Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.
9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. 11 And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons. 16 These are the twelve he chose:
Simon (whom he named Peter), 17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), 19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). – Mark 3:7-19
I have been known to spend some time watching Fool Penn and Teller videos on YouTube. Amateur and professional magicians would come on the show and perform for these two masters hoping to fool them. They seldom succeeded. Penn and Teller would unmask them using coded language and ask, after the commentary, “Did I get that right?” Most of the time they did. They know the tricks of the trade.
I didn’t know the tricks of the trade. Sometimes I was completely fooled. Other times, although I could never do the trick or explain how the magician did it, I saw through the trick. It was entertaining. But I knew it was a trick.
Jesus is no magician. He is not using sleight of hand. He is God in the flesh and is able to do what no magician does. He is able to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise people from the dead. He is able – and will show this – to calm storms, walk on water, and feed a multitude with two fish and five loaves of bread.
It is clear that Jesus is not just an entertainer for two important reasons. First of all he is not interested in mere notoriety, fame, or showmanship. His miracles are in response to people’s actual needs. He has an impact on evil that undercuts their influence. He has nothing to do with the deceitful schemes of the evil one.
Second, he will send his disciples to do as he has done. They will be charged with casting out demons, healing diseases, and proclaiming the Good News of God’s reign and rule. Jesus’ purpose and goal is not to entertain, it is to release, heal, forgive, and save. He has no desire to set up a YouTube channel to let people try and fool him with their miracles and faith.
Jesus is no mere entertainer. He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the King of kings. For now there may be a flurry of followers looking for a show. When they encounter Jesus, however, they will not find a show, but they will find a Savior.