Gospel: Mk 3:7-12
Jesus and his disciples withdrew to the lakeside, and a large crowd from Galilee followed him. A great number of people also came from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, and from the region of Tyre and Sidon, for they had heard of all that he was doing.
Because of the crowd, Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him, to prevent the people from crushing him. He healed so many, that all who had diseases kept pressing toward him to touch him. Even the people who had evil spirits, whenever they saw him, they would fall down before him and cry out, “You are the Son of God.“ But he warned them sternly not to tell anyone who he was.
“Ministry from the Center to the Periphery“
We have a transition in the ministry of Jesus at this point. The self-righteous Pharisees were the staunchest oppositions to the “new ways“ of Jesus in regard to the fulfillment of the law. This compelled Jesus to withdraw from ministry in the centers and instead to the peripheries (the new wine skin). Jesus made a strategic shift in his pastoral ministry. He now goes to the “crowd“–the “common tao“ who knew next to nothing about the law. Jesus would offer them the good news!
Mark tells us that people from all over–Galilee, Judea, and even pagan regions–went to Jesus. Mark further adds a beautiful detail, namely, he tells us that to prevent the people from “crushing him“ he had to board a boat. (It was not yet time for Jesus to be “crushed“ to produce the “new wine!“ The right time for that would come in due time.)
It can sometimes happen that those who seem to be “church“ people unfortunately can be the staunchest oppositionists to “new movements of the Spirit.“ In contrast it can happen that the “unchurched“ are more open to “new“ teachings!