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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of SouthPointe Bible Fellowship in Fayetteville, Georgia

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Matthew 12:1-21; Mark 2:23-3:19   Listen Podcast
Luke 6:1-16; John 5



In this passage, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:


Is this the Passover Feast? (John 5:1)
Here's (likely) the second Passover Feast in Jesus' ministry (see notes below).

John 5

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

There has been considerable discussion among scholars regarding the "feast" referenced in verse 1. Is it the Passover Feast? Does it really matter? Well, it does matter if you want to track the length of Jesus' ministry. John only, of the four Gospel writers, logs the occurrences of the Passover Feasts leading up to the last one when Jesus was crucified. The first is found in John 2:13 (see notes). If we consider this feast (verse 1) the second Passover Feast, then the third is found in John 6:4 (see notes). Finally, the fourth and last Passover Feast is that day when Jesus was crucified. That being the case, Jesus' ministry lasted three full years plus those months from the time he was baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22 - see notes) leading up to the first Passover in John 2:13 (see notes). So, three and one-half years would seem to be a reliable assessment of the length of Jesus' ministry. Now, there is one more piece of evidence that adds validity to Jesus' ministry length at three to four years found in Luke 13:1-9 (see notes). In that passage Jesus gives a reprieve to the fig tree which seems to be analogous to his ministry to Israel. That period after the reprieve just happens to be three-plus years in that passage.

If the "feast" in verse 1 is not the second Passover Feast, based upon what I believe is probably a declaration in Luke 13:1-9 (see notes) of a three-plus year ministry, then this feast would be one of the other two major feasts in the same year - the Feast of Weeks (seven weeks after the Passover) or the Feast of Tabernacles (six months after the Passover). That still leaves a three-year-plus ministry scenario intact.

Jesus demonstrates an awesome bedside manner (John 5:2-15)

John 5

2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

The sick folks are gathered by the pool in Jerusalem waiting for the angel to stir the water - first one in afterward got healed. This impotent (Greek: astheneo - meaning: sick, weak, impotent) man could never make it to the water before another because he was so weak. Jesus solves that problem in John 5:8, "Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." That's awesome bedside manner! Well that sets off more fireworks. This takes place in Jerusalem during the time of one of the festivals (probably Passover) when Jews are present from everywhere practicing their best Judaistic stuff. When a Jewish big wig sees the impotent man carrying his bed around, never mind that he hasn't been able to do this for the last 38 years; the big issue becomes, "Hey! you can't be carrying your bed around on the Sabbath!" Now the talk centers around who told the man he could "break the law" by carrying his bed on the Sabbath. Wow...first day out on his new wheels and he gets ticketed by the religion police! This was a sad bunch of religionists, don't you agree? On first interrogation, the man does not know to identify Jesus as the healer. Later after a meeting with Jesus in the temple, the man is able to identify him, and these Jewish religionists go at it again in an attempt to entrap Jesus.

The Pool of Bethesda

According to Dr. Larry Wade, a tour guide to Israel who has conducted nearly 70 tours, the Pool of Bethesda is one of the few Biblical sites about which there is virtually no dispute regarding its current location. The Biblical Pool of Bethesda dates back to Old Testament times; it is near the Gate of Benjamin (Zechariah 14:4), the Sheep Gate (Nehemiah 3:1,12:39), the Lions Gate (in Jesus' Time) and Stephen's Gate (the place where Stephen was martyred). The earliest reference to the UPPER POOL is from the 8th Century B.C. in Isaiah 7:3. The pools were reconstructed in 219-196 B.C. There are two pools, upper and lower, divided by a wall 20ft wide and running east to west. They are surrounded by 5 porches along the northern edge of the Temple Mount. Today (2006) archeologists are unearthing a new pool next to these two pools. This pool is most likely the much larger "Pool of Israel" constructed in the days of Herod the Great.

A couple of points should be made regarding this episode with the Jewish leaders. First of all, there is NO law within the Law of Moses that would have forbidden the man from carrying his bed around on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees made that one up; it was part of their oral tradition where they had embellished the Law of Moses. Secondly, notice in verses 11 and 15 how that this healed man seems to be something less than grateful to Jesus for his newly-acquired ability to walk. When questioned about his infraction, he first blames "he that made me whole" for his own violation of the Jews' law; upon discovery of Jesus' identity, he then even makes a return trip back to the Jews to report that Jesus was the one responsible. Come to think of it, I've met Christians who seemed ungrateful to our Lord for the marvelous grace of God that has been extended to them through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

It should also be noted that Jesus healed just the one man that day next to the Pool of Bethesda. That's significant because of the fact that there would have been a host of sick people next to that pool, but Jesus chose just one to heal. It is important to remember that, while Jesus had power over physical sickness, his mission was to redeem mankind from spiritual sickness by his death on the cross. These miracles of healing were necessary to establish his identity as the prophesied Messiah. Jesus framed this mission near the beginning of his ministry in Luke 4:16-21 (see notes).

The Jewish leaders just want Jesus dead (John 5:16-18)

John 5

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Nothing matters to these Jewish leaders except that their reputations and positions were being threatened by Jesus. Jesus tells them in verse 17, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Subsequently, they use this occasion of healing as another reason why Jesus needs to be dead, as we see in John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." Here's the reality on this: These Jewish leaders were familiar with the prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7 (see notes), "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." That passage clearly establishes that the Messiah will be God on earth. The problem is that the Jewish leaders were corrupt and Jesus had identified them as such on more than one occasion.

Jesus answers these Jewish leaders (John 5:19-36)

John 5

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.


Greek word for love in John 5:20

The Greek word used for "loveth" in verse 20 is unexpectedly φιλέω (phileo) rather than what might be expected—ἀγαπάω (agapao).

In reality, phileo seems to indicate a natural affection, while agapao (both verb forms) seems to indicate a willingness to sacrifice. Therefore, phileo makes sense in this context.

Jesus walks a fine line when speaking to the Jewish leaders, just as he always did. There would come a time when Jesus would lay down his life as he had already prophesied in John 2:19-21 (see notes) and again in John 3:14 (see notes). However, that time would be chosen by Jesus, not these hypocrites. They are looking for Jesus to say something that is clearly indisputable evidence of blasphemy. You will notice that Jesus often answers them by referring to himself in third person rather than first person, as he does here when he refers to himself as "the Son." It would have been much simpler for the Jews to entrap Jesus if he would just say "I" (first person) rather than "the Son" (third person). He follows this pattern until verse 24 when he says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." They must have thought, "Ahhhh! We got him!" Well, maybe not. Jesus uses the personal pronoun "my," but that quotation standing alone does not give them the evidence they need to say that he called himself God. It's very clear to everyone, but in a court of law, that could be understood to mean only that he was a prophet. However, when we read that verse in the context with the whole discourse, it is obvious to those listening (and to those of us reading) that Jesus is clearly saying that he is God in the flesh. He then goes back to third-person references down through verse 29. Jesus clearly identifies himself in verse 27 as God in the flesh when he says he has the "authority to execute judgment," but he again uses third-person references so that these words can't be used as evidence of blasphemy by the Jews. As a matter of fact, Jesus refers to himself as "the Son" 10 times between verses 19 and 27.

Let's take a closer look at this reference to "the Son" that Jesus repeatedly uses in the presence of these Jewish leaders. Notice Daniel 7:13 (see notes), "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." No question there - that's a reference to the Messiah. However, Ezekiel refers to himself as the "son of man" 93 times in his prophecy. While Jesus is referred to as the "Son of God" 28 times in the Gospel accounts, he never uses it as a self reference. When your only interest is framing Jesus for blasphemy, one can see the nature of their frustration.

Beginning with verse 30, it's all back to first-person references, but no statement he makes stands alone as sufficient court evidence for conviction on blasphemy charges. The Jews understand it that way, but it is unusable in court. Ahhhh! Maybe verse 36 will provide sufficient evidence, "But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." Well, I guess not. In court that could again be taken as a reference to Jesus being a prophet - no blasphemy in being a prophet. So, notice closely in this section that Jesus fully acknowledges his identity as God in the flesh, but gives them nothing to take to court because of the careful way he expresses it.

Verse 31 is a little puzzling to us unless we carefully stick to the context that we've been developing here; that's the context of courtroom evidence. Jesus says here, "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." In a courtroom scenario, one would be required to have additional witnesses beyond one's own witness. Jesus is making the point that, while his testimony of himself may be disregarded as unreliable in a court of law, he has the additional witness of God himself.

The two resurrections Jesus mentions in verse 29 are not new concepts to these Jews. Daniel 12:2 (see notes) says, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."

Let's take a look at the collective resurrections that take place in scriptures:

Jesus: enough about me; who are you? (John 5:37-47)

John 5

37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
41 I receive not honour from men.
42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Jesus has just finished telling them all about himself in verses 19-36, now it's time to identify these Jewish leaders for exactly who they are.

Notice the itemization that Jesus gives of their standing before God.

Well, that pretty much sums up the real position of these Jewish leaders before God. After hearing this, you know they're fumed - all that verbal abuse without a thing to take to court! But Jesus had issued them a challenge in verses 39-40, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Just as Isaiah had prophesied in Isaiah 53 (see notes), they rejected Jesus.

The Old Testament prophets frequently prophesied the coming Messiah. Had these Jewish leaders carefully studied those prophecies, they would have recognized that Jesus was the one. But when did Moses prophesy concerning the Messiah? The answer is Deuteronomy 18:15-22 (see notes). The Jews of Jesus day understood that passage to be prophetic concerning the Messiah. For more information, see the article entitled, "Moses prophesied the Messiah."

Hey! you can't pick that grain! (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5)

Matthew 12
Mark 2
Luke 6

1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;
4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?
5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Plucking grain out of the fields for personal consumption on the Sabbath day - "No! No!" said the Pharisees and demanded an explanation. Jesus refers them back to I Samuel 21:3-6 (see notes) when David and his men were fed by the high priest from the loaves of consecrated bread. In that passage, there was no indication that God was at all displeased with this action. Furthermore, the Pharisees were overly embellishing the law of reaping on the Sabbath. The disciples weren't reaping; they were only taking advantage of the provisions of the law based upon Deuteronomy 23:25 (see notes), "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing grain." Reaping would have been "moving a sickle" upon the grain. And then here's that "Son of man" phrase again in Mark 2:28, "Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."

I should point out that the KJV rendering of "corn" for the Greek noun "stachus" might be a little confusing to those who know the history of our American corn. The "corn" in this passage is the 17th-century description of grain. The actual product in the fields would have been wheat or barley, not our American maize (aka corn).

Matthew records a second example by Jesus to these Pharisees in Matthew 12:5-6 - the fact that the Mosaic Law assigns priests in the tabernacle/temple duties that they are required to perform on the Sabbath as seen in Numbers 28:9-10 (see notes). Both of these examples are designed to show the Pharisees that their oral additions to the Law of Moses were not capturing its essence; these Pharisees were missing the mark. Jesus then quotes from Hosea 6:6 (see notes) in Matthew 12:7, "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." Hosea prophesied during the time when the Northern Kingdom fell. His point then and that of Jesus on this occasion is that they had missed the real point of the Law of Moses. Keeping the law in its deviated form had become their object over an actual relationship with God. Incidentally, Jesus had quoted Hosea 6:6 (see notes) on a previous occasion back in Matthew 9:13 (see notes).

When men are treated worse than animals (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11)

Matthew 12
Mark 3
Luke 6
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
6 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.
7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.
9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

These Jewish leaders (consisting of scribes, Pharisees and probably a few Sadducees sprinkled in) anticipate that Jesus is about to heal a man on the Sabbath day. They're just licking their chops - another chance to perhaps collect enough evidence on Jesus to prosecute him for blasphemy before the Roman courts. Jesus knows what's on their minds, but heals the man's withered hand anyway. Jesus points out that none of them would object to rescuing an animal on the Sabbath, so why not a human? From their perspective, who cares about consistency? Certainly not these highly-esteemed religious leaders. They immediately seek out the Herodians to tell what has just taken place. The Herodians formed a religious party akin to the Sadducees, but were also sympathetic to the Roman government and it's laws. Moreover, they were also supportive of the kingship of the Herods who reigned in the region. These views were not shared by the Pharisees. Hmmmm...Pharisees and Herodians in cahoots with one another - they must really hate Jesus. For more detailed information on the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians, click here.

Incidentally, Mark is the only one who reports the attitude of Jesus in verse 5 of his account when he says of Jesus, "he had looked round about on them with anger." The word "anger" there comes from the Greek word "orge." This word is often translated "wrath" and is so used in John 3:36 (see notes), Romans 1:18 (see notes), Ephesians 5:6 (see notes) and Colossians 3:6 (see notes) in the term "wrath of God." The wrath of God comes upon hypocrisy.

One more thing: There was no Old Testament passage that forbade healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees made that one of many laws that appended to the Mosaic Law.

This Jesus movement has really caught on! (Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-12; Luke 6:17-19)

Matthew 12
Mark 3
Luke 6
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
16 And charged them that they should not make him known:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

After the healing of the man with the withered hand, a great crowd gathers around Jesus, and he heals them all. We see from the passage in Mark that the crowds that follow are not just Jews, but Gentiles as well (from Tyre, Sidon, Idumaea). Matthew cites this reach toward the Gentiles as a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 (see notes).

Jesus ordains his apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16)

Mark 3
Luke 6
13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
16 And Simon he surnamed Peter;
17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.
12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

We are well into the second year of Jesus' ministry. It's now time for Jesus to pick out 12 men from among his disciples who will become his 12 apostles. The apostles were a subset of his disciples. Any follower of Jesus was a disciple, but the 12 men that Jesus chose from among them were, from this time forward, to be special "messengers" of Jesus. The Greek word "apostolos" means "messenger." By the way, Simon the Canaanite was a full-fledged Jew just like the others. The title "Canaanite" here is a translation of a Syriac word transliterated to Greek, which was a tag given to those who were members of a particular Jewish political party of the day. Simon was all Jew all the time.

We find the whole list of the twelve in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:14-16; they are as follows:

  1. Peter
  2. James (Son of Zebedee and brother of John)
  3. John
  4. Andrew
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Matthew
  8. Thomas
  9. James (Son of Alphaeus)
  10. Thaddaeus
  11. Simon the Canaanite
  12. Judas Iscariot (the "traitor")

We also find a list of the twelve in Matthew 10:2-4 (see notes).

It is interesting that Mark notes in verses 14 and 15 that these twelve were given special "power" (Greek: ἐξουσία/exousia - meaning authority) "to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils."

For commentary on another passage, click here.

Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner