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Bible Commentaries
Mark 3

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-6

Jesus Faces Opposition As Jesus’ public ministry expanded from Capernaum to other cities throughout Galilee, the Jewish leaders began to publically question His actions. Jesus took these opportunities to teach on the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Calls Levi Mark 2:14-17

2. Jesus Teachings On Fasting Mark 2:18-22

3. Jesus Teaches About the Sabbath Mark 2:23-28

Verses 1-35

The Preaching Ministry of Jesus Christ Mark 1:14 to Mark 13:37 describes the preaching ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the miracles that accompanying the proclamation of the Gospel. His public ministry can be divided into sections that reflect God’s divine plan of redemption being fulfilled in Jesus’s life.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Indoctrination - The Preaching of Jesus Christ in Galilee Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34

2. Divine Service Training the Twelve in Galilee Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:13

3. Perseverance: Preaching against Man’s Traditions Mark 6:14 to Mark 7:23

4. Perseverance - Beyond Galilee Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50

Verses 7-35

Jesus’ Ministry Grows Jesus has preached in Capernaum, then throughout Galilee, and faced questions and opposition regarding His preaching and healing. His ministry begins to grow as He now ministers to multitudes in the midst of increasing persecution.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Heals the Multitudes Mark 3:7-12

2. Jesus Calls the Twelve Mark 3:13-19

3. Jesus Faces More Persecutions Mark 3:20-30

4. Jesus’ Family Comes for Him Mark 3:31-35

Mark 3:7-12 Jesus Heals the Multitudes Mark 3:7-12 gives us the account of Jesus healing the multitudes. We see Him speaking from a ship in this story (Mark 3:9) as He did in Luke 5:1-11. We see Him healing the multitudes in a similar way to the account of Luke 6:17-19.

Mark 3:7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,

Mark 3:8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.

Mark 3:8 Comments - Jesus’ fame has spread far and wide so that it became difficult for Him to minister on a more personal level. After I have assisted in organizing several large crusades, it becomes obvious that Jesus did not want to deal with the logistics and issues that became necessary when addressing large crowds. This is perhaps the reason why He told others not to spread abroad their testimonies (Mark 1:43-45). It is much more challenging to speak to large crowds than to small groups of people.

Mark 3:9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

Mark 3:10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

Mark 3:11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

Mark 3:11 Comments - If we were witnessing the behavior of these unclean spirits speaking to Jesus Christ, we would see the man or woman falling down and speaking. For these unclean demons were dwelling in the bodies of these people and using their vocal cords to speak. If you have ever heard a demon speak through a person, the voice will not sound like the person’s normal voice, but will sound different. This was what the people were seeing during these manifestations of demons.

Mark 3:12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.

Mark 3:12 Comments - It is possible that Jesus attempted to remain unknown as long as possible so that He could minister more effectively. He knew that there would be challenged facing Him once He became popular. The sooner He became known, the sooner events would lead to the Cross. Therefore, this meant that His trip to the Cross was being determined by how quickly the people manifested Him to the world. On the other hand, we know that that day and hour of His death was predetermined by God the Father before the foundation of the world.

Thus, we see the great mystery. We see man’s free will joining with God’s foreordained purposes and plans in order to accomplish the will of God. We see this also illustrated when we realize that a person must choose his eternal destiny by accepting or rejecting Christ. Yet, we know that God has already foreordained our salvation before the foundation of the world. Thus, we see man devising his own ways, while God directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9, “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Mark 3:13-19 Jesus Calls His Twelve Disciples to be Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4 , Luke 6:12-16 ) Mark 3:13-19 gives us the account of Jesus choosing twelve disciples to become His apostles. When comparing this passage to the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke, it becomes clear that each Gospel account mentions a different aspect of this event in order to reflect the underlying theme of each Gospel For example, Mark’s account places emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel with miracles accompanying their preaching. Luke’s account makes no reference to the twelve apostles preaching of the Gospel or miracles, but rather to Jesus’ time in prayer in order to choose the twelve and their appointment, for prayer is the prerequisite of the prophetic utterance. Matthew’s account states that Jesus gave them authority to cast out devils and to heal the sick. This statement emphasizes the theme of this division of Matthew’s Gospel, which is the sending out of the twelve to do the work of the ministry. However, Mark’s account says, “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:” (Mark 3:14-15) These verses sound similar to the commission of Jesus Christ that closes Mark’s Gospel. Thus, Mark places emphasis upon the preaching of the Gospel with signs following, which is the underlying theme of his Gospel.

Jesus Gives the Disciples Surnames - It was a common practice during this time in history for those Jews who began to have much exposure to the Romans or Greeks to receive a Roman surname. We see this happen on Saul’s first missionary journey, when he took the Roman name of Paul

Acts 13:9, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,”

The fact that Jesus gave the three men, Peter, James and John, Roman surnames was a clear indication to them that He was going to send them out among the nations. James became the first Christian martyr. Peter ministered as far as Rome. John oversaw the churches of Asia Minor after the death of Paul the apostle.

The Names of the Twelve - We are given the list of the twelve apostles in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:14-16. We note that these names are listed in the order of their important in Church history.

Matthew 10:2-4, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus ; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”

Mark 3:16-19, “And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus , and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”

Luke 6:14-16, “Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James , and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

When we compare the three parallel passages in the Synoptics listing the names of the twelve apostles, there appears to be a discrepancy at first glance between the name of Judas the brother of James in Luke’s account and Lebbaeus, surnamed Thaddaeus in Matthew and Mark’s account. Jerome says Judas of James is the same person as Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus ( Commentary on Matthew 10:4). [87] Many conservative scholars also believe that this is the same person as well.

[87] See PL 26 col. 62C-D.

1. Simon surnamed Peter

2. Andrew Peter’s brother

3. James son of Zebedee surnamed Boanerges

4. John son of Zebedee surnamed Boanerges

5. Philip

6. Bartholomew Perhaps the same as Nathanel

7. Matthew Levi (the publican in Matthew 10:3)

8. Thomas

9. James son of Alphaeus

10. Simon Zelotes (the Canaanite in Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18)

11. Judas brother of James (Lebbaeus, surnamed Thaddaeus in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18)

12. Judas Iscariot

In addition, Matthew’s list is unique in that he groups the Twelve into six pairs.

Mark 3:15 Comments - The two fundamental causes of sickness are abusing the human body and demonic spirits of infirmity. Jesus dealt with both aspects of healing the sick during His earthly ministry.

Mark 3:16 And Simon he surnamed Peter;

Mark 3:17 Comments - Philip Schaff notes that in the Hebrew mind thunder represented the voice of God. He says, “It conveys the idea of ardent temper, great strength and vehemence of character whether for good or for evil, according to the motive and aim.” [88] We are able to see this temperament of zeal when Jesus once passed through Samaria. James and John were ready to call fire down from heaven in swift judgment upon these people, but Jesus corrected them in love (Luke 9:51-56). John would later return to Samaria as recorded in the book of Acts and pray for the fire of the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the Samaritans, in contrast to the fire of judgment (Acts 8:14-17).

[88] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan, c1910, 1955), 416-417.

Luke 9:51-56, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”

Acts 8:14-17, “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”

The greater love we walk in, the greater the zeal we will have to deal with sin, because we can more clearly see sin and disobedience. This is the zeal that the Sons of Thunder had in serving the Lord.

We can see this contained zeal and thunder in the writings of John We see this zeal in John's Gospel as he draws a clear distinction between light and darkness. In 2 John 1:10-11, he forbids the believers to receive anyone into their homes if he does not adhere to sound doctrine.

2 John 1:10-11, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

In Revelation 2-3, we see the message for the churches is to repent and serve the Lord in pureness of heart.

Mark 3:20-30 The Ministry of Jesus Is Challenged (Matthew 12:22-32 , Luke 11:14-23 ; Luke 12:10 ) In Mark 3:20-30 we have the account of Jesus’ ministry being challenged by the scribes and His own friends. They claimed that He was preaching under the power of Satan.

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit - Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit the only unforgivable sin? Jack Emerson said the Lord once told him that the Father and the Son have one or both of the Trinity to witness to the truth of their works. [89] However, the Holy Spirit presently does not have any member of the Trinity to testify in His behalf as to His works.

[89] Jack Emerson, “Sermon,” Alethia Fellowship Church, Panama City, Florida, 1983-87.

Mark 3:21 Comments Perhaps Jesus’ family and friends heard that He had chosen the Twelve as in indication that He was organizing a major uprising against Rome. The large crowd that followed Jesus and the apostles seemed to confirm this intent.

Mark 3:30 Comments - They said that the spirit that Jesus had was an unclean spirit, when actually it was the Holy Spirit of the Living God, God’s presence on earth, living in Jesus. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit means to call the works and manifestations of the Holy Spirit as not being from God.

Mark 3:29-30 Comments Blaspheme - Within the context of this passage of Scripture in Mark’s Gospel, blaspheme is calling the Holy Spirit an unclean spirit.

Mark 3:31-35 The Family of Jesus Sends for Him (Matthew 12:46-50 , Luke 8:19-21 ) Mark 3:31-35 gives us the account of the mother and brothers of Jesus sending for Him as their response to His preaching and healing ministry.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/mark-3.html. 2013.
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