YouTuber John Stapleton shares with us more on the Proximity of Jesus with a deeper look into the Gospel of Mark 3:7-35. Be sure to subscribe to his channel by clicking on the icon on the top of his video screen below.

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3 | Proximity To Jesus

BIG IDEA

Many people wanted to be with Jesus, but Jesus only selected a few to
be with him.

Mark 3:7-21, 31-35 (Markan sandwich)
● The Crowds
○ The Apostles
● The Family of Jesus

1). Jesus Withdrew from Crowds

Mark 3:7-12
The first two words we see in our passage today is that “Jesus withdrew”
(verse 7). In fact, every section we are looking at today begins with this
idea:

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples” (verse 7).
● “He went up a mountain and called to him those whom he desired”
(verse 13).
● “Then he went home” (verse 20).

In correlation to this, look at the reaction of the crowds:

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd
followed” (verse 7).
● “When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to
him” (verse 8).
● “Then he went home and the crowd gathered again” (verse 20).
● “His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent
to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him” (verses
31-32).

This is very clear from the passage: Jesus is highly sought out because he
is a miracle-worker (verse 8-10).

2). Jesus Selected Those He Wanted

Mark 3:13-19
The passage starts off with Jesus separating himself from the crowds,
then he “called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him”
(verse 13). Jesus intentionally puts distance between himself and the
crowds, and he calls his disciples to do the same. This harkens back to the
Old Testament when God reveals himself as a holy God, which means he
is separate from sin and sinners (Leviticus 19:2; Hebrews 7:26).

Now, it is interesting to notice “those whom he desired” (verse 13). It is an
eclectic mix of dysfunction; they were also unimpressive. They were
blue-collar guys who would have been rejected from rabbi school. The
only thing that is consistent about this bunch is that they are slow and
unbelieving throughout this gospel account. One of them “betrayed him”
(verse 19). Peter was a hot-head, usually acting or reacting before
thinking. Matthew collected taxes for Rome and Simon was a freedom
fighter who would have despised Matthew (who probably slept with one
eye open). James and John were immature (Matthew 20:20-24 ;Mark
9:38-39; Luke 9:54). The rest of disciples are so common that they aren’t
mentioned in many places.

These were the guys that Jesus picked.

3). Jesus Redefines Family

Mark 3:20-21, 31-35
This last section brings our sandwich to a close. In contrast to the apostles
(the sent ones), Jesus’ family shows up to get him because they think he’s
lost his mind. Can you blame them? Jesus is so familiar to them that it is
weird that he now has a ministry. Why is he preaching and healing? Why
is he casting out demons? This is likely the kind of thoughts they had
(Mark 6:2-3).

The other interesting factor is that the religious leaders show up in the
section above this one, basically accusing Jesus of being empowered by
demons. Already, his family thinks he’s crazy and the Pharisees think he’s
empowered by Satan.

Q&A

1). When you read Matthew 23:1-12, what is the most important thing
that you can gather and really remember for the rest of your life?

If you are religious, don’t live your life in such a way that shames
God and misrepresents Jesus. Don’t make Christianity look bad.

That’s the lesson. Jesus started off the entire chapter by telling us to
do what they say (because they teach the Bible) but don’t live like
them.

2). How can one say that they take the Bible literally when it is full of
so many contradictions? Surely one would have to be highly selective
when picking their poison or their cherries.

You assume a lot when you claim the Bible is full of contradictions.
In fact, the burden of proof is on you to back up your statement.
Serious study will clear up these so-called “contradictions.”

The other thing to know is the Bible is actually a library of 66 books
that comprise various genre’s of writing. That means that you won’t
read Revelation the same way you read Leviticus. The Psalms are
different than the gospels. The logical arguments in Paul’s letters
are not the same as the Job. Anyone that reads literature as
literature would get this concept.

3). Which character of the Bible had problems with impulse control?

Jephthah, hands down. My other example is Peter.

4). How long will Christianity last?

It is helpful to distinguish between Christianity and Christendom.
Christianity is following the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
Christendom is the Western experiment birthed from the freedom of
religion, to have a culture that is broadly Christian.

What we have seen most explicitly in the last twenty years has been
the decline of Christendom. Christian culture is not cool anymore. It
is no longer a benefit to tell people that you are a Christian
business owner, or that you go to church, or that you are a minister.
That is like social suicide

The benefit of this is that we get a more accurate picture of what
the church really is, who really follows Jesus, and what things in
Christian culture are holy and pure. A lot of ridiculous things have
been burned away.

In response, Christianity is not dying and will not end. Historically,
the church always has an ebb and flow. There are revivals and there
are lean times. We are seeing nothing new.

5). Why shouldn’t you just read the Bible once?

Because the Bible is more than a book that we read; it’s a book that
reads us. You can read a news article once because it is merely an
exchange of information. The Bible however is a book of
transformation. Another reason we read it is because God uses his
written Word to feed our souls. As the body digests food, the mind
and heart is encouraged by and internalizes the Word.

Those are two good reasons to keep reading it.

Click Here To Read More By John Stapleton

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