Jesus and his students returned from Jerusalem to the area around Lake Galilee (62).
Word had spread about his miracles & his message, so crowds of people came to Jesus from all over Israel & Judea. Because Jesus had already healed many people, these crowds included many other sick people who were coming to be healed, too. As the number of people kept increasing, Jesus decided to have his students get a boat ready to use in preaching God’s message.
Sometimes when people who were tormented by evil spirits came to Jesus, the evil spirits would make those people fall down before him and scream, “You are God’s son!” Sternly & consistently, Jesus ordered the evil spirits to stop telling people who he was.
Then, in the midst of all the commotion, Jesus saw clearly that it was time to involve his students in his ministry. So, instead of going down to the boat, Jesus first went up the hill — taking twelve of his students.
“I have chosen you to stay with me,” Jesus told them. “But I also intend to send you out as my witnesses — to preach God’s message to people, and to expel evil spirits from people!”
These are the twelve he chose:
- Peter (originally named Simon),
- Andrew (Peter’s brother),
- James (a son of Zebedee),
- John (James’ brother, another son of Zebedee),
- Bartholomew (also called Nathanael),
- Matthew (the tax collector, also called Levi),
- James (son of Alphaeus),
- Thaddaeus (also known sometimes as Lebbaeus & sometimes as Judas),
- Simon (the Patriot from Canaan), and
- Judas Iscariot (who would eventually betray Jesus).
Over the next three years, Jesus would spend the largest portion of his time & energy in training these twelve witnesses.
Then, when Jesus came down the hill with the twelve, they were again surrounded by a large crowd of people from all over Judea & Israel & the surrounding areas. Some people had come to hear Jesus teach. Other people had come to be healed of their diseases, including people who had evil spirits in them.
Jesus healed them all! Some were healed as Jesus spoke to them; others were healed simply by touching Jesus.
(62) Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:7-21, Luke 6:12-19