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Mark 3

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Verses 1-4


Mark 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

The term "synagogue" is a transliteration of the Greek word rather than a translation. It was the gathering of men, just as the term "church" means a gathering or a called gathering. It may well have been in a building, but the building was not the synagogue, the people were the synagogue just as the church is the people rather than the meeting place.

Among these men at the synagogue was one with a withered hand. What was wrong with the man’s hand is not known, other than it was withered. The term used relates to drying up, of crops, of water or of a person’s hand. Not being a doctor, I would guess this was just a shrinking of the hand due to not being used for some reason. The man may have had an injury that caused inactivity or he may have had a circulation problem, or some other injury/malady that caused his problem. His hand is not the focus, but rather the tension between Christ and the Jewish leaders.

One is left to wonder how the disciples felt at this point. Will He heal the man and get us all in trouble, or will he do the safe thing and not make waves? Not an unimportant consideration for the freshly chosen disciples - did I really follow this guy and open myself to all sorts of trouble with the leaders?

Some times we need to stand against a corrupt leadership even if it will cost us dearly. Standing for right almost always has a cost, but we as believers must count the costs and stand anyway.

It is quite evident that the leaders were looking for an opportunity to clobber the Lord - why - because he stood for truth, because He claimed deity, and because He taught as one with authority. Anyone today that stands for truth and teaches truth (which is the authority) will be coming to trouble with the established leadership.

More than once in my meager ministry I have stood for what was right in the face of leadership and found myself on the outskirts of the group or organization I was a part of at the time. One particular time I had dinner with one of the leaders of the church group I was with. I was asked point-blank what I thought of the organization leadership. I put forth several disturbing items that I had come to know about. At the time I was looking for a church to pastor and the group had several churches open. Not one contact came to me from the group - hummmm wonder why.

The joy of such situations is knowing that when I stand before God to give account I will not be asked about why I did not stand for truth in those numerous situations. Take Christ’s example and stand for what you know to be right and proper. Do not shrink from doing what you know to be right even if you know your enemies are watching.Not only did He want to confront the error in the place, He wanted to be right up front about it - He wanted to be sure all that were present knew what was going on and where He stood in relation to the established leadership.

This is God, and He knew what was right as opposed to the Jewish leadership that THOUGHT they knew what was right. When you take your stand, be sure you stand on the Word of God and not on your own opinion.

He got into their face with this one. He was upset with their attitude and their rejection of Him as Messiah. He was drawing the line in the sand for His disciples and followers - these gentlemen are wrong and we are going to be sure everyone knows it.

His confrontation is stark. "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life or to kill? But they held their peace." Mark said that they "held their peace." or was it that they knew they had better keep their mouths shut?

Verses 1-35


1. Christ in showing the marked difference between His physical family and His new spiritual family seems to be a demarcation from His past life growing up and His future life of ministry with His apostles. Not that the physical family is to be cast aside, but that the physical family is no longer the focus of the being.

Part of life is this breaking away from the physical family that nurtures us to adulthood, but there is a time when the break should take place. When marriage comes there is to be a leaving of the former family and a cleaving to the new spouse.

Christ seemed to be distinguishing between that physical bond with His mother and brothers (Joseph seemingly is not there - most likely passed on.) and the future family that He was building for God. Both are important, but the later is the more important.Some might balk at such comments, but consider further Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." or

Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."

There seems to be a setting of importance upon the spiritual. Not that we abandon the physical family, but it should surely never be placed above the spiritual in focus. This flies in the face of some teaching today where we put God at the top, our physical family next, then our lively hood and finally if there is time the church.

Christ seems to list it as God, spiritual family and then physical family. Between families might should come livelihood since that is our responsibility to our physical family. Again I don’t mean to say abandon the physical, but not to put them above any ministry God has given you. The emphasis is on doing what the Word tells you to do. If it means going to Africa and never seeing your physical mother, father and siblings then so be it.

2. We need to set our study thus far in its context. Basically John chapters 1-4 occurred between Mark 1:13 and Mark 1:14. This includes a number of events including the marriage feast miracle, his encounter with Nicodemus, the healing of the nobleman’s son, and the cleansing of the temple. The gospels are not chronological accounts all the time. They are collections of thoughts set down to portray the Lord in the way that the individual writer and the Holy Spirit deemed fitting. Matthew, Mark and Luke are basically chronological thus far with John interjecting a set of material that is recorded in none of the other gospels.

Mark 1:1-45; Mark 2:1-28; Mark 3:1-35 covers about a year to a year and a half of His ministry on earth. We have only seen a portion of the goings on that Christ has been involved with. Graham Scroggie places the beginning of John the Baptists ministry at January of 27 A.D. and the choosing of the disciples at May of 28 A.D. almost a year and a half into the Lord’s three year ministry.

We have seen the account where Christ is accused of doing miracles by the power of Satan. The Matthew account adds some content to the occurrence. (Matthew 12:32 ff) We can see that the Lord is rather upset in that he calls those that have rejected Him "offspring of vipers." I’m not sure but I suspect in the culture of the time the offspring may have been worse than the viper, or it may be that Christ was relating them to offspring of the Devil. (It is of note to understand the man who He is speaking about. Mark 3:22 mentions the Scribes and Matthew 12:24 mentions the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:22 adds to the context that Christ had healed a man "possessed with a devil, blind and dumb:"))

The leaders’ thinking is wrong on two fronts. One that the power behind Christ is the Devil rather than God, but it is also the attribution of divine healing powers to the Devil which is a power of God only.

Why on earth would Jews schooled in the Old Testament think that the Devil had that sort ofpower?

This is a total rejection of Christ by the Jewish establishment. Yes, there were Jewish followers but the leaders and majority of the Jewish people had rejected, in this moment, their Messiah come in the flesh.

The word "vipers" is used in: Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33; Luke 3:7. The Jewish leaders knew full well what Christ thought of them. Even before they had rejected Him He knew what they were.

In short on this end of things we should take this rejection into our understanding of how to interpret the Gospels. To this point Christ has been preaching and teaching as though He were going to set up the Millennial Kingdom. After this point He knows this will not happen, so there is a shift in his preaching to a foundation for the coming church age. This is not to say that all prior to this is not useful to us in our lives, but that we need to understand it in a dispensational line of thought. Information in the Gospels prior to Matthew 12:32 speaks specifically to the Millennial Kingdom and after speak to the foundations for the church age.

This is one of the fallacies that some make in using Johns early chapters as directly related to our own dispensation when they should certainly not be used for our time.

Basically, information prior to Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:23 ; Luke 8:4 and John 6:1 is Kingdom information and after those references is foundational material for the church. Depending on the harmony you use there are some passages in Matthew that are in the church section yet sequentially are after this break off point. Mark, Luke and John are chronological from the rejection on. (Matthew’s passages that are in the church information based on one harmony I checked: 5.15; 6.9-13, 22-23; 7.7-11; 8.18-34; 9.1; 20-38; 10.5-42;)

3. This thought of the unpardonable sin has caused many people great anxiety. They have heard from the pulpit or lectern that there is such a thing, but they have not been taught what it was so they go through life worrying about whether they have committed it or not. Many are the times on the Internet that I have crossed paths with poor souls that are worried to death about their eternal salvation because they have not been properly taught on this subject.

Great relief is had by all when they understand the context and meaning of the passage - that it is not something the believer can commit - that indeed it is the act of rejecting the Spirit’s witness to bring the person to salvation that the passage speaks of.

4. Some relate that in Christ’s time there was no Social Security, no welfare, no food stamps and little if any "government" help thus a person with one hand was left to begging etc. for their livelihood. There is truth in this and I’m sure that the man’s options were limited, but I would caution the expositor of this passage against making too much of this truth. I can just see the justification of every social program known to man from this passage being misunderstood. (I’ve read comments that since social security is not in the Bible that it should not exist, or at leastbelievers should not be a part of the system.)

The man had a withered hand, not a withered body, nor withered brain. True the options for a one handed person would have been limited but don’t make too much of that. Christ does not make a point of this poor man’s physical needs of food and home, he makes note of his need of being made whole. Indeed, note should be made from the passage that this healing had to do with the Jewish leaders, not the man with the need of healing. The healing seems somewhat secondary to the illustrative power it portrayed.

Don’t mistake the power of Christ, but don’t mistake the point of the passage. It was a confrontation with the Jewish leadership.

Now back to the point. Yes, we must need care for those that cannot care for themselves in society, but America has gone off the deep end and even further than that. Recently I was informed that a new program in our fair state would extend health care to all children without health care. Many of these children come from household incomes above $50,000 per year. Some are from $100,000 a year families. This is social consciousness run amuck!

We need to look to our past to understand what helping the needy was all about. It wasn’t making sure everyone has what everyone else has - which by the way is called Communism - it is about helping the needy to make it through life. Needy in this case is quite qualified rather than the blanket definition used today.

Point: In 1921 there was a terrible train wreck in Utah. In the mangled wreckage they found a man, twisted and torn up internally. He was assumed dead and placed in a long line of dead with sheets covering their bodies. The man regained consciousness and pulled the sheet from his face. Someone finally noticed him and they rushed him with others to the hospital.

A year later after months of recovery he was dismissed from the hospital. He returned to Nebraska where he went back to farming his land. Now, this is not a complete story for his injuries included a broken back which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He could not use crutches but found he could move about using two canes and shuffling his feet. He continued to farm his land for a number of years until he ran for county office and took on responsibilities of assessor, then later treasurer. He remained in office until his death in the seventies. He married when he was still farming and fathered/raised two children.

Now in that time in our country, help was available, but not all that could gain that help used it. Many did their best and found they were able to live decent lives without taking help from the taxpayers.

When I was seven or so, I would walk beside dad as he shuffled to the car to go to work. I would climb into the car and go with him to work and walk home just for the fun of being with him. I recall many times there was a one legged veteran that walked by our house going to work and dad would give him a ride.It was several years later when I was thinking of that poor crippled veteran and it dawned on me that my father was also crippled. His life before his family was as normal as any other, just a little slower.

The point: I am not against helping those that "NEED" help, but the government giveaway that we have today is simply the Robin Hood philosophy - take from the rich (and in this case middle class and poor) to give to the takers. NO OFFENSE TO THOSE THAT NEED HELP - it should be taken with no recriminations, but there are millions taking without NEED.

Most of our lives when the kids were still at home, we qualified for food stamps and other programs, but we did not NEED them and lived fairly well on what we had.

To the leaders of the church, be careful your attitude toward the NEEDY, and to the church folks - beware the NEEDY, for they may or may not be needy indeed.

5. One might wonder at the groups involved here. We have the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees. All were bending their own version of Scriptural right and wrong. Then there was Christ, the disciples of John the Baptist, and the freshly appointed apostles.

All claim the same God, all claim the same moral code of the Old Testament, yet all have a completely different outlook on what spirituality is.

Not unlike today in the church. Some might suggest that they are the correct group, however in the case of Christ and the apostles - they were right, Christ is the final authority and He appointed the apostles.

Today we have no group that has this authority. We have no group with God as their leader though there are a few out there that do claim to be God. (Recently I read a news report of a man who claimed to be Jesus. A month or two later I read another report that stated that he was now saying he was God. Now, the last report I read has that he was claiming to be the Anti-christ - hummm, maybe he is getting closer to truth.)

Today we have many that see their truth as just as authoritative as Christ’s even though they may be wrong as can be. Some feel the pastor is the totalitarian leader and that all should bow to his dictates. Since I do not see this in Scripture I must reject it. It is very important that we see what Scripture has to say on a subject and follow that rather than some groups dictates.

We have the contemporary worship group, we have the traditional group, both of which have it all wrong because there should be a mix of traditional and contemporary - and on and on it goes with the group differences, that really make no difference when we all stand at the Judgment seat of Christ to see how we have done in this life for Him.

There are groups that will not fellowship with other groups, there are groups that have determined that they are the right of all the groups, and there are groups that just group and do nothing for the Lord or His church.Groups are good for one to gain fellowship and support from but do not buy into the line that your particular group is special or more spiritual because they are who they are.

It is evident that the groups that gathered against the Lord put aside their important issues to deal with this one common issue that was threatening them all. There is power in unity to be sure. They, together, had power to get the Savior of the world crucified, but in the process they missed the Messiah that they were all looking for. They missed the major while concentrating on the minutia.

Our major is serving Christ, glorifying Him and leading others to Him. If our concentration is anywhere else we have misplaced our focus.

6. One commentary mentions "Here we see that the demons know Christ is the Son of God even though they refuse to believe in Him." Might I challenge you to think on this comment for a moment and see if you agree? I think this is the sort of thing that brings false teaching into the church as fact. This is a comment that just feels okay, yet it is error. As people read this sort of thing they have it stuck in their memory banks and out it pops in some conversation or lesson for others to hear and retain.

Demons know Christ and they believe in Him. They have known their creator from the beginning. Their error is in rejecting God’s sovereignty and following the prideful Devil in his attempts to be more than God. They do not continue in a lost state just as man because they don’t "believe" in Christ. They are lost to damnation because they opted to follow Satan. They have no possibility of heaven as man has been offered it. They were created under a completely different set of options than we. Heaven was never an option, accepting Christ to be saved from sin was never an option, and being a brother with Christ was never an option, so I trust that you set the quote aside as something not to be agreed with.

I am not picking on this one commentator for I find such in most of the reading I do, and if I am not too much in error you find it in my writing - we all need to be on guard of our tongues and know that what we say, not only sounds good, but that it is good.

7. It should be noted that Christ picked ordinary men to become his apostles. So today God chooses ordinary men to do His work. It is the janitor, the pianist, the teacher as well as the pastor that God uses for the totality of His work here on earth.

Even within pastors, we find if we dig down below the facade of correctness, that most are just ordinary man who God called into the ministry. The great missionaries of the past were cobblers lawyers and trades men who God called. I have known preachers that were drunks, drug addicts television repairmen, appliance repairmen, salesmen, and every other type of man who you can think of. God uses all kinds. I am sure there are some somewhere that were called when they were in professional positions with their schooling finished, but I have yet to meet one.

Someone once said that God prepares whom He will call, not call one that is already prepared. Normally God has a lot of molding and training to do when He calls someone, and He seems tolike to use blank slates, rather than full ones.

The point is that God can and does use anyone that He pleases, even those that the world would automatically reject. This man was always the last chosen for teams when there was a group choosing up sides. This man was always the one that no one talked to. This man was told that he was too dumb to take chemistry when he was in high school. This man was rejected by many in his hometown because they knew of his activities in school. Yet, God looked down and saw potential in the reject of society. I fear I have not lived up to that potential but I have given it the college try and God has chosen to let me run on at the mouth for many years thus I assume the message is still going down His prescribed path.

If you feel God is calling you into ministry then get going, He will smooth the way before you and provide all the necessary items along the way. No matter who or what you are, He can use you - the only key is your willingness to follow as the apostles were willing to drop everything to follow the Lord.

8. Is it not a tad ironic that the Lord is doing total good on the Sabbath, but the Jewish leaders are involved in total evil on the same day that they held sacred? He did good while they plotted His death. Consider that for a moment. They had followed Him for a time, they knew His teaching they knew His actions, and they knew His authority, yet they had such hate for him that they wanted to kill Him. They knew that He was a large sized threat to their way of life. Not that Christ was going after them, but that He was shedding light upon the darkness of their way of life and their total philosophy of life.

We do not see this sort of hate from the lost of our day. The lost just continue on in their own ways leaving the Christian alone - hummm maybe there is something wrong. Are we following through with the teaching of the Lord, of the actions of the Lord, of the authority of the Lord?

Please consider some food for thought. Today we see some opposition to Christians in America but normally it is related to our political activity rather than our preaching of the Gospel or of our actions generated from spiritual activity. How come?

9. It seems that many that were coming to Christ were coming for the physical benefits. The healing, or the casting out of demons was their goal rather than learning of Him or His teaching. This is not unlike what we see in the church today. When you ask people what they find in church it is usually the good music, the good preaching or the good programs, seldom do they say that they are there for the spiritual blessing.

To be in church for any reason other than spiritual blessing is completely wrong - you approach God out of physical want rather than spiritual need. Church is not for our physical benefit, it is for out spiritual benefit. It is a time to meet with God and His people to consider Him and not ourselves.

Many churches minister only to the physical in the hope of meeting the spiritual, though the way they attempt it sometimes you would think that any spiritual benefit is strictly accidental. TheSports Bar Church is an example. The preacher teaches while the ball game is on and if there is something exciting the honorary referee calls attention away from the message - if indeed anyone is even listening, so that all can concentrate on the game.

I’ve been in conversations with man who were constantly being distracted by other things going on around. It is rude not to give the one you are speaking with your full attention, yet these folks give God only glancing attention while they fill their physical and emotional need for sports.

Many are probably appalled at the Sports Bar church concept, but are our churches any different?

We have the performers on stage belting out the hit of the week, we have the band backing them up, we have the bouncing worship leaders to keep us with the beat. Rather reminds me of the little bouncing ball over the lyrics in the old movies so the crowd could sing along. Add to that the greeting time and the other fillers that grace our church stages today and what is left for God?

The churches are filled with folks that love church but is it God that they love or the beat, the performers, and the whatever or God? One must wonder.

10. Covenant theologians have coined a new phrase to rename the church, they call it the "new Israel" meaning the church is just a continuation, or rehash of Israel. This is not so and it is very misleading. The church is the church, not Israel remade or reformed. Israel is for the Jews and the church is for Christians. If you do not keep this simple distinction you will find yourself in false doctrine.

11. I would like to consider Christ’s response to the leadership concerning Satan. "23 And he called them [unto him], and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house."

His comments:

a. "How can Satan cast out Satan?" The answer is that he cannot, it is illogical to even consider it. Christ has proved to them that He is not Satan.

b. "If a kingdom be divided against itself that kingdom cannot stand" Here, it seems that he refers to Satan’s kingdom not being able to stand if He were indeed empowered by the Devil.

c. "If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." This is just another illustration from logic.

d. "If Satan rise up against himself and be divided, he cannot stand." And a further illustration.

e. "No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind thestrong man; and then he will spoil his house." And just in case you don’t get it yet guys, here is another illustration.

Christ even goes beyond what they teach preachers. Tell em what yer gunna tell em, then tell em what you want to tell em, and then tell em what ya told em.

Christ moves from the personal to the kingdom, to the house back to personal and ends up in the strong man’s house. It seems to me that Christ is proving them wrong on several fronts, but also it seems that he is pointing out their error in rejecting the kingdom, in the house of Israel rejecting the kingdom, and finally their own personal rejection of the Messiah.

The leaders were leading the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, but also themselves individually. They have rejected Christ on all levels and He moves on to tell them that they are in an unpardonable stance before God.

12. I wonder if there isn’t just a little of the Jewish leaderships attitude in all of us. Here they are watching the Lord and waiting to trap Him. Some even suggest that they had laid the trap. They are waiting to see if Christ would heal the man and break one of their rules.

Let that sink in. These men know that Christ can heal. These men know that this man’s hand can be made complete. These men have closed their minds to the wonder of the former two items and are waiting to catch Him doing something that they think He ought not.

Do we know that God is able to do anything? Sure we do. Do we allow Him to bless us with these wonders that He can do? Sometimes not. We would rather do it ourselves.

Do we go to church to gain something from the Lord or do we go looking for someone doing something that we think they ought not do? If only we could see others as we see ourselves - you know - as always being right, as always doing the right thing, and always thinking just the right way.

13. In relation to Christ showing anger then compassion. This is something we can do if we are walking with the Lord and depending on him for our reactions to people. I will preface further comments with the fact that anger has been one of the besetting problems of my life. In a flash I can go from zero to ludicrous with my emotions. For the most part God has allowed me to find control for this, but only as I have been walking with Him.

One incident comes to mind with many others following close behind. We were pioneering a church in a small town. A church in another town had started a Bible study and it grew to the point that they thought a pastor was needed. Another long story is that the men involved were starting a church of "their brand" in this "needy" town. A town that had five very sound churches within ten miles of the town one of which was in town. Of course they were not brand "......" churches.

Anyway the church was outgrowing our living room. We had rented a home with a large areathat was quite adequate but we were having growing pains. The wife and I committed ourselves to purchase a home that would be more adequate to the need and make the payments etc. We assumed that if we left before the church had its own building we would just turn the house over to the church and allow them to take responsibility.

I took an evening service to open this discussion with the folks. The meeting was rather short. As I was introducing the concept one of the men of the church rose and started spouting venom of which I had never received before. My first reaction was to punch the man out, but almost instantly I saw the man’s smallness, his lack of knowledge and his lack of Christian charity and my compassion took over. Humor is my next reaction when in these situations. I was almost laughing at the man as he wore on with his diatribe. I looked down and my wife was in tears having to sit there and listen to the drivel.

She knew that we had moved from out of state at our own expense to take on this ministry, that money and houses have never been a consideration in our lives, that I was working forty-five hours a week at my money making job and taking nothing from the church and preparing five lessons/services a week for the church. She knew that we were tickled to the bone with this house - the first house we had lived in as a family and we were overjoyed with its prospects as a family home, just that as a church home it was becoming inadequate.

His main accusation was that the house we were living in and holding church in was not "good enough" for me, that I "needed" a much classier house to put my family in and that I wanted the church to pay for my social climbing appetite.

When trouble comes along with other people be sure to turn the compassionate side to the person. They may be as wrong as one can be, but you should be the more mature and seek God’s strength to put up with the idiots of the Christian world. Did I really say that? I would love to know what the Lord said to the disciples later when they were alone and discussing the Jewish leadership. What would Jesus do? Would He call them idiots? Most likely not, but His compassion can be yours if you are open to allowing it. Maybe even His vocabulary :-)

14. I do not wish to play down the "paid pastors" of our day, but would like to draw some conclusions from the Jewish leadership. They were fully supported, they were "THE" authority and they were quite ingrained into Jewish societal life. So are pastors in our own day.

Some parallels that I see in SOME of the pastors that I mingle with. First of all those that are fully supported are often today unhappy with their level of support. They feel they work hard and that they are worth much more than they are given. Many go as far as to complain behind their churches backs to strangers on the Internet. Is this not the same as talking behind someone’s back - we used to call it gossip I believe. If there is complaint take it to someone that can deal with it not strangers that can do nothing.

The Jewish leadership was ingrained. It was a father to son handing down of the leadership. Not uncommon today, but just as poor an administrative method as in Jesus days. A son should learn and make his own mark on his own, not on the coat tails of his father. Just because a manpastors a church well does not mean that his son can do the same job.

The Jewish leaders were against truth that tended toward upsetting their apple carts of spirituality. Pastors today often have their own credo that they hold as sacred and anyone that doesn’t come under his thumb is to be rejected - much as Christ was rejected.

The Jewish leaders could not see past their robes and rituals to see their Messiah come, nor can many pastors see spiritual growth and power when they see it in their own church. If they see growth they are afraid of loosing their power so squelch the growth.

Years ago I was asked to take on a Sunday school class of senior citizens. Being the brash know it all that most Bible college students end up being I dove into the challenge with both feet.

God blessed my ministry with those folks greatly. I saw a class that was sullen, quiet and disinterested become alive with folks that thought they could actually do something in their church. One Sunday I challenged them to tell me what they could do for the church. I chided them with their age, their infirmities and their slowness of gait. I filled a large blackboard with the little jobs that they said they would do for the church if given opportunity.

I took the list to the pastor and asked him to consider it. His power and hold were challenged with that list. He soon spread some confidential information I had shared with him to the congregation. When I confronted him on it he blew and told me off in no uncertain terms. I thought my next step should be to talk to one of the deacons. I phoned one of the leaders to see if He would talk with me. As soon as he knew who was on the line he began to spew venom of a sort that I had never heard from a human being before (This occurrence was before the last illustration where I was venomized :-).

We left the church feeling that I had let those old folks down miserably. Over the next six months the Lord lead me across the path of a number of ex members of the church. In total there had been four others before me that had been run off in similar manner, all of which had started to have a good ministry with the church folks. I also found out that my replacement teacher had only lasted a few weeks before he was looking for a church.

Is it any wonder that the class was quiet and sullen? Pastors, please realize that you are not the center of attention in a church and that others in your church may have a ministry there blessed by God. The Life Application Bible says it well, "" Already the Pharisees had turned against Jesus. They were jealous of his popularity...."

Contrast the above with the Lord and His followers. Unpaid, uneducated, and unspiritual men from all sorts of backgrounds called together for their growth and nurturing. They were not followers for the bucks nor for the attention of the public, but they were willing participants in their own maturing as believers.

They went on to be just what the Jewish leaders were not. They spoke truth, they followed and presented Christ as the basis for all that they believed. They served the church in humility,poverty and truth.

Power and money tend toward corruption in the world system and I have seen over the years that the spiritual system is not exempt from the same problems. Pastor, do not allow your personal wants and desires to get between what God wants you to do and the conclusion of same.

15. More than one commentary mentioned the fact that the leaders were accusing Christ of sinning while all the time they were plotting murder, one of the Ten Commandments.

How often are we critical of the way others live their lives while we are in the midst of some sin or another? I think it is human nature to not see our own sin but easily view and point out the sins of others. What was it that Christ mentioned - cast out the block of wood in your own eye before you .....

15. The Life Application Bible mentions of the evil spirits "they refused to turn from their evil purposes." Think about that for a moment theologically. Is it possible for a fallen angel to change its ways? I see nothing in Scripture to indicate this. They followed Satan in rebellion and have been judged.

I think we ought to be careful the idle words that are set to print. Check your thinking with the Word and be sure you are on the mark. I do not single out this source to rail against, just pointing out what I see in many works that I read and what others may see in my own work. We all need to be very careful with what we are saying.

Many in the churches of today do not take a thought about what they hear in church. They just soak it up as if all they hear is truth when in fact seldom do I hear a message that is not problematic in some matter or another.

They continue their thought "Knowing about Jesus, or even believing that he is God’s Son, does not guarantee salvation. You must also want to follow and obey him (see also James 2:17)." What they say is true but of human beings only, no such statement is to be found in the Word of God to support their thought.

They further their thought "Jesus warned the evil spirits not to reveal his identity because he did not want them to reinforce a popular misconception. The huge crowds were looking for a political and military leader who would free them from Rome’s control, and they thought that the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament prophets would be this kind of man. Jesus wanted to teach the people about the kind of Messiah he really was—one who was far different from their expectations. Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. It begins with the overthrow of sin in people’s hearts not with the overthrow of governments." I think they need to rethink their limited statement that Christ’s kingdom is spiritual. He was offering a literal worldly real kingdom here on earth, not something spiritual only.

They are correct in their idea of who the Jews were expecting. They had a healthy expectation of a Messiah coming to free them from bondage. It is a reality that American Christians could soonbe under a politically oppressive government that is dead set against Christianity. What a wonderful hope we will have to know that one day He is coming to set up that real worldly kingdom here on earth and set up a completely just government to rule the world.

16. I shared with the pastor of a church we were attending that I was taking medication that was causing me quite a stress reaction. When driving or doing something out of the usual every day, I would get quite stressed. I then illustrated one of the items that stressed me that would not ordinarily cause me problems. A few weeks later my illustration was his in a message about those that lack the peace of God. Not unlike the Jewish leaders - they didn’t give a hang about the man who was healed, they only wanted to condemn the Lord. This man did not hear or care that my stress was medicine related, he just seized on the "problem" of this simple man who does not understand things the way he does.

Further, the man did not give any solution for being without the peace of God, only that it is wrong.

Pastors please take one on one conversation and keep it to yourself instead of turning them into fodder for your sermons. Be concerned about the problems of your people, not how to put them on a spiritual plain below you. That is arrogance of the highest order and is not becoming a man of God that is supposed to assist his people rather than find ways of condemnation. The Jewish leaders were intent on putting down rather than building up. Be sure you aren’t on the same level as they.

17. Often we see the miracle but miss the point that Christ was making with the miracle. In the first verses of the chapter the man with the withered hand miracle was to prove a point to the people and the religious leadership. He asked if it was alright to do good on the Sabbaths. Indeed, there were reasons you could do good under the Parasitical law, but not healing. It is clear that the leaders were going to accuse Him if he stepped over their line.

Christ made the point crystal clear that it was okay to heal on the Sabbaths no matter what the leaders believed. By healing the man he stuck His finger in their eye and proved their man made laws incorrect and set the stage for the law of God to be seen instead of their false customs.

Because of the hardness of their hearts they could not see the point, they knew their law had been broken and that someone should die.

A small application might be of interest. I have run into Calvinists on the Internet that know their own beliefs to be true, that know that their view of the world be true, and that know their interpretation of Scripture be true. They also don’t mind seeing things in verses that are really not there and they don’t mind seeing these things as true.

Now enter anyone that does not have their mindset. The new person is automatically wrong unbiblical and heretical because they are totally and utterly wrong. Why? Because they interpret Scripture incorrectly, they don’t see the deeper things of the Word and they just are inferior because they just don’t believe the way the Calvinist does. When you present any information,Scripture or interpretation it is automatically incorrect because it is not in line with theirs. See any similarity to the Pharisees? They knew their ways to be the correct way, thus Christ was in error and must be eliminated.

As you walk through this life, be sure that you allow others their own beliefs. They may well be right and you wrong. We can never know all truth from the Word because we all view it through our own mindset and life experience. These differences ought to be acceptable so that we can fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you need to stay away from those differences to get along then do so. No I am not talking about the fundamentals of the faith, they are in need of standing, but when we speak of the minor questions we ought to find ways to get along.

There are churches I have attended where the pastor allowed no hint of difference. You agreed with him and his long list of doctrines and if not you were not made comfortable in his church. It is no wonder why there are so many churches, denominations and fellowships. It is also no wonder many churches are very small today. It is hard to find many man who will agree with you on all things.

The further point should be clear as well. It was not right for Christ to heal a hand on the Sabbaths, but it was quite all right to gather and plot the murder of this young upstart on the Sabbath.

18. We have not mentioned the co-conspirators yet. The Pharisees were the religious leaders and the Herodians were political in nature. They wanted to keep the Herodian line on the throne in Israel and they knew that Christ’s talk of a kingdom was upsetting the balance of politics in the land.

Humm sounds like watching the polls for political direction is not so new after all. They knew that John the Baptist and his talk of the kingdom and now Christ continuing on that theme was resonating with the common people. They knew that if Christ became too powerful of voice and action that He would turn the political tides away from their avowed plans.

This is not all that uncommon in reality. During World War II there were many strange soft alliances between religious leaders and the German war machine. To cooperate was to continue living, to resist was to die. Many chose to live with whatever rationalizations they came up with to sooth their conscience.

Separation of church and state is good, though I do not hold to what is going on in America today. Religion and politics haven’t worked well in many cases through history, and it isn’t working now either. The Muslim holy wars, the secularization of America and the other mergers of political power and religious belief.

I might add that there are religious/political lines of thought that would set up a "God’s kingdom in America" which is just as wrong. We have no command to religousize the political system nor to take it over for our own "Christian" purposes. That is another book.19. I do not want to beat this kingdom business too badly but Life Application Bible mentions "Jesus wanted to teach the people about the kind of Messiah he really was, because he was far different from what they expected. Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. It begins, not with the overthrow of governments, but with the overthrow of sin in people’s hearts."

This is blatantly false. His kingdom will overthrow all governments on earth. He will rule Himself over the entire planet with no government but His. Yes, there is a spiritual aspect to the kingdom, but it is most assuredly political and religious in nature.

Today there is a truth that He has a kingdom program going on and it is spiritual, but when he was offering the kingdom to the Jews it was most certainly a political and spiritual kingdom. God has an overall spiritual kingdom going on, but the rule of Messiah was to be a political worldwide program.

20. Life Application commentary rightly notices that there is very little known of the apostles other than in the book of Acts. We have some information about those that remained around Jerusalem, but the ones that went to other parts of the world are not mentioned.

I would wonder why the concentration of the Word was on the few, rather than the many that went out into the known world with the Gospel. Why concentrate on Jerusalem and Paul’s trips?

Some possibilities might be offered, but they are just that, possibilities. The fact is we do not know and the Holy Spirit did not move any of the authors to tell us so it probably isn’t all that important.

a. God wanted to extend the truths through primarily one man. This is based on the fact that God choose to allow Paul to do most of the New Testament writing, and Christ purposed to work through only one that he taught personally after His resurrection.

It would be quite notable as well that Paul’s past could not have been more fitting to show the stark contrast of what Christ can do for a person’s life. From persecuting/aiding in killing of Christians to a Christian passionate about telling others of Christ.

b. The change in emphasis between Israel and the gentiles might not have been so vivid to the reader if the activities of the other apostles had been included. The stark contrast of the Jewish church in Jerusalem to the many churches scattered across the European continent is clear.

c. There is also the fact that there is little indication that any of the others did much writing. If they did it has been lost. The Holy Spirit could certainly have overcome all obstacles had God wanted their thoughts/writings included in the canon.

d. The work that the others did might not have been as successful as Paul’s and may have taken many more years to produce results. The New Testament shows the quick and extensive spread of the Gospel across many lands.e. While wanting to retain the clear distinction between Israel and the church yet picture the clear implication that the church arises out of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, there is no better person to declare this than Paul. He, as a believer, arose from the depths of Israel to become the leading figure in the Church. No one pictures the complete rejection of the Messiah and the complete acceptance of the Messiah better than Paul.

f. In hindsight it could be suggested that if we have as much trouble reconciling James and Paul’s writings, what would it be like to try to reconcile the writings of twelve men. Not that we would not know that all were talking of the same thing, but from our perspective we tend to try to find difficulties where there are none.

21. In verse twenty-one it is mentioned the concern of the family for Christ. Life Application Bible Commentary suggests that John 7:5 indicates that some of Christ’s brothers did not believe in Him as the Christ but later did in Acts 1:14. They also suggest that they probably were concerned with their brother to the point of thinking He needed an intervention for His own good.

To most outside of the ministry there are some in the ministry that seem like they are out of control. Probably the person is over extended but out of control is probably not the case. The fact that they are totally in control is how they can take on all of the responsibilities.

I am not likening myself to Christ in any way, but know how it is to be pressed so completely that you do not take time to eat, indeed at times not take care of yourself quite as you should. When teaching the first year I offered to take on a number of responsibilities with the qualification to the rest of the faculty, "You men know what the first year of teaching is like - I will do this job if you think I would be able to handle the coming load of work." None suggested that I should not take on these extra responsibilities so I did. I was off and running on a four year stint of activity that bordered on out of control.

Teaching a heavy load, a committee or two, headship of a couple of departments, class sponsor this and that, speaking on weekends at churches filling the pulpit and in there somewhere all the other normal school activities and some family time as well.

I do not suggest this sort of scheduling, but it may be necessary now and then to get everything done. It might also be quite a good lesson to some of the great possibilities of how God can intervene in these times with the strength, foresight, and assistance to get you through the hard time.

It probably goes back to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If your schedule is truly Spirit led and not "YOU" led then you will most likely be okay.

I might suggest that the last year of Bible College, when I was taking a full load, working 25 hours a week, rearing a family of three, teaching Sunday School class, going on visitation and doing a few other odds and ends was great training for the time spent teaching. God prepares us for what is coming down the road.22. When the Jewish leaders accused Christ of casting out the demons by the power of Satan was an "EXCUSE" to reject Him as the Messiah that they probably knew Him to be - just not the one they wanted.

A pastor once used a fantastic illustration to define and excuse. There was a farmer that went to his neighbor and asked to borrow his rope. The neighbor asked what he wanted to use it for. The farmer said, "Oh I want to tie up my milk." The neighbor suggested that it was impossible to tie up milk. The farmer said, "Oh I know, but one excuse is as good as another."

I’m sure that the Jewish leaders would have found some other reason to reject Christ if they had not found this one.

Churchgoer - what excuse are you using to mean mouth the pastor or the church leadership?

Pastor, what excuse are you using for not doing the job you know that you should be doing?

Student, what excuse are you using for not doing the best that you can? Wife, what excuse are you using for not being in submission to your husband? Husband, what excuse are you using to not love your wife as you should?

Verses 5-6

Mark 3:5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

We see in this passage that Christ "looked round about on them with anger." Do not take this for more than it is. He did not strike out in anger. He did not attack them verbally in anger. He "looked" at them in anger. WHOOPS! Bet some of them had a few shivers in their beings.

I can’t really imagine what Christ looked like, but to imagine him looking in anger - not sure I want to know what that looked like.

Anger is a topic that needs to be covered in our day. Many people are angry and their anger is just below the surface waiting to lash out against anyone or thing that is near to set it off. Recently Dr. David Jeremiah on his television program explained that Christ’s anger (not in this context, but when he cleansed the temple) was different than our anger. He explained, and correctly so, that our anger is usually due to someone doing something to us or to our belongings. In Christ’s case it was anger due to their misuse of God’s things and being an affront to God. I think this is probably a true analysis of the difference, though in this case there is a difference stated. This difference may have been part of Christ’s anger in the temple as well. The next phrase modifies the anger phrase. "Being grieved for the hardness of their hearts" tells the reader where the anger came from. It was based on His grief, at their hardness toward God.

The term translated "anger" is a general word normally translated anger, but can indicate any violent emotion and it is a strong word that is translated vengeance as well as anger, wrath, and indignation. The point however is that it was simply a look, not an outward verbal or physical out working.

The attitude of the leaders was a total affront to Christ and Who He was, yet His anger wasfueled from their hard heart.

Now let us get back to anger and the average Christian. It isn’t Christian and we all know it, and don’t relate the explosion at the wheel over the stupid idiot that cut you off to Christ’s anger. Our anger is that which Dr. Jeremiah pointed out, our anger against someone that does something against us or our toys - not the Christian attitude.

There is another point to this anger. The "look with anger" was an aorist tense or a momentary thing, yet his being grieved is a present tense, or a continuing thing. I would think that this gives insight into God’s justice and compassion. His concern for His creation is ongoing and never ending. He seems to grieve when the lost refuse Him yet He is longsuffering with them and gives them every opportunity to come to Him.

Constable points out that Mark is the only Gospel writer that mentions this "anger" and "grieving" of the Lord thus pointing out to his readers the complete manhood of the Lord. His emotions were as ours, except He successfully controlled His with the assistance of the Holy Spirit - as we ought, it might be added.

Matthew adds that the Scribes and Pharisees asked the Lord if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath and further adds that they wanted to accuse him. Not nice folks. Luke adds as a doctor would that the man’s RIGHT hand was the one that was withered.

Matthew also records that Jesus asked the leaders if they had a sheep fall into a pit if they would not rescue it. He also told them that a man was of much more value than a sheep. I do think that Christ answers the environmentalist that submits that man is the same as the animals. The environmentalist is incorrect.

Luke mentions that the leaders went away in "madness" trying to figure out how to do the Lord in.

Again we see the Lord heal and none of that partial stuff, He healed the man "whole." What a wonderful experience for the man. I’m sure it was hard to make a living with only one hand and to know that your physical life had been changed in an instant. His mind must have been in a total mess. He had gotten up in the morning to the same drudgery of life and along comes this Jesus to mess up his whole day - his heart must have been full of joy and his head full of questions.

Verses 7-11

Mark 3:7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, 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. 9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. 10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. 11 And uncleanspirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

This is no small group for a Bible study these folks were from all over the country. Idumaea is south of Jerusalem which itself is a fer piece from where the Lord was. His reputation had spread throughout the area of the Jews. One must wonder if part of this quick widespread knowledge was not in part due to the ministry of John the Baptist. After all he was to make the way for the one following him. It would seem that he had done his job well.

The Lord was not oblivious to the impending dangers of such a crowd, many of which were there in search of healing. He made arrangements for a boat to be made available in case he needed to set Himself apart from the crowd.

This seems to me to be a good proof text for the thought that we ought not take unnecessary chances in our ministries. No, do not pull into a shell so you cannot get hurt, but make provision so that you can protect yourself if you can. If danger comes to your door, then do not flinch, but there is nothing in the Word of God that we should throw caution to the wind.

There is also a practical aspect to the boat, as the crowd increased, He could get into the boat and go offshore a bit and preach to an even larger crowd.

Verses 12-15

Mark 3:12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. 13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

Christ "charged them that they should not make him known." What does that mean? It could mean that He did not want them talking about Him, but in the context I suspect that it related to making His presence/location known. It seems that He wanted some quiet/down time with the disciples.

It seems that He took some time to choose those that He wanted to talk to. Luke 6:12 records that he called His disciples and chose out of them the twelve and named them apostles. Luke’s use of the two words is of note. He uses disciples which means learner or disciple while apostle means a messenger or one that is sent, or one that is a delegate or one that is sent forth.

The term "ordain" is a little misleading here. We have the idea of “laying on of hands” and a big service to ordain people to the ministry. The term translated "ordain" simply means "make" which it is translated in verse twelve in the idea of making known.

His intent was to make them constant companions until he would send them forth to preach, heal and cast out devils. Wonder how the twelve felt when they heard that? Did they know what was ahead when they followed Him? I would doubt it, but none ran off so they must have been willing to do as they were commanded.

I trust that you will not miss the calling, the setting aside and naming of the twelve as it relates towhat we as believers ought to be doing in our lives. We also should be choosing some to disciple, men who we can be with, spend time with, train and disciple. Women also should be in this business with other women.

Christ is our example in all things of life. He selected twelve to spend extended periods of time with so that he could prepare them for the ministry that God would later call them to.

How would I go about this? I don’t know how you would do it but do it. Take some time to get to know some people, select some that you think are possibilities, talk to them, tell them what you are interested in doing and see what they say.

There are a ton of Bible studies online that might be of assistance to you, or just spend time with them and watch the conversations - steer them into spiritual areas that you can challenge them with. If you are in the same church discuss the pastor’s messages, or the Sunday School lessons. Do anything that will start these disciples down the road to doing the same thing one day. 2 Timothy 2:2 you know!

Verses 16-19

Mark 3:16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

The renaming of the men was of note. He renamed Simon, Peter, and James and John "The sons of Thunder" but did not rename the others. One is left with the question of why these three and not the others? What was the significance of renaming men when they became disciples? Is it something we should be doing in the church today?

This tradition is carried on in some of the movements of our own day, but usually the fringe to cultic movements.

"Boanerges" is of Aramaic origin according to the lexicon and means sons of thunder, or something fiery and loud. Peter means rock or stone. This is important in later passages. The names they were using were of Hebrew origion so the Lord many have been just setting them apart from their past toward their future and new life.

Now, for a little further information on the twelve. The following information is a compilation of sources including Encarta Standard Encyclopedia 2003 and other sources. Note should be made that most of what we know of the apostles comes from outside of the Biblical record. Most comes from tradition either Catholic or Greek Orthodox, thus historical but not Biblical.

Peter: We all know about Peter and his future. He was strong in the beginning of the early church and continued his ministry to the end of his life. He is said to have been crucified upside down at his own request thinking he was not worthy of suffering the same death as the Lord. Most feel that he became a pastor/writer due to I and II Peter.James: In Acts 12:1-2 we see that James was the first apostle to die for his faith. Tradition tells us that he preached in Spain just prior to his death. His remains were supposedly moved to Spain in the middle ages.

John: John the Gospel writer also was a disciple of The Baptist and went on to become very important in the founding of the church. He wrote the book of Revelation from the island of Patmos where he was exiled because of his Gospel witness. Some suggest that he survived death when he was to be boiled in oil. He put in a lot of work at the church of Ephesus and the surrounding area. Some think that he took care of Mary in his own home for many years. He is the only apostle thought to have died a natural death of old age.

Andrew: Andrew, Peter’s brother was a fisherman from Bethsaida. He had been a follower of John the Baptist according to the Gospel of John 1:35-42. Encarta details his life further "According to tradition, Andrew was crucified at Patras, in Achaea, on a X-shaped cross, the form of which became known as Saint Andrew’s Cross (see Cross). Eusebius of Caesarea records that Andrew preached Christianity among the Scythians, thus becoming the patron saint of Russia. He is also the patron saint of Greece. In the 8th century relics of Andrew were taken to the future site of Saint Andrews in Scotland, so that he is the patron saint of that country as well; a white Saint Andrew’s cross on a blue field is the national flag of Scotland."

Philip: Tradition suggests that he was powerful in the church at Carthage in North Africa, but little is known of him.

Bartholomew: Bartholomew was thought to have gone preaching as far as India and was skinned alive according to some sources. Some relate him to Nathaniel in the Gospels. Some mention other preaching trips to the east and that he may have traveled with Thomas.

Matthew: We know little of Matthew other than that he was a tax gatherer and an apostle. It is evident that he is the Gospel writer, but not much else is known of the man other than that he was a willing follower of the Lord Jesus which speaks volumes to his intelligence and commitment to God. Matthew means "gift of Yahweh." Some say he ministered in Persia and Ethiopia.

Just a brief side note. Since we know little of him it may be that Christ called him simply to be a gospel writer. God calls many people to minister for Him in varied ways. Some pastors feel they do little for the Lord, yet they fail to give thought to writing for Him. There is so much training that goes into making a pastor and yet many of them preach and teach their entire lives with no thought of setting their thoughts to paper or disk for future generations.

I find reading on Internet forums that there are men that have spent years studying in small areas of the Word and doing so in minute detail. All of that study is lost because they shared their thoughts in a message or two and there is no record. Might I suggest that you take some of your ministry time to write, to put down on paper/disk that which you have found. It might save many others that same study that you have just done.

I find that reading what others have found assists me in two major areas. One, they are a goodcheck upon my own conclusions. I do my study, then read what others have found. Often they have noticed things that I completely missed. This is the second area in which they assist me. They add to what I have found and they are a good double-check on what I have concluded.

All too often the areas where I desire assistance are areas where no one has written. Please consider doing some writing pastors. Some of you will find that you do not do well at the written page, but others of you will find that it is another great medium to communicate the Good News with. You may never get anything published, but you might put your information on the Internet so that others can share in your efforts.

Thomas: Thomas supposedly preached into India and is said to have lead a proconsul’s wife to the Lord for which he was crucified.

James son of Alphaeus: According to Josephus the historian James was stoned and then clubbed to death.

Thaddaeus: Luke adds Judas the son of James which seems to be Thaddaeus. Judges 1:1 mentions "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James...." The Lexicon states that these two are the same and that he is the writer of Jude. Some mistakenly call him Lebbaeus as mentioned in the Lexicon and Encarta.

Simon: Luke mentions that he was called the Zealot. Tradition places him in Persia and killed for not sacrificing to the Sun god.

Judas: We all know of Judas and his future as well. Some wonder at the Lord’s choosing of Judas. Why would He choose someone that He knew would betray Him? The obvious, is that maybe He did not know that he was going to betray Him. The crux of the matter rests on how you view Christ during His earthly ministry - whether fully God in his omnipotence, omniscience etc. or was he limited in these areas in some manner and relying on the Holy Spirit for His powers over nature.

Either way, He may well have known of the coming problems whether by omniscience or by the leading of the Spirit. Why He wanted the culprit within his own group is not known to us. It would have been God’s way to be sure the man would have every opportunity to see and know the Messiah and to force him into a choice one way or the other.

The downfall of Judas due to his greed is well known. Might we have just a little application to pastors and other church leaders. Greed is a terrible taskmaster and it will put you down if you do not control it. The history books are filled with greedy preachers that allowed that greed to ruin their ministry for Christ.

Not many months go by between newspaper and media accounts of men that have fallen victim to the temptation to greed. Beware your physical appetites and control them or they will control you and stop you from God’s best for your life.Mathias was the disciple chosen in Acts. He is said to have been with Andrew in his travels and that he was burned to death. (Acts 1:13 lists Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Thomas Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes and Judas the brother of James.)

Now back to Mark.

Verses 20-21

Mark 3:20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

As I read this the crowd had located Christ and the disciples and had come together around them with such a press that they could not even eat. The "friends" that heard of this press and that had come to help seem to be external to the apostles - probably other followers/disciples.

We live in a very small home, 800 square foot, and it is split into two levels. All three of our children showed up the same Christmas a few years ago with all their children. Eight adults and eight children in less than 400 square foot when we were all together. Most of the time there were several standing on the stairs or in the kitchen.

My point is this, even in this press of people we were able to "eat bread." Among the press we could cook and serve meals for all present, but Christ found Himself in such a crowd that they could not even eat. Some crowd!

"He is beside himself" can be translated as it is, or of someone that is amazed, or indeed of someone that is insane, however I think in the context it would be better viewed as the fact that Christ was just so busy with His activities that He may have lost track of time, personal needs and indeed was running on automatic.

When teaching I was teaching a heavy load, class sponsor, had two teenage sons at home preaching weekends and just altogether running on automatic. I had little time to think about anything but all the detail that was going on in my life. I’m sure some thought I was beside myself when they would see me moving from one task to another in a flash that was required to get everything done.

Add to this the fatigue of such a schedule as Christ was keeping and I suspect that the Lord may have seemed to be on automatic pilot, though I am not sure their perception would have been deemed correct by the Lord.

The other Gospel writers do not mention this account leaving one to wonder if this was not Marks impression rather than the facts as others viewed them. Mark being of a younger nature may have just had this impression of the Lord, however the fact that friends came to assist the Lord would indicate that there was a widespread feeling that Christ was over extending Himself.

It may, in view of other passages, be that the Lord was over extended and that he was running close to the edge. Recall His activities when praying about the coming cross. His mind wasrunning all around the coming events. It is not hard to imagine that His manliness was over taxed and that He needed someone to step in and give Him relief.

We often get stuck on His deity or His manhood and forget that the other side was always there as well. He is not just Christ, and He is not just Jesus, He is the Lord Jesus Christ. We would do well to remember both were completely and fully existent within Him at all times.

The point of application might run along the lines pastor/teacher, you are one person, you are a person with limits, and that you should find your limits and live within them.

Referring back to my teaching comments, I felt I had no limits, so I kept taking on more and more without thought to how it was affecting me. I was becoming burdened, I was becoming weaker physically, and I was headed for problems. The physical finally met with collapse when my back went out completely. Stress and fatigue finally gave way to bed rest for a week over Christmas break.

We are physical beings that have limits. Know your limits, but more importantly when you find them keep on the good side of them so that you do not do damage to yourself.

On the other hand, do not use this as license to become lazy and lax in your ministry. God wants our best not our "what we can get along doing with the least effort."

Verses 22-30

Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

The term translated "scribe" is related to our English word grammar. Not sure what we might make of that fact other than the fact that I would never have made a good scribe since grammar and I are sworn enemies.

"The Scribes which came down from Jerusalem" might be of interest to you. Since the Lord is in the northern part of the country and Jerusalem is in the south, why would Mark state that they "came down" from Jerusalem? The Jews viewed Jerusalem to be the center of the world. Everywhere in the world is down from Jerusalem. If they are anywhere in the world except Jerusalem and they are going to Jerusalem, they would go "up" to Jerusalem.

Just a little off the subject, but this is another reason why I personally view the Garden of Eden as being in the area of Jerusalem, if not on the very site of the old temples. There is a study on thison my website if you are interested. In the short of it the temple site has been God’s place to deal with Israel, and even back to Abraham, and it will be prominent in the coming kingdom as well.

I suspect that this is all tied up with the Jewish thought of Jerusalem being God’s holy hill so to speak.

Beelzebub means "lord of the house." It is one of the names for Satan. One might suggest that any family that is not living for God ought to call upon their lord Beelzebub, for their failure on God’s part is certainly success on the Devil’s part.

This is kind of typical of religious leaders, saying things that are illogical and poorly thought through. Why in the world would the Devil throw his own workers out of people and cause failure for his team? He would not and the scribes did not think their conclusions through.

I trust as you minister and study the Word that when you make a conclusion about something take time to think through to the logical end of your conclusion. Recently in a Sunday school class we were told by a lady who if we live for God He will bless us materially. Now that is a great sounding sound bite and I’ve heard it more than once from pulpits around the country however some are not thinking that one through to the logical end. If this is really the case then all Christians that are poor and living without food are not spiritual because God is not blessing them. Not a valid conclusion - God blesses those He chooses to bless but also tests those He would test.

In verse twenty-three Christ points out the fallacy in their thinking. He does not just ask them, he illustrates it for them so they are sure to get the fallacy of their thinking. Indeed he illustrates it in four different ways for them to be sure they understood his point.

He then continues to blast them with the news that they are blaspheming and that they will never have forgiveness for such sin. The unpardonable sin is right here. Many wonder about it and many have all sorts of ideas of what it is, but Christ states clearly what it is. "because they said He hath an unclean spirit." They had accused Christ of being possessed by the Devil.

Now in their context they were denying Christ’s deity, but more importantly they were denying the Holy Spirit’s witness in their life. Today the only sin that is unpardonable is that sin of rejecting the Spirit’s witness about who Christ is. When one rejects Christ in salvation they will not be forgiven of this sin, they will spend eternity with the lord of the house - Satan.

The following translations translate this passage as follows: asv: " hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." Darby: "has no forgiveness; but lies under the guilt of an everlasting sin;" Net Bible: "will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin"

The point might be made that the verse mentions the person is "in danger of" or in other words he is not yet destined for hell, but he certainly is in danger of it. The phrase prior states however "hath never forgiveness" indicating that this is a done deal. I would assume that the Christrejecter has ample opportunity to accept the Lord until one day he finally and completely rejects Him and it is then that they have committed the unpardonable sin.

Verses 31-35

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him calling him. Mark 3:32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. Mark 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? Mark 3:34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Christ’s family came to visit or show concern for Him but could not get close to him - this is stated in Luke 8:19 "and they could not come at him for the crowd." They sent word to him and he asked the group who his family was.

This is a definite principle of life that many ignore today. He was saying quite clearly that his family was anyone that heard the Word and did it. Not any claim to deity or anything is it? He is the spiritual head of the family that He is gathering together. Anyone in God’s family that hears God’s word and does it is a part of the family.

We won’t get into the discussion that "do it" might bring, but it seems that works are closely tied to Christ’s recognition of His family. (Mark and Matthew speak of doing the Will of God while Luke mentions hearing the word and then doing it.)

This is in no way a rejection of his blood family, but recognition of His spiritual family.

We also see that Mary had other children after the birth of Christ. Plural brothers are mentioned.

(Not to throw rocks at the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary which some teach, but it does throw a rock in front of their truck in my mind.)

Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 3". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/mark-3.html.
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