We come to Mark Chapter 3 and verse 7. People had been plotting the death of Jesus and He knew it, and Jesus had to do all that God wanted Him to do.

There is a lesson here on how to live and cope when pressurised. Jesus knew how to handle ‘stress’.

Jesus is unhurried. There is no panic and no feverish activity. Jesus moves among people to do what He knew He had to do.

Jesus withdrew with His disciples. This is an important priority.

That is one reason why Jesus brings us together regularly. It is important – much more important than many realise.

Verse 7 – a crowd gathers. Jesus is popular at the beginning of His ministry. Some travel 80 miles. News travelled fast about what Jesus was doing and saying.

This is like a day in the life of Jesus.

There were so many people crowding around Him, that He had to get a boat, so that he could speak to the people without being crushed. They were pushing Him – striving to touch Him for healing – not to hear what He had to say. ‘Crowding’ is the word used for the crushing of grapes.

What is going on in these verses? Crowds came, and Jesus’ priority, as we read in Chapter 2, was always to preach the Word, and let the Word do its work. This was some scene – emotional – almost euphoric – there had been nothing like this.

Jesus could have walked on the water but He didn’t. He used a practical boat.

Jesus could deal with the interruptions, and keep living out God’s plans.

People with needs came to Him, but Jesus knew there were some things more important than physical healing.

The greatest need is not food – or freedom – or peace – but forgiveness.

Jesus knew that He could become a very popular healer. Jesus had more to offer than physical healing. We have also seen already in Mark how one could not be neutral to Jesus.

Jesus saw some people who were influenced by evil spirits.

Jesus could use the interruptions. They were part of God’s plan.

Remember that Jesus was invading another kingdom – and like Herod’s behaviour, when He was born, this was an attack at another level.

These evil spirits knew that this was God walking in the flesh.

Verse 11 - The enemy knew who Jesus Christ was.

We live in a very material world that might regard this as strange or even extreme.

We are in a battle and we have not to become afraid in the battle.

Some wanted only healing, and others shout out what Jesus did not want publicised at this early stage.

Jesus knew His purpose, and the more the religious leaders knew what was happening they might become more determined to seek to silence Him before the time was right.

This is where we have to trust God’s timetable and God’s plans, and not our own plans and timetable.

Verse 13 – Jesus is with these twelve men – He calls them to be with Him.

Here is the group of men who are going to make such a difference in the world, and to the world.

He needed men who would carry on the quality of life and ministry after HE had been crucified.

Verse 15 – Jesus turn to His disciples – His core group for training and preparation and discipling. Jesus wanted them to come to him, and then Jesus would later commission them for the work to which he had called them.

God’s plan is to prepare people.

We learn – and then we go and share what we have received, and we go and use our training and preparation whatever that training and preparation might be.

It is a coming and going out – disciples and apostles – sent out – missionaries – missiles for God.

Twelve was written into their past – the twelve tribes of the people of God – and Jesus is saying – God needs a new people – and fresh start – a new work.

To become like Jesus we have got to spend time with Him. This is not some secret complicated process.

Jesus takes these men aside. These are the men who would become apostles – “sent out ones”. They were to be His core group and Jesus does not wait for circumstances to improve. Jesus makes this move in the midst of the struggle and the battle. It is not going to improve. It is going to become fiercer. There will be no better situation.

Jesus saw in these men, potential. They were going to be totally transformed, but they were going to face challenges and difficulties – it has always been so.

Catch the infection of the calling of Jesus Christ. Catch the infection of the Holy Spirit.

These are clay jars about to be filled with treasure. Paul writes about this some time later.

There was such a variety of temperaments among these twelve – and a variety of occupations – and education – and politics!

Around five of the disciples were related to Jesus. What did they have that others did not have – absolutely nothing – they were ordinary men.

The Zealots would be regarded today as terrorists. They were out to undermine the Roman Empire’s presence in Israel.

We do not know much about some of these men – the important thing is that they served God.

God uses very diverse fallible people – ordinary men who had extraordinary lives. He changed what needed to be changed.

Humanly speaking, this looks like one absurd adventure, but it worked, and it works. God has chosen the weak things of this world.

Jesus also needed friends. The humanity of Christ required having people around Him.

We saw how ordinary Joseph was when God called him to look after the young Jesus and His mother, Mary.

They were a group of twelve. Nowhere do we read of any disciple trying to be a disciple on his or her own.

We are to be always in a group – and belong to a group – which belongs to a larger group called the Church – the Body of Christ.