on the Sabbath while doing their priestly duties.
When the Jewish leaders learned that Jesus was responsible for this healing on the Sabbath, they began to try to kill Him. In their minds, He had violated the Sabbath. He explained, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Even though God rested, He continued doing good.
The Jews now had a greater desire to kill Jesus because in addition to breaking the Sabbath, He had said that God was His Father, making Him equal with God. He pointed out that greater things than healing the sick would take place. The dead would also be raised!
At this time, Jesus saw that the opportunity was right for some serious teaching about His relationship with God. Authority to execute judgment was given to Him. If He has the authority to judge, we must abide by His rules and not our own. One cannot honor God without honoring Christ. Neither can one dishonor Christ without dishonoring God.
Jesus identified various witnesses of His divinity. John the Baptist was the first witness of Jesus, but the miracles He performed were greater evidence than John’s testimony. God testified of Him and the Scriptures themselves spoke of Him and His coming. Moses also wrote of Jesus.
There was a pool in Jerusalem that had periods of disturbed waters, probably caused by irregular flow from a spring. The people thought that an angel went in at a certain time and stirred the water. They believed that the first sick person who got into the water at that time would be healed of his disease.
As Jesus arrived to observe the feast, He went to this pool and saw a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years. He healed the man, but it was on the Sabbath.