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Mark Chapter 03

Memory verses for this week:  Psa 63:1  A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 

Introduction: We continue with our study of Mark Chapter 3 this week.  In the last week’s lesson, we saw Christ healing the man afflicted with the palsy after his friends lowered him down into the room from the roof.   In the middle of the chapter, we studied about the call of Levi, a tax collector, into the ministry by Christ.   And at the close, we found Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.


I.  Jesus Heals Man with Withered Hand on the Sabbath

Mark 3:1  And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

Mark 3:2  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

Mark 3:3  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

Mark 3:4  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.

This is the fifth conflict of the Pharisees with Jesus.   Jesus is back in Capernaum at this time and in the synagogue.   The Pharisees hope He would heal the man so that they could get Him into trouble.  Their great desire was to trap Christ in some wrong that they might accuse him.   But Christ turns the tables and asks them a question  which had only one sensible answer.  They were not willing to answer because it would bring affirmation to Christ and they would not do that.  Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days?  Absolutely it is.   Christ seemed to show us two things here.

1. The first is that if a man does not do good when he can, then he thereby does evil or sins.

2. The second part shows how Christ knew that the Pharisees were plotting to kill him.  But he was going to do good and heal the man on the Sabbath, despite what the Pharisees said or did.

Christ was very plain in his teachings about the Sabbath. Whatever is good and helpful to humanity is lawful.  Things that  harm or hurt is wrong.

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.

Mark 3:6  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Jesus was moved by the hardness of the Pharisee’s hearts.   Apparently he was in a constant state of grief over the sins of the people.   Jesus hates sin, and if we want to have a close relationship with God, we should hate sin also.   After Jesus heals the man’s hand, instead of rejoicing, the Pharisees leave and go to the synagogue to hold council with the Herodians on how they might destroy Christ.    Apparently the things Jesus had told them were totally disregarded and they learned nothing from his teachings.  The Herodians were in favor of Roman rule.   Normally, the Pharisees would have nothing to do with them since they hated foreign domination.   But their hatred for Christ was so great that they link up with them to have common opposition to Christ. The Herodians are only named two other times in the scriptures.

Mat 22:16  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Mark 12:13  And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 

II.  The Popularity of Jesus

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.

In spite of the opposition of the religious and political leaders, Jesus enjoyed a season of great popularity with the common people.    We see the various areas where Christ was welcomed.   Judaea was far to the south, with its capital, Jerusalem, which was 100 miles from Capernaum.  People walked all this distance to come to Jesus.   This is the only place in the New Testament where Idumaea is named.   It is a form of the word “Edom.”   People also came from Tyre and Sidon.  These were the two main cities of ancient Phoenicia, the country we know today as Lebanon.

J. Vernon McGee said this:

You will notice people are coming from various areas now and are following Him. Our Lord withdrew tactfully at this time because, as He said, “… mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:4). Later on He did move into the face of all the opposition in Jerusalem, but now He withdraws and the crowd follows Him. If you note these places and look them up on a map, you will find they cover that entire area. From all these places folk are coming to hear the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now He is in another danger. This time it is not from the religious rulers because they are afraid of the crowd. He is in danger of being overwhelmed by the mob. You know today that a celebrity has to be protected from the mob—so notice what Jesus does .[i]

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

The crowds become so great that Jesus has to get into a small ship to keep from being crushed by the throng.   The reason so many came to him was due to all the healing and miracles that he performed.   We see unclean spirits once again acknowledging Jesus for who He was, the Son of God.

Matthew Henry in his commentary said this about the throngs coming to Christ.

What abundance of good he did in his retirement. He did not withdraw to be idle, nor did he send back those who rudely crowded after him when he withdrew, but took it kindly, and gave them what they came for; for he never said to any that sought him diligently, Seek ye me in vain. (1.) Diseases were effectually cured; He healed many; divers sorts of patients, ill of divers sorts of diseases; though numerous, though various, he healed them. (2.) Devils were effectually conquered; those whom unclean spirits had got possession of, when they saw him, trembled at his presence, and they also fell down before him, not to supplicate his favor, but to deprecate his wrath, and by their own terrors were compelled to own that he was the Son of God, v. 1.   [ii]


III. The Twelve Chosen

Mark 3:13  And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

Mark 3:14  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

Mark 3:15  And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

Jesus calls out the twelve.  These were the first officers of the church.

1 Cor 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

The call of the 12 had a two-fold purpose.

1.  They were to be with Him in His public ministry.

2.  He sent them forth to preach.


Mark 3:16  And Simon he surnamed Peter;

Mark 3:17  And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

Mark 3:18  And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

Mark 3:19  And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

Mark 3:20  And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

Mark 3:21  And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

Note that Simon Peter was named first on the list, while Judas Iscariot was last.   James was the first apostle to become a martyr.

Acts 12:1  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

Acts 12:2  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

In verses 20-21, the multitudes come out to Christ, but apparently his friends began to oppose him.


IV.  The Unpardonable Sin

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.

Mark 3:23  And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

Mark 3:24  And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Mark 3:25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Mark 3:26  And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

Mark 3:27  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.

The Scribes accuse Jesus of casting out devils in the name of the prince of devils, Beelzebub.   Interesting that they did not question that he did cast out the devils, just by what power that he did it.  Christ challenges their accusations and shows how flimsy their position is.   If Satan was to cast out Satan, he would be divided against himself.   A divided kingdom can not stand. 

Mark 3:28  Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

Mark 3:29  But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

Mark 3:30  Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

The man or woman who commits the unpardonable sin will never have forgiveness.   Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the  only sin God will not forgive.   This means that when we are convicted of our sins, and the Holy Spirit draws us to be saved, and we refuse, there will never be forgiveness of this sin.   All men and women must come to Christ for salvation.  Those who refuse will face eternal damnation.

Acts 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.


V.  The New Relationship

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.

Jesus’ earthly family intended to come and lay hold on him and take him home.  He tells them that whosoever does the will of His heavenly Father is his mother, brother, and sister.    Jesus was not saying that he did not love his earthly family, but was declaring that the highest relationships we have in life are spiritual and not physical.

J. Vernon McGee said this about our relationship with the Lord.

The half brothers of Jesus—James and Jude—both wrote Epistles, and they never mention that Jesus was their half brother. You see, anyone who is in Christ Jesus is closer to Him than His physical mother and His physical brothers were in that day. That is the reason He could look around and say that these “are closer kin to Me than even My mother and My brothers.” The important thing is to be rightly related to God in Christ Jesus by having received Him as Savior, which gives us the right of being the sons of God. That is bringing us wonderfully close to Him, my friend. [iii]



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[ii]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[iii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.