Mark 3:7-20: Crowds and Discipleship Groups
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
Jesus was very attractional wherever he goes. The signs, wonders and his teaching attracted so many people who wanted to experience him first hand. When you read through the gospels, you would notice though that Jesus intentionally spend more time not with the crowds but with his disciples. He was given a three-year window to minister on earth and he knew the best way to maximize his time was to spend time with a select few disciples and teach them to disciple others. In this text, we see that crowds were following Jesus. He couldn’t stop them from gathering and gravitating towards him, so he made a way to find time with the disciples. In the next verse we see;
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder);18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot,[b] 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
He went up the mountain and called the twelve and appointed them to be his disciples. The game plan was to multiply himself to twelve men who will multiply his work to others. Instead of one man doing the work, He literally multiplied his capability to twelve men who would preach the gospel and cast out demons.
How many times have we defaulted into doing ministry work by ourselves thinking it is wiser. For pastors and church leaders, have we empowered and disciple other men and women in the church to advance God’s kingdom. I’m not talking about giving them a ministry but rather an intentional meeting in a small, relational discipleship group where we can share our lives and multiply the work of the Great Commission of making disciples.