1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Mark chapter 3

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does Mark chapter 3 mean?

In Mark chapters 1 and 2, Jesus established His authority over disease, injury, demons, and the Sabbath. In Mark chapter 3, He faces people's reactions as His ministry and influence continue to grow. Pharisees plot His death. His family thinks He's insane. Demons are compelled to worship Him. The mob wants to pilfer His healing power. And a small but growing core begin to understand He is the Messiah they have waited for.

Thus far, the Pharisees have been somewhat passive, observing and questioning Jesus but not taking direct action. In Mark 3, on a Sabbath in the synagogue, the Pharisees point out a man with a withered hand and ask Jesus if healing on the Sabbath is consistent with the Mosaic Law (see also Matthew 12:10). Jesus tries to explain that the Sabbath is for doing good as well as resting. The Pharisees' hard hearts don't accept this interpretation, which angers and grieves Jesus. He heals the man. Instead of confronting Him outright, the Pharisees draw in the Herodians, supporters of the king, to plot Jesus' destruction.

The crowds looking for healing from Jesus continue to grow. People come from all over Galilee, Judea, and Phoenicia, grasping for physical healing and release from demonic possession. Jesus goes to the shore of the Sea of Galilee to both give room and arrange for a boat to rescue Him if the press of the crowd turns dangerous. The mob pushes and shoves, trying to get a hand on Jesus, to draw out His power. Only the demons show respect and fear for the Son of God, although Jesus will not let them speak.

Out of this crowd, Jesus calls a total of twelve men to follow Him to a mountain. He appoints this group, referred to as "the twelve," as apostles, separating them from the mob for special training to heal (Matthew 10:1), cast out demons, and spread the gospel. Peter, James, and John begin to be identified as Jesus' close friends. In total, eleven of these men will be foundational to the early church. One, Judas Iscariot, will betray Jesus. Jesus' family, meanwhile, hears of the commotion in Capernaum. In fear for Jesus' sanity, they resolve to speak with Him, possibly intending to bring Him back to Nazareth (Mark 3:21).

When Jesus heals a blind and mute man from demon oppression, the people start to wonder if He is the prophetic figure referred to as the Son of David (Matthew 12:22–23). In response, Pharisees from Jerusalem arrive and counter that Jesus casts out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus first points out how illogical their arguments are: why would Satan work against his own purposes? Then He explains that the Pharisees' hardened hearts leave them in danger of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—the one sin that God won't forgive.

Finally, Jesus compares the reactions of His family to those who follow Him. His mother and brothers have come to take Him back to Nazareth. Some of these family members might think Jesus has lost His mind. Jesus looks over the group that has once again filled the house to listen to Him teach. He points out that those who do God's will are His true family. This extends to those of us who accept Jesus as Lord and follow God's Word, the Bible.

Mark 3 shows how taking Jesus at His word leads to truth while interpreting His words and actions through our own pride and prejudice leads us to destruction. We can't judge God or Jesus through our narrow lenses. We need to trust Him and allow Him to change our perspective to align with His.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: