Mark 3:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 3:9, NIV: "Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him."

Mark 3:9, ESV: "And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him,"

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

Mark 3:9, NASB: "And He told His disciples to see that a boat would be ready for Him because of the masses, so that they would not crowd Him;"

Mark 3:9, NLT: "Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him."

Mark 3:9, CSB: "Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn't crush him."

What does Mark 3:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Although Jesus often gave up sleeping and eating to help others (Mark 3:20), He is still mindful of His human needs. One of those needs is physical safety. People have travelled up to 100 miles to find Jesus (Mark 3:7–8). In their minds, He's less a man and more an icon. Or, a magical totem. The people believe they merely need to touch Him to be healed. But in their zeal, they threaten to crush Him.

As a means of escape, Jesus asks the disciples to have a boat ready. The passage doesn't say if He uses it in this case, but He did in others. In Mark 4:1–2, He will use the boat as a pulpit so He can teach a large number of people. In Mark 4:35–36, He will use it as an escape from the mob. Shortly after, He will take advantage of the respite from the throngs to get some sleep—in the middle of a fierce storm (Mark 4:37–38).

It's not a coincidence that four of Jesus' (currently) five disciples are fishermen. Jesus uses their strengths and their resources for His ministry, and adds an ironic twist to Jesus' promise that Andrew and Peter would become "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). The word translated "ready" is from the Greek root word proskartereo and means "to be prepared and attentive to." In other places, it's translated "devote."

We should have that same loyal attentiveness. At any moment God may call to use our talents, homes, jobs, and—yes—our money, in His plan to reach people. We will probably not be required to sell all our possessions, like the rich man Jesus speaks with later on in this Gospel (Mark 10:17–22). But God does ask us to submit everything we have to Him. Our earthly blessings mean nothing if they can't be used for eternal purposes.