Lesson 4: Mark- Chapter 3
First read Mark 3 all the way through.
The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 3
Events in Chapter Three That You Don’t See Every Day:
-Jesus knew what they were thinking
-Hand is healed
-Many were healed
-Evil spirits know who he is
-Gave the Apostles authority
Notes and Commentary:
I. Famous Healing Ministry: Verses 1-12
Verse 4: Jesus asks if it is all right to do good on the Sabbath? Seems like a ridiculous question to us. But Jesus knew what the religious leaders were thinking. They were looking for ways to accuse Jesus as an ‘evil’ sinner. This was probably a ‘set-up,’ at least that is what it became since I am sure they expected Jesus to heal the guy.
According to their traditions, since Jesus was a ‘healer’ then healing was technically his ‘work’ and to do so on the Sabbath would therefore be a violation of the ‘Law’.
A convoluted understanding at best, and Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of it. After all, if you can help someone or heal someone, that should be considered a ‘good’ thing. If you don’t help when you can wouldn’t that actually be evil? Jesus healed the man anyway and that was good.
Verses 7-12: Jesus Becomes Famous
People literally came from different cities, towns, and regions to observe and/or be healed by Jesus.
Medical science in the first century was nothing like it is today. Nevertheless, can you imagine what would happen if Jesus showed up on main street or in a mall near you and began to heal everyone regardless of the disease or injury? Soon the TV cameras would show up and the crowds would come from all around the world to see Jesus. He would be a ‘superstar’ today just like musical.
First the ‘experts’ on TV would question whether Jesus was a charlatan who was ultimately motivated by fame or fortune. Then some would question whether he was illegally practicing medicine when he declared people healed.
Finally, the interviews of key religious leaders would follow. Some would question his education and credentials while others would confidently explain that all the miracles ceased years ago in Bible times and any today come from demonic sources to lead folks astray.
It would be fun to see them try to explain away all of the miracles and healings. The media ignores almost all of the healings, miracles, and answers to prayer in the Christian community today. But it would be hard to ignore or explain away someone who publically heals everyone and every disease and then even raises the dead.
Can you imagine the cameras rolling when a guy called Lazarus hops out a crypt after being dead for four days? The subsequent interview with his doctors would be priceless.
II. Jesus Appoints Apostles & Gives Them Authority: Verses 13-19
Jesus gave the 12 ‘authority’ (Can’t give what you don’t have–Jesus has authority)
To Do What?
1. Be with him
3. Drive out demons
III. What Folks Think About Jesus and How He Responds: Verses 20-22, 31-35
Verses 20-21: His family thinks he’s crazy? At least his brothers had questions about his sanity but I have always wondered if Mary his mother really thought that way also? I find it hard to believe that she did. Nevertheless she went along for the ride.
Verse 22: Religious leaders think he is possessed by Satan himself. After all he obviously is healing folks and doing miracles. Where did that kind of power and authority come from. They conclude that it must be coming from the Devil himself.
Verses 23-30: Jesus says that it is The Holy Spirit giving him the authority and power.
Verses 31-35: Mother & Brothers come again to confront him.
IV. The Different Responses of the People:
1. His own family came to take charge of him thinking he’s ‘out of his mind? I wonder what kind of reports they must have heard to cause them to be worried about Jesus and question his sanity?
2. The religious leaders are threatened by his power and authority & plot against him.
3. The Apostles commit themselves to be with Jesus & participate in his ministry.
4. The regular folks flock to see Jesus. There was no TVs or Movie theaters so for some this was the best entertainment they had ever seen.
5. Some believed that he was a prophet from God and wanted to hear what he had to say. Then there were miracles like when he fed thousands. Who wouldn’t want to see that and get a free meal in the process.
6. The largest group of folks who followed Jesus just wanted to be healed. The sick were desperate to get to Jesus. After all, he actually healed everyone and everything for free. Far better than the best physicians of that day. The numbers were so overwhelming that sometimes Jesus didn’t even get to eat or rest!
V. The Way Jesus Responds:
1. He heals the sick.
2. Preaches to the crowds.
3. Gives special attention & authority to the 12.
4. He challenges the religious ‘leaders’, shows their hypocrisy, & condemns them for calling the work of the Holy Spirit demonic.
5. He rejects the way his family is treating him, & includes all who follow him and do God’s will as his ‘real’ family. This could include us today.
VI. Source of Authority and ‘Unforgiveable’ Blasphemy: Verse 29
Over the years, I have had a surprising number of Christians come to me wondering if they had committed this ‘unforgivable’ sin. My answer has always been the same-anyone concerned about it definitely hasn’t. One’s concern is the proof of the matter. It means that the Holy Spirit is still working on you. Fact is, any sin without Jesus is ultimately ‘unforgiveable.’
Here in chapter 3 ‘religious’ leaders and authorities are claiming that Satan is the source for all of the supernatural acts and healings of Jesus. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is the source and that they are actually committing an ‘unforgivable’ blasphemy when they claim that the work of the Spirit of God is demonic.
Think about the context. All of the temple sacrifices and the blood of animals could only temporarily cover sin. In this case the authorities were actually opposing God and there were no provisions for forgiveness for that in the sacrifices of the Mosaic law. Complete eternal forgiveness waited for the ultimate final sacrifice that came later with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Only the blood of Jesus could really wash away their blasphemy forever and they not only did not believe in him but called his work and ministry demonic.
Later, one of their number (a Pharisee) would be struck down on the road to Damascus and become one of the greatest of the early Apostles. Think about this, Saul (Paul) not only rejected Jesus and his ministry and thought it evil like these guys here in Mark 3, but also tried to eliminate everyone who even just believed in Jesus.
He was responsible for the deaths of many early believers including Stephen. The temple sacrifices and the temporary forgiveness through the blood of animals could never even begin to cover his acts, murders, and unbelief. Only the Blood of Jesus could wash it all away for all eternity through faith alone (Rom. 3:23-25). Otherwise it was all unforgiveable. When Paul accepted Jesus it changed his destiny forever.
The ultimate ‘unforgiveable’ sin is to die without committing yourself to Jesus after a lifetime of rejecting every opportunity given to you by the Holy Spirit. Fact is, any sin without Jesus is ultimately ‘unforgiveable.’
How do you respond to Jesus today?
It really does matter. In fact, the way one responds to Jesus is the most important decision anyone can make for now and for all eternity. If you are really concerned that you may have committed an ‘unforgiveable’ sin or any sin for that matter, the best way to take care of it is to ask Jesus for forgiveness. Just ask him now–he will forgive every mistake and every wrong thing you ever did. You only need to ask. He will forgive you now and for all Eternity.
-Read Mark 4 in preparation for LESSON #5