Mark 3. Jesus Was Rejected By the Scribes and Even His Own Family.
Key Notes: Choosing disciples. The mob scene. What is the source of His power? Satan attacks. "Verily, I say to you".
In Chapter 3, Jesus will be seen at the Sea of Galilee, in the nearby mountain, and back home again to Capernaum. While He gathers twelve men around him, the rejection by the Scribes will be intensified, and even His family will openly break with Him. He will not ignore their criticisms but will give valuable teachings to those who listen.
3:7–12 At the seaside with His disciples, the crowds were so great that He might be pushed into the water. A boat was called to stand by. They came from every quarter of the country, even Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia. The demon-possessed fell before Him and confessed that He was the Son of God. That publicity was most unwelcome, because although it was the truth, it came from the mouths of filthy liars.
3:13–19 Jesus went up to the mountain and called twelve men to come to Him. They would have work to do:
First, and mainly, to be with Him,
Second, to go out to preach,
And lastly to have authority to cast out demons.
They are named, and we note that Peter is at the head of the list, not linked with his brother Andrew who brought him to Jesus originally (1:16), while James and John are listed together, making a cluster of three. This gives the impression that Peter is leader of the group with James and John as seconds. As in every list in the Gospels, Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, is mentioned last. So we now have a polarity: a leader at one end and an antagonist on the other end of the inner circle of His fellowship. The polarity is known to Jesus only; the antagonist will not be evident until the end, not recognized by the disciples as a traitor until the Last Supper.
3:19–22 Back at home in Capernaum He was mobbed and so busy that He and the disciples had no time to eat. We can imagine the scene. The crowd was pushing and shoving; demons scream, sick people cry out for attention and the disciples and other attendants try to keep order. He was working at top speed. His family tried to pull Him out, to get Him away from the madness and tumult. This was crazy. He must be crazy. The Scribes agreed that He was over-wrought, but they thought He was demon-possessed, casting out demons by the power of Satan.
3:23–30 Jesus stopped, went aside and addressed the scribes with three arguments.
•Is Satan against himself?Then he committing suicide. Is his kingdom divided? Then he is inactivated.
•And he is being inactivated, but not in the way they might think. One stronger than Satan is binding Satan in his own territory and plundering his house. Souls are being released from his prison through Christ's power.
•Moreover, to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan is to be guilty of blasphemy, an everlasting, unforgivable sin. It was a stern warning.
3:31–35 When things quieted down, His mother and brothers came to the outside of the house and tried to pull Him away. He rejected their call, since they in effect had rejected Him. His true kindred were those around Him who were doing the will of God.
To be a disciple of Jesus, one must first of all be with Him. Before we do anything, we are to learn; we sit and listen, watch and imitate Him. The disciple must be like his teacher. Lk.6:40; Matt.10:25
There was no time to eat. Now the word “immediately” takes on new meaning. Jesus was working hard. He invested great energy in Capernaum. (Later, the unbelief of Capernaum will be exposed. Matt.11:23–24). The pace of work, the demands of the crowd, the sheer press of humanity could drive one to distraction. But Jesus moved out of the chaos, into the orbit of his opponents to give them important messages.
The good news of the invading Kingdom of God is that Satan is being bound. Demons were being inactivated and people freed as Jesus’ power was exercised. He is the Strong Man who has invaded Satan’s domain. The end of Satan will unfold in Scripture in three phases:
•During Jesus’ lifetime he is bound by Him and believers are freed by His power.
•Before the Millennium, Satan is confined in the Abyss. Rev.20:1–3
•At the end of the Millennium, he escapes, but is recaptured and destroyed in the Lake of Fire. Rev.20:10
How is Satan bound in this age? Plainly he has not disappeared but people are being taken completely out of his clutches.
•The disciples reported that demons were subject to them and in reply, Jesus said He beheld “…Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Lk.10:17–18)
•We “once walked…following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. But God “made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up….” (Eph.2:2–6)
•We are turned “from the power of Satan to God… [to] receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified…. “ (Acts.26:18)
•We are “able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11)
We are to resist him and he will run away. Jm.4:7
The second message was that it is an unforgivable sin to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Sensitive souls sometimes cringe in fear that they may have committed the unpardonable sin—usually unnamed. They should be consoled that God’s forgiveness is freely given. The only danger to Christians is for those who are inclined to condemn some spiritual manifestations as demonic. That calls for caution and wisdom.
Jesus addressed the scribes in solemn terms, warning them to watch their language and their evaluations: “Amen, I say to you….” No one else talked like that, but Jesus did so, over and over.
“This bold assumption of authority (Jesus speaks in His own name, and with His words, like the words of Yahweh in the OT…) is unparalleled in Jewish literature….there is no parallel to Jesus’ introductory use of amen in pre-Christian Jewish literature. Still less is there any instance of a Jewish teacher using the phraseamen lego univ” [truly I say to you].
(The Gospel of Mark. N.T.France; Eerdmans, 2002; p.175).
“No man ever spoke like this Man. " (Jn.7:46)
Jesus rejected his family because they did not believe in Him, (Jn.7:5) and would not until after the Resurrection. (Acts 1:14). He had a great work to do and He refused to be hindered by their well-meaning appeals. Christians today are often restrained by well-intentioned family members, a problem that is more acute in Asian society where the parents are venerated.
A Taiwanese grandmother wants the baby named for her idol and the parents should pray to the spirits for good luck.
The parents of a college graduate who wants to serve the Lord on campus press her to get “a real job “. Is she going to beg?
An Indian woman may become a Christian, but only after her mother dies.
Jesus promises rich rewards for those who follow Him to the exclusion of all others. Matt.19:29
So the Son of God, the Singular Man, now demonstrated His commanding presence over the scribes as well as the demons. He spoke with authority as the voice of God. He invited twelve men to learn from Him and deflected His family who could not. Ironically, although the demons fall at His feet (3:11), the scribes shake their fists in His face. How can it be that demons are necessarily subject to Him and human beings are not?
“…what is man that You are mindful of him,
and the son of man that You care for Him?
Yet You have made him little less than God
And have crowned him with glory and honor
You have given him dominion over the works of Your hand;
You have put all things under his feet.” (Psa.8:4–6)
And still we rebel.