Then he went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand.
The Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction.
He said to the man with the crippled hand, "Stand here where we can see you."
Then he spoke to the people: "What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?" No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out - it was as good as new!
The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod's followers and ruin him.
Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to get away. But a huge crowd from Galilee trailed after them -
also from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, across the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon - swarms of people who had heard the reports and had come to see for themselves.
He told his disciples to get a boat ready so he wouldn't be trampled by the crowd.
He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him.
Evil spirits, when they recognized him, fell down and cried out, "You are the Son of God!"
But Jesus would have none of it. He shut them up, forbidding them to identify him in public.
He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together.
He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word
and give them authority to banish demons.
These are the Twelve: Simon (Jesus later named him Peter, meaning "Rock"),
James, son of Zebedee, John, brother of James (Jesus nicknamed the Zebedee brothers Boanerges, meaning "Sons of Thunder"),
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite,
Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him).
Jesus came home and, as usual, a crowd gathered - so many making demands on him that there wasn't even time to eat.
His friends heard what was going on and went to rescue him, by force if necessary. They suspected he was getting carried away with himself.
The religion scholars from Jerusalem came down spreading rumors that he was working black magic, using devil tricks to impress them with spiritual power.
Jesus confronted their slander with a story: "Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan?
A constantly squabbling family disintegrates. If Satan were fighting Satan, there soon wouldn't be any Satan left.
Do you think it's possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man, and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out.
"Listen to this carefully. I'm warning you. There's nothing done or said that can't be forgiven.
But if you persist in your slanders against God's Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you're sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives."
He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.
Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him.
He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, "Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you."
Jesus responded, "Who do you think are my mother and brothers?"
Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, "Right here, right in front of you - my mother and my brothers.
Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)