Mark 3 begins with the story of the man with the withered hand. Jesus is there in the synagogue and has a decision to make – will He heal this guy on the Sabbath and make all the religious leaders mad – or let him continue in his crippled state. Jesus asks the leaders what to do and they “were silent”. Don’t you love it when those who are supposed to be running the show just sit there and provide no direction or response? Clear sign of a lack of leadership for sure. Jesus gets irritated. In fact scripture says “he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart”. Jesus is frustrated that those who are supposed to be leading are somewhere other than God’s page. They are not even close to focused on the right stuff. But once Jesus heals – they spring into action and meet immediately to figure out how to get rid of him. How can we tell that Jesus was a great leader? Scripture tells us “a great crowd followed”….so great that “He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him because of the crowd, lest they crush Him”. There was a big following, which defines the power of a leader. Jesus then does something that shows more of His leadership. He “went up on the mountain” and “He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles). Jesus is setting up the plan for how the ministry will continue after His death. This is part of His legacy plan. He puts a team in place to carry on the work of the ministry. He knows He won’t be there forever to lead, so He puts a leadership team together to train and pour His life into the next three years. He is getting the foundation for success in place. And the result is still being felt round the world over 2000 years later. Jesus is the master of how to lead. As a side note – make sure you see whose name appears first on the list of apostles. Remember that as we see the list in the other gospels.
So what were the 12 tasked with. Jesus clearly defines their mission:
- “that they might be with Him
- He might send them out to preach
- And have authority to cast out demons”
They had a pretty well defined job description. They are to spend their time with Him and learn from Him – to be an apprentice to His leadership and learn how to carry on. And they are to go spread the good news and touch people with God’s love. They are being commissioned to go and serve. Of course the people don’t understand what is going on. The religious leaders can’t understand how Jesus can cast out demons and begin to accuse Him of being of Satan. And Jesus makes a brilliant point of truth – “and if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand”. This principle is true on every level, and particularly describes what happens to so many marriages and families. It is critical that we stand firm, together, against the attack of the enemy and every bad thing, it is critical that husband and wife be unified in their marriage. That doesn’t mean we always agrees with the other. It does mean we work to find agreement and stand together to fight the battle. “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man”. If Jesus is living in us and is the center of our marriage, the enemy cannot defeat us. It is when we cause the strong man to be bound by taking Him out of our life and our marriage through self centered rebellion that we open ourselves to fall. We need to learn to lean on Jesus and let Him be the strong man. With Him we cannot fail. Without Him we cannot survive!