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Mark  ◦   Chapter 3

1On another day, Jesus went into the house of worship, and a man with a contractured and withered hand was there.2Some of the church leaders and theology professors — who taught a legal religion and thus focused on rules rather than healing human beings — were trying to find a reason to make allegations against Jesus, so they watched closely to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath.3Jesus asked the man with the deformed hand to stand up front, where everyone could see him.

4Then Jesus turned to the religious leaders and said, "According to your own rules, which is lawful to do on the Sabbath: good or evil? To save life or to kill?" But they didn't say a word, revealing that they were more interested in their rules than in helping others.

5Jesus looked at them, angry at the depth of selfishness infecting their hearts and distressed at their lack of compassion, then he turned to the man and said, "Extend your hand and be well." The man immediately lifted his hand and used it normally, as it was completely healed.6Then those religious leaders and theology professors who taught a legal religion went out and found some local politicians of the Herodian party and plotted with them how they might kill Jesus.

7Jesus and his disciples left the city and went out to the lake, and large crowds from Galilee followed them.8When the word about Jesus and his ministry spread, people flocked to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, the land across the Jordan, and the area near Tyre and Sidon.9The crowd was growing very large, so Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready if needed.10He had healed many people, and this caused those with sickness to press to the front of the crowd and try to get near enough to touch him.11Whenever someone whose mind was controlled by an evil angel saw him, they would fall down before him and cry out, "You are God's Son!"12But Jesus ordered them to keep silent.

13Jesus climbed up on a mountainside and selected those he wanted to join him, and they came to him.14Twelve of those who followed him, he appointed to be his Ambassadors, that they might spend time with him and then go out and preach the truth of his kingdom15and have the authority to drive out evil forces.16The Twelve he appointed as his Ambassadors were Simon (whom Jesus affectionately called Peter, or Pebble),17James and John the sons of Zebedee (because they were so passionate and intense, he affectionately nicknamed them Boanerges, which means Thunder Boys),18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Patriot,19and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed him.

20Once Jesus returned home, a crowd gathered so quickly that neither he nor his disciples had time to eat.21When those who considered themselves "close to Jesus" heard how the crowds were constantly pressing him, they thought, "He's not thinking clearly enough to handle all the fame," so they sought to manage Jesus' time and schedule.

22And the theology professors, who taught a legal religion, came over from Jerusalem and said, "He wants to be a celebrity, and just like the devil, he tries to make himself the center of attention. He uses Satan's power to drive out evil forces."

23So Jesus confronted them publicly with parables: "How can Satan enter into a person, and by entering, get rid of Satan? Think about it: It would be like using water to get rid of wetness.24If a kingdom fights against itself, it collapses.25If a family turns against each other, its cohesion is destroyed.26If Satan opposes himself, he neutralizes his own efforts, his work collapses, and his effectiveness is ended.27It is not possible to enter the domain of a strong man and take away his possessions unless one first neutralizes the strong man. Only when the strong man is restrained can one take his possessions.28So here is the simple truth: Every sin — every deviation from God's design — can be healed.29But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be healed, either now or in the future, for it is the Spirit who works in the heart to administer the Remedy, and the Spirit only works in a willing heart. Closing the heart to the Spirit prevents healing and results in eternal sinfulness."30He told them this because they were closing their hearts by saying, "He is working through an evil spirit."

31Jesus' mother and brothers arrived, but couldn't get in through the crowd. They passed a message to him to come out.32The crowd told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside, waiting for you."

33"Who is bonded in love with me like a mother or brother?" he asked.

34Then looking over those gathered around him, he said, "Here are those whose hearts are bonded in love to me like a mother and brothers.35Those who partake of the Remedy and experience renewal of hearts such that they live in harmony with God's will and design are my true family."