Lest He Be Squeezed
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known. 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Again we get a picture of the size of the crowds that were gathering regularly around Jesus as He went from town to town. Mark draws a circle around Galilee that extends down into Judea(where Jerusalem is located) and Idumea, east across the Jordan, and north to Tyre / Sidon. Jesus fame is spreading and people are responding. Verse 9 captures the imagination as the disciples board a boat in order that Jesus not be crushed. The Greek says, “lest He be squeezed.” It’s a graphic picture.
Also of interest here is the response of the demonic. They are forced to shout out His identity as the Son of God. But Jesus demands their silence. He doesn’t need or want their witness. It isn’t time yet for Him to be fully identified. His work is not complete.
Finally, He gathers those who call themselves His disciples and selects 12 men specifically as His inner circle. Twelve is an important number in the Scriptures as it signifies the entire Church on earth, first in the Old Testament with the 12 Tribes of Israel, and now with the 12 Apostle’s in the New Testament. The Revelation of John is filled with reminders of the 24 thrones around the Throne of God representing the Bride of Christ, the Church. Jesus is already filling in the details of His story and the path of our redemption.