1. Once again Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man was there who had a disabled hand.
2. And the Pharisees, who by this point were closely watching His every move, were just waiting to see whether or not He would heal the man on the Sabbath. The possibility of this happening was of great interest to them, particularly because of Jesus' claim that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. Their plan was to catch Him in an infraction of the law concerning the Sabbath, so that they might discredit Him, and have a charge to bring against Him, formally.
3. And, sure enough, Jesus didn't waste any time walking right into a confrontational situation. He boldly said to the man with the deformed hand, "Stand up and walk out here where everyone can clearly and plainly see you."
4. Then, with the same air of confidence He said to the Pharisees, "Let Me ask you...is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil...to save life or to take it?" But they were deathly silent.
5. And He stared for a few moments at each of them, waiting for at least one of the religious leaders to make some kind of intelligent or insightful statement. And when they didn't, He began to experience an intense emotional mix of anger and sorrow...anger at their lack of openness to the truth, and sorrow at how insensitive religion had made them to the suffering of humanity. Then, getting past His feelings, He said to the man, "All right...hold out your hand!" And he held it out, and when he did the use and appearance of his hand was completely restored.
6. Then the Pharisees rushed out and went immediately to hold a consultation with the Herodians...those who supported Herod, the King...discussing how they might come up with a legal means to exterminate Him.
7. After this occurrence, Jesus took His disciples to the lake to just get away with them and relax, but a great throng of people from Galilee who were constantly aware of His whereabouts followed Him there. But there were also people following Him from Judea...
8. And from Jerusalem, and Idumea, and from beyond the Jordan River, and from the area around Tyre and Sidon...in a word, His fame had now taken on a life of its own, and vast numbers...hordes of people who were hearing all the time about all that He was doing...came to Him, wanting to see for themselves if what they had heard was true.
9. So He told His disciples to have a little boat ready for Him so that He could escape, in the event that mass hysteria set in and the crowd literally crush Him.
10. The throngs now were regularly so massive that they were basically becoming unmanageable...the people were being more and more physically aggressive with Him, especially those who were very sick and in need...and on occasion some were so intent on personally touching Him that they were out of control.
11. And more and more rebel spirits were recognizing and acknowledging Him, and when they did, they fell down before Him and kept screaming out, "You are the Son of God!"
12. But Jesus was persistent in His refusal to allow these spirits to fully reveal Him, so again and again He made them shut up in public.
13. When things calmed down a bit, He climbed a mountain and invited those He wanted to officially work with Him, and they accepted the invitation and climbed up, too.
14. Out of all those who were following Him, He settled on twelve, and, designating them Apostles, or special messengers, He sent them out to preach the Good News of the Gospel,
15. And to have authority and power to heal the sick, and to expel rebel spirits.
16. And these are the twelve: Simon, who He later called Peter;
17. James, the son of Zebedee, and John, the brother of James. He gave these two a very special name..."Boanerges", which literally means "Sons of Thunder";
18. And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, Judas, (not Iscariot), and Simon the Canaanaean, also called "Zelotes", or "The Zealot", because of his radical political persuasions and underground connections,
19. And Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Him. These men, including Simon, who came from a group of anarchists and assassins, and the infamous Judas Iscariot, were all called and authorized to be Apostles...preachers...healers...deliverers...by Jesus, Himself.
20. After this He went to someone's house for dinner, but a throng heard about His visit and converged on the house, literally shutting down any possibility of a social occasion. The people were so demanding that night that Jesus and His disciples couldn't even eat.
21. And when His family (who was already concerned about how His popularity was getting out of hand and was becoming completely uncontrollable) heard about this, they felt that they were forced into taking some kind of action. So they got together and planned an emergency intervention, with the expressed intention of having Him committed. They rationalized that He was their responsibility, saying, "He's clearly lost His mind by buying into and encouraging this mania, and it's up to us to do something about it...we have to put Him away!"
22. And to make things worse, the Scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub, 'the Lord of the Flies', and with the help of demons He is casting out demons and practicing black magic!"
23. But Jesus this time called a meeting with them to do a little damage control, and to confront their superstitious slander with an illustration, saying, "Tell Me..how can demons drive out other demons?
24. Furthermore, if a kingdom rebels against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25. In the same way, if a house is divided, or split into factions, that house will not be able to last.
26. And if the Adversary is adversarial to the Adversary, he will ultimately self-destruct!
27. Look...no one can go into a strong man's house, if he's home, and walk off with his possessions, unless he first ties up that strong man...but if he does tie the man up, then indeed he may thoroughly plunder his house.
28. These are all authority issues, and, speaking of authority, here's another thing you should know. Every sin and blasphemy can be automatically forgiven people because of the mercy extended to the limited flesh;
29. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, your words become so authoritative and effective that they literally create your reality. So when you speak things out of your mouth which are contrary to the purpose and nature of the Holy Spirit, you actually speak blasphemy against Him; and He can’t forgive you in order to prevent those words from coming to pass, because He has empowered you to have what you say. You’ll just have to deal with the consequences of whatever you’ve said, whether for good or for evil. The words that you speak against His nature in you will have to stand just as you said them. They will not be erased through forgiveness in this dimension, or in the one to come, and in that sense they bear eternal consequences.
30. Jesus went out of His way to explain all of these things because they persisted in saying, "He has an evil spirit."
31. Then, while He was still talking about this, His mother and His brothers came for the intervention that they had discussed. They stood outside and sent word to Him, calling for Him.
32. And some of the people who were there heard them and said to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers and Your sisters are outside asking for You."
33. And, intuitively sensing the alienation from His natural family, even without actually hearing them say that they thought He had lost His mind, He replied, "Who, really, are My mother and My brothers?"
34. And looking around at those who were there in support of Him, He said, "See! Right here are My mother and My brothers and My sisters...";
35. And, completely ignoring His family's demand for a meeting with Him, He went on to say, "For whoever does the things that God wills is My real brother and real sister and real mother!"