What does Mark 3:9 mean?
ESV: And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him,
NIV: Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
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;
CSB: Then he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, so that the crowd wouldn't crush him.
NLT: Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him.
KJV: And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Mark 3:7–12 is the second of five stories recording people's reactions to Jesus' growing ministry. Jesus' fame has spread across Israel. People from Sidon, fifty miles to the northwest, to Idumea, one hundred miles to the southwest, and almost everywhere in between have come for healing. The ever-present crowd keeps growing, to the point where Jesus has to plan an escape route to avoid being injured. Most people are intent on using Jesus' power for their own gain. Ironically, only the demons show Him proper fear and respect. This passage is mirrored in Luke 6:17–19 and possibly in Matthew 12:15–21.
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 4/16/2024 1:16:38 AM
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