Welcome back as we continue working through the Gospel According to Mark. Last week we covered Mark 2, where we saw Jesus declare Himself Lord of the Sabbath and demonstrated His authority to forgive sin.
Today, we’ll resume reading, beginning in Chapter 3 of the Gospel According to Mark.
Mark 3:1-6 (ESV) | A Man with a Withered Hand
3 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
The Pharisees had a false understanding of the Sabbath. We saw Jesus confront them last week in Mark chapter 2. Here, knowing that the Pharisees will object to healing on the Sabbath, Jesus challenges their false doctrine with a question of the Law. Notice that Jesus leaves no middle ground in His question… Healing the man would be to do good while not doing so would be to do harm. Let’s think about the false teaching of the Pharisees for a moment. They enjoyed the places of honor, best seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the market place (Luke 11:37-54)… yet they did nothing for the sick, the hurting, or the poor that didn’t reflect well on them. Their limitations on the Sabbath weren’t to Honor God, they were to make much of themselves and excuse their unwillingness to shepherd the flock of Israel. They were waiting for Jesus to miraculously heal a man, so that they might accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. Given Mark’s brevity in most of his writing, it is refreshing to see him record that Jesus was angry and grieved at the hardness of hearts of the Pharisees. Angry. Our Lord Jesus Christ was angry at the false teachers and grieved by the hardness of their hearts. He is still angry and grieved by false teachers.
Mark 3:7-12 (ESV) | A Great Crowd Follows Jesus
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
The crowds pressed in on Him, seeking temporal healing and release from evil spirits. It has always made me curious that the unclean spirits would react in such a way and that Jesus would order them to be silent. Jesus didn’t come to eradicate temporal disease and sickness from a cursed and dying world, He came to make a way of Salvation for man, to heal them of their eternal separation from the Living God.
Mark 3:13-21 (ESV) | The Twelve Apostles
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
The appointment of the twelve Apostles was so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. Notice the focus of what He would send the Apostles to do was to Preach. Yes, they’d have authority to cast out demons. They were being sent out to Preach.
Mark 3:22-30 (ESV) | Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sin and grants repentance to sinners. Blaspheming the very Spirit that grants repentance and faith leaves the blasphemer condemned in his unbelief, cut off from the only Way of forgiveness, of reconciliation with God the Father, through the finished work of God the Son.
Mark 3 (ESV) | Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus is not breaking the fourth commandment, He is not dishonoring His mother here. His mother and brothers are in the wrong for they were staging an intervention of sorts. Look back up to verse 21.
Next week, we’ll continue working through the Gospel According to Mark, starting in chapter 4. Until then, we will continue our expanded Discernment in Music work. It is our sincere prayer that you will devote some time to reading and studying God’s word, and researching your church’s confessions and doctrine. Know what you believe and why you believe it… where it is taught in Scripture. The Pharisees were completely wrong about the Sabbath… and they were the ones charged to serve Israel as stewards of the Law.
Romans 16:25-27 (ESV) | Doxology
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
In Christ Jesus,