Chapter 3

Jesus heals a man on the sabbath, chooses the twelve apostles and warns against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

After that Jesus went back to Capernaum On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue and a man with a paralyzed hand was there. Some Pharisees were watching Jesus carefully to see if he restore the crippled hand. If he did, they could accuse him of working on the Sabbath. So Jesus said to the man with the paralyzed hand, “Come over here so everyone can see you.” Then he said to his critics, “Does our law allow us to do what is right on the Sabbath or what is wrong? Shall I heal this man’s hand or leave it paralyzed?” The Pharisees had nothing to say. Jesus looked around at them with disgust. Grieved by their lack of compassion, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man stretched out his hand, and once again he could flex his fingers. The Pharisees left the synagogue and immediately began plotting with the followers of Herod how to get rid of Jesus. (1-6)

We all left Capernaum and went down to lake Galilee. We were followed by a huge crowd of people. They came from Galilee, Jerusalem, Idumea, the region east of the Jordan river, as well as the area to the north around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. They came to Jesus from everywhere because they had heard about the miracles he was doing. Jesus told us to keep a small boat available in case he was in danger of being crushed by the crowd. (He had healed so many, and the sick kept crowding in to touch him.) Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they would fall before him, shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus warned them repeatedly not to reveal who he was. (7-12)

Then Jesus went up into the hills and called together the twelve of us he had chosen to be with him. We were designated “apostles” and were to be his close companions. In time we would be sent out to proclaim the Good News. “You will have the authority to cast out demons,” he told us. I was one of the twelve, and Jesus gave me the name “Peter” (although my Hebrew name is Simon.) The others were James and his brother John (they were sons of Zebedee, and Jesus named them Boanerges, “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (the son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the Zealot), and Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed Jesus.) (13-19)

After this, we went back to my house in Capernaum and once again a crowd gathered. It was so large that we didn’t even have time to eat. Back in Nazareth, Jesus’ family had heard what was going on, so they came to Capernaum to do something about it. They thought Jesus had lost his mind. The teachers of religious law who had come from Jerusalem were claiming, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul! It is Satan, the ruler of demons, who has given him the power to cast out demons.”

So Jesus called them over and posed the question, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a country divides itself into warring groups it will soon collapse. In the same way, if a family fights among itself, it will self destruct. So if Satan’s kingdom rebels against itself and is divided, it cannot last — its end is near. No one can break into a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless first they have tied him up. Only then can they rob his house. 

I tell you the truth, people can be forgiven for every sinful word they have ever spoken, even blasphemies; but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. That person is guilty of an eternal sin.” Jesus said this because his opponents were claiming that he was possessed by an evil spirit.” (20-30)

About that time the mother and brothers of Jesus arrived at my house. They remained outside and asked that Jesus join them there. Inside the house, the crowd gathered around Jesus told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside asking for you.”

Jesus responded, “Who, in fact, is my mother; and who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “You people right here are my mother and my true brothers! Whoever does what pleases God has become my brother, my sister, my mother. (31-35)