What does Mark 3:26 mean?
ESV: And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
NIV: And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.
NASB: And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!
CSB: And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished.
NLT: And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive.
KJV: And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus doesn't always explain His parables outside the company of the disciples (Mark 4:34), but in this case He does. Like a divided kingdom or a split family, Satan can't work at cross-purposes to himself and maintain what authority and dominion he has.

This infers that Satan has some quantity of authority and dominion to lose. When Adam and Eve follow Satan's suggestion instead of God's command by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they condemn their descendants to suffer under Satan's power (Genesis 3:1–7). Satan is the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31) and the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). The world lies in his control (1 John 5:19), and unbelievers are bound to him (2 Timothy 2:26). This is why he has the authority to offer Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" (Matthew 4:8–9).

But Satan's dominion is far from absolute. Job 1:6–12 shows that whatever Satan does is under God's sovereign authority. He cannot do anything without God's permission, and God will turn anything he does into good for those who follow God (Romans 8:28).

Nor is Satan's authority eternal. Immediately after Adam and Eve doom their children to be born under Satan's control, God promises that one of Eve's offspring will crush Satan's head (Genesis 3:15). Jesus fulfills this prophecy when He dies for our sins and is raised again. The promise will be entirely fulfilled when God throws Satan into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:10).
Verse Context:
Mark 3:22–30 continues as the Pharisees from Galilee show their disapproval of Jesus (Mark 3:6). Here, in the fourth story about people's reaction to Jesus, scribes from Jerusalem join in. They have heard that Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute (Matthew 12:22–23). The scribes quickly judge that Jesus is performing miracles through the power of Satan. This stubborn belief, in the face of logic, leads Jesus to condemn their blasphemy and warn that if they continue along this vein, they will be damned forever. Matthew 12:22–32 and Luke 11:14–23 also record this confrontation; in Luke 12:10 Jesus talks similarly about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Chapter Summary:
The bulk of chapter 3 deals with how different people react to Jesus' teaching and His assumption of authority. The Pharisees' confusion transitions into plotting. The crowds that continually follow Jesus for healing become more frenetic and dangerous. Jesus' own family, afraid for His sanity, try to pull Him away. But true followers also show themselves. Twelve join together to become a core group, while a slightly bigger crowd, more interested in Jesus' teaching than miracles, earn the honor of being called His true family.
Chapter Context:
Mark chapter 3 continues in the same pattern as chapter 2, describing various teaching and healing encounters from the life of Jesus. These events are used to explain Jesus' overall message and demonstrate His power. They also serve to show how different people react to His teachings. Chapter 4 will focus more on Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 4/18/2024 7:41:46 PM
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