From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Mark  Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2013


All reproduction of text in paper, electronic, or computer

form both permitted and encouraged so long as authorial

and compiler credit is given and the text is not altered.











3:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     At another time, when He went to the synagogue, there was a man there with one arm shrivelled up.

WEB:              He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered.

Young’s:         And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was there a man having the hand withered,

Conte (RC):    And again, he entered into the synagogue. And there was a man there who had a withered hand.


3:1                   And He entered again into the synagogue.  [This] refers to the former entering the synagogue in Capernaum mentioned by Mark (1:21), on which occasion, as now, he wrought a miracle of healing on the Sabbath.  It is, therefore, probable that this took place also at Capernaum.  [45]

                        and there was a man there.  Coincidence is the implication and rarely is a sufferer blessed with such “good luck”—or Divine providence?--as to be in the right place at the right time where the only person who can make him well walks in the door!  [rw]

Which had a withered hand.   St. Luke (6:6) informs us that it was the right hand.  [39]



3:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     They closely watched Him to see whether He would cure him on the Sabbath--so as to have a charge to bring against Him.

WEB:              They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him.

Young’s:         and they were watching him, whether on the sabbaths he will heal him, that they might accuse him.

Conte (RC):    And they observed him, to see if he would cure on the Sabbaths, so that they might accuse him.


3:2                   And they.  [This] refers to the Pharisees mentioned below (verse 6), including the scribes (Luke 6:7).  [45]

                        watched Him.   There was a growing hostility to Jesus, manifesting itself among the Pharisees of Capernaum and other parts of Galilee.  They had watched Him in the fields on the Sabbath, and were still dogging His steps, on the lookout for some pretext for an accusation.  His refutation of the charge against His disciples, by arguments which they could not gainsay, but which, if admitted, would sweep away their Sabbath precepts, and His high claim to be Lord of the Sabbath, doubtless the more inflamed their hatred.  [45]          

                        whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day.  We may observe that He again chose the Sabbath for a new miracle, that He might again and again confute the error of the scribes and Pharisees with regard to the observance of the Sabbath.  [39]       

                        that they might accuse Him.  i.e., bring a formal charge before an official tribunal, probably before the elders of this synagogue.  [45] 

                        Undecided truth seekers they weren’t.  They had decided He was blatantly unacceptable and the only question was what—and how many—things He would do to add to their portfolio of accusations to “prove” He was a false teacher.  [rw]            



3:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     "Come forward," said He to the man with the shrivelled arm.

WEB:              He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up."

Young’s:         And he saith to the man having the hand withered, 'Rise up in the midst.'

Conte (RC):    And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Stand up in the middle."


3:3                   And He saith to the man which had the withered hand.  Luke says, "He knew their thoughts, and saith to the man."  His course, in the performance of the miracle, had reference to the working of the hearts of His enemies, which He was reading.  [45]

                        Stand forth [Step forward, NKJV].  He thus caused him to stand up in full view of all the people, so as to make more striking what He then proceeded to say and do.  [38] 



3:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Then He asked them, "Are we allowed to do good on the Sabbath, or to do evil? to save a life, or to destroy one?" They remained silent.

WEB:              He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent.

Young’s:         And he saith to them, 'Is it lawful on the sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? life to save, or to kill?' but they were silent.

Conte (RC):    And he said to them: "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbaths, or to do evil, to give health to a life, or to destroy?" But they remained silent.


3:4                   And He saith unto them.  As the account is preserved to us, it sounds like He is not waiting for them to object.  After all, He’s seen time and again their attitude of needless offense.  Instead, He grabs the offensive and throws a question at them, which is going to expose that they have fundamental flaws in the way they reason.  [rw]  

Is it lawful to do good.  He pinpoints their objection:  not to “working” in general, not to doing something that will benefit oneself, but to do something that benefits someone else entirely—in short, “to do good.”  [rw] 

on the Sabbath days.  "The casuistry of the rabbis allowed the practice of the healing art on the Sabbath in cases of life and death, but the withered hand--a permanent infirmity--obviously did not come under that category" (Plumptre).  [23]

                        or to do evil?   Evidently, in Jesus' thought, to neglect an opportunity to do good to one who needs it is the same as to do him harm.  [35]

                        Or:  The question of Jesus is to be understood as equivalent to an indignant affirmation, that it is as lawful to do good on the Sabbath as it is unlawful to do evil.  It refers to the designs against His life which His enemies were them meditating.  Its full meaning may be thus expressed:  Is it unlawful for me to do good on the Sabbath, and is it lawful for you to do evil?  Unlawful for me to save life, and lawful for you to kill?  [48]

                        to save life or to kill?   It did not take a theological genius to make the deduction that it is better to preserve than to eliminate human life.  Or, in this case, to improve a man’s physical capacity to live well the remainder of life instead of “killing” his opportunity to ever be well again.  [rw]   

Or:  He referred to the secret intentions of the scribes and Pharisees to compass His death.  While they were forming designs of perpetrating the most atrocious murder from the basest of motives, in the synagogue and on the Sabbath-day, they blamed Him for doing good and saving men's lives on that day.  [52]

                        But they held their peace [kept silent, NKJV].   Unless they had been prepared to abandon their position, there was nothing to be said.  [50]



3:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Grieved and indignant at the hardening of their hearts, He looked round on them with anger, and said to the man, "Stretch out your arm." He stretched it out, and the arm was completely restored.

WEB:              When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.

Young’s:         And having looked round upon them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their heart, he saith to the man, 'Stretch forth thy hand;' and he stretched forth, and his hand was restored whole as the other;

Conte (RC):    And looking around at them with anger, being very saddened over the blindness of their hearts, he said to the man, "Extend your hand." And he extended it, and his hand was restored to him.

3:5                   And when He had looked round about at them.  One can imagine the challenge in His eyes:  How could you make such a foolish, heartless argument and claim to be a teacher of others?  What we can’t know is whether their words of challenge indicate their spiritual blindness or their hypocrisy in knowing they were uttering foolishness--but needing to discredit Jesus at any cost to their personal integrity.  Either way, we can readily understand why Jesus’ face was filled with “anger.”  [rw]   

with anger.  "Hence we learn that anger is not always sinful; this passion being found in Him in whom was no sin."  (Whitby)  [52]

                        We see how plainly there were, in Christ, the passions and affections common to the human nature, only restrained and subordinated to reason.  [39]

                        Christ's anger was part of the perfection of His manhood.  The man that cannot be angry at evil lacks enthusiasm for good.  The nature that is incapable of being touched with generous and righteous indignation is so, generally, either because it lacks fire and emotion altogether or because its vigor has been dissolved into a lazy indifference and easy good nature which it mistakes for love.  [50]

                        being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.   The result being that their hostility had blinded their minds to the reasonableness of what Jesus intended to do.  Or had so calloused their principles that they felt no guilt in knowingly making an argument that they knew was invalid.  [rw]

                        He saith unto the man, Stretch out thine hand.  Unlike those occasions when the yes of the blind were anointed by Him (John 9:6, 14), and His hands were laid upon the sufferer, the present miracle followed upon the exercise of a mere act of Almighty will.  Our Saviour only directed the man to assume a posture which should bring his withered limb under the distinct observation of all present, and thus make the miracle which followed a plain and [undeniable] thing.  [24]

                        And he stretched it out:  and his hand was restored  whole as the other.   Up to this moment the hand had hung lifeless by his side, refusing to obey the biddings of his will; but now along with the command to stretch it forth, was given the power of control.  Obedience and healing were simultaneous.  It was by the power of the Son of God, that the lifeless hand was brought into healthful exercise, and yet the man himself used it, as the other, by natural volition.  [45] 



3:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     But no sooner had the Pharisees left the synagogue than they held a consultation with the Herodians against Jesus, to devise some means of destroying Him.

WEB:              The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Young’s:         and the Pharisees having gone forth, immediately, with the Herodians, were taking counsel against him how they might destroy him.

Conte (RC):    Then the Pharisees, going out, immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him, as to how they might destroy him.


3:6                   And the Pharisees went forth.  In this position concerning the Sabbath, it seemed to the Pharisees, not unreasonably, that Jesus was challenging the whole Judaistic system, considered as an end in itself, in its highest and most important institution.  It is probably on account of this growing intensity of opposition, that there comes at this point in Jesus' ministry a real change in the form of His teaching to the use of parables (cf. Matthew 13:10; Mark 4:9-11:22-24, 33-34).  Jesus could not have failed to understand what such a challenge of the conventional teaching as to the Sabbath meant, and His challenge thus evinces unmistakably His sense of the impossibility of compromise.  [28]  

                        and straightway took counsel [immediately plotted, NKJV].  The Pharisees counted Jesus as an enemy because He flagrantly ignored their humanly invented traditions and their “authority” to validate such practices; the Herodians likely looked at Jesus, His popularity, and His miracle working power, and saw Someone who might successfully destroy the political system they were being benefited by.  [rw]   

with the Herodians.    It is no uncommon thing to find coalitions of men, strangely opposed to one another on most points, but united to effect some particular object and it is easy to see how the purity and the spirituality of our Lord and of His doctrine would be opposed on the one hand to the ceremonial formality of the Pharisee and on the other to the worldly and secular spirit of the Herodian.  [39]

                        Herodians.   These were a political rather than a religious party and yet there were corrupt tenets and religious practices that characterized them as a class, probably referred to by our Lord as “the leaven of Herod” (8:15).  Their name indicates their being adherents of Herods.  This family was of foreign origin; its founder, Herod the Great, being an Demean or Edomite.  They had so advocated and won the favor of Roman emperors as to be put in authority over the Jews; and consequently they zealously supported the Roman domination.  They professed the Jewish religion but were loose in their observance of its legal requirements and introduced some of the practices of Roman idolatry.  The Herodians are mentioned in Scripture only on one other occasion (12:13; Matthew 2:16) and may be referred to on another (8:15) and they are not named at all by their writers.  From their name we infer that they supported the political claims and Romanizing measures of the Herds; that they favored their liberalism in religion, which leaned strongly to Roman idolatry; and that they looked, as the Herods did, to a union of the religion of their fathers with the philosophy and civilization of Greece and Rome.  [45] 

                        against Him, how they might destroy Him.  They did not consult as to His being guilty; for this they cared nothing; but as to how they could accomplish His destruction.  The result of their plotting on this occasion is not made known.  The Pharisees probably reported to the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, where a like bitter opposition to Jesus had shown itself, in an attempt to slay Him because of His healing the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath; and the Herodians we may suppose brought the matter before their tetrarch at Tiberias.  [45]            

                        destroy.  The word has, at a minimum, the significance of destroying the influence and credibility, removing His ability to be a “bad influence” on the masses and an annoyance to the religious and political leaders.  Ultimately moving beyond that to literal destruction of Jesus was a matter of means and opportunity coming together. 

            Ironies:  (1)  the alliance with the Herodians surely had Herod Antipas in mind, the ruler of Galilee where Jesus was currently ministering.  His death would ultimately occur in Jerusalem of Judaea, where he might give advice but had no direct political authority.

(2)  The death penalty was pushed through the Sadducee dominated and controlled Sanhedrin at the active urging of the high priest who was one of that group.  Their decision was openly based—in their internal discussion—on the fear that Jesus would gain so many supporters that the Romans would “take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48).  Not principle but power preservation was central to their motives. 

At least some Pharisees were part of the discussion (John 11:47), but the Sadducee dominance made them the controlling influence and we have no way of knowing how many Pharisees were present at the trial.  Likely only the ones were informed who were so hostile to Jesus that opposition would be non-existent.  In short, a rump Sanhedrin to ram through an action out of self-serving religio-political motivations.  [rw]



3:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Accordingly Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the Lake, and a vast crowd of people from Galilee followed Him;

WEB:              Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,

Young’s:         And Jesus withdrew with his disciples unto the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea,

Conte (RC):    But Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea. And a great crowd followed him from Galilee and Judea,


3:7                   But Jesus withdrew Himself.   Not to avoid the multitudes, but rather to fulfill His ministry among them, undisturbed by the opposition of the Pharisees.  [11]

                        Jesus withdrew from the danger which was preparing, not from selfish desire to preserve life, but because His “hour" was not yet come.  Discretion is sometimes the better part of valour.  [50]

                        Mark alone notes no less than eleven occasions on which Jesus retired from His work, in order to escape His enemies or to pray in solitude, for rest, or for private conference with His disciples.  See 1:12; 3:7; 6:31, 46; 7:24, 31; 9:2; 10:1; 14:34.  [53]

                        with His disciples.  Perhaps out of concern for their well being with such hostile individuals on the prowl.  More likely the need for them to emotionally absorb that being a disciple of Jesus inevitably involved hostility from those they would not have expected.  This would also have provided time to discuss why it was happening and how to handle it.  [rw]

to the sea.   This "withdrawing" was from the  town (probably Capernaum) in the synagogue of which His last recorded miracle had been wrought—to the coast of the Lake Gennesaret and the rural districts along the shore where scribes and Pharisees were less numerous and less annoying, and the common people had free access to Him.  It was not to escape the crowd, but to promote greater safety from the wily schemes of His enemies.  Until His earthly work should be mostly done, His policy was to abate or avoid such notoriety as might hasten the plots against His life, and at the same time to put Himself in the fullest contact with the masses of the listening people.  [15]

                        and a great multitude.  How did Christ exercise His influence over great throngs?  (1)  He never lowered the moral tone of His teaching; (2) He was never unequal to the increasing demands made upon His power; (3) He never requested the multitude to help Him in any selfish endeavours.  [36] 

                        from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea.  Notice that the territories here spoken of [verses 7 and 8] include all of Palestine except Samaria, and also the regions south and north of Palestine.  These verses show how far Jesus was known at this time.  [35]

                        The annual feasts would naturally draw observant Jews from Galilee southward into Judaea.  On the other hand, little beyond business on journeys out of the country would likely draw Judaeans northward to a region that was looked down upon.  Nathaniel’s cynicism about Jesus’ home town echoed the popular opinion of the entire region, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).  Hence the fact that significant numbers were willing to take the time and effort to travel to a region where they were obvious “outsiders” tells us much about the increase in Jesus’ popularity.  [rw]



3:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     and from Judaea and Jerusalem and Idumaea and from beyond the Jordan and from the district of Tyre and Sidon there came to Him a vast crowd, hearing of all that He was doing.

WEB:              from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him.

Young’s:         and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon -- a great multitude -- having heard how great things he was doing, came unto him.

Conte (RC):    and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea and across the Jordan. And those around Tyre and Sidon, upon hearing what he was doing, came to him in a great multitude.


3:8                   And from Jerusalem.  [Jerusalem] was in Judea, but the separate mention of it gives prominence to it as their great religious capital.  [45]

and from Idumaea.  Southeast of the Dead Sea and to the south of Bethlehem and to the north of Beersheba.  The family roots of Herod the Great were there.  [rw]   

and from beyond Jordan.  On the eastern side, the district called by the geographers Perea.  [45]

                        and from beyond Jordan.  The news about Jesus had been traveling in all directions and attracting interest even among those who had to especially go out of their way, crossing the Jordan, to find out more.  [rw]

                        and they about Tyre and Sidon.  The Jews who lived [within] those places.  [24]

                        [These were] the leading cities of Phoenicia, north of Palestine along the sea-coast.  [11]

                        a great multitude.  We have no other account of multitudes gathered to His ministry from so wide a region.  [45]

                        when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.  “Had heard,” i.e., all they had was second hand knowledge but even knowledge from such sources—if we deem it creditable by past experience—can excite our interest to do what we never otherwise would have a reason to do.  [rw]



3:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     So He gave directions to His disciples to keep a small boat in constant attendance on Him because of the throng--to prevent their crushing Him.

WEB:              He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him.

Young’s:         And he said to his disciples that a little boat may wait on him, because of the multitude, that they may not press upon him,

Conte (RC):    And he told his disciples that a small boat would be useful to him, because of the crowd, lest they press upon him.


3:9                   And He spake to [told, NKJV] His disciples.  It wasn’t at their initiative; Jesus provided the specific instruction.  [rw]

that a small ship should wait on Him [boat should be kept ready for Him, NKJV].  One of the fishing boats that enlivened the sea at that day, which may have belonged to some of the disciples He had called from their boats on this coast (1:16-20).  [45]

                        “Small:  Nothing large was required to accomplish what He wished to do with it.  [rw]

                        because of the multitude.  The "multitude," not the word twice used above (in verses 7 and 8) but one which answers more exactly to the English crowd, as implying not mere numbers but confusion and strong pressure.  [3]             

                        lest they should throng [crush, NKJV] Him.  And by crowding about Him, restrain the liberty of His movements.  He did not fear danger from the crowd, but rather He provided that they should not seem to have the power over His motions, to make Him appear to consent to their plans.  Had He come to be the temporal ruler of His nation, this would have been a time to assume the command of the multitude.  [25]

                        The pressure of the people to get near Him often caused discomfort to Him, confusion among themselves, and indistinct hearing of His speeches.  The small ship enabled Him to place a narrow strip of water between Him and them, thus removing all occasion for their crowding one another, and securing that quietness which is necessary to thoughtful attention.  [38]



3:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     For He had cured many of the people, so that all who had any ailments pressed upon Him, to touch Him.

WEB:              For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him.

Young’s:         for he did heal many, so that they threw themselves on him, in order to touch him -- as many as had plagues;

Conte (RC):    For he healed so many, that as many of them as had wounds would rush toward him in order to touch him.


3:10                 For He had healed many.  Matthew (12:15) says, "he healed them all."  In such vast multitudes, the cures, which included all their sick, must have been very numerous; yet we have no particular record of any.  In the narratives of Christ's life, only those that are presented in detail that illustrate His ministry, or that have in them important lessons for us.  [45]

                        insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him.  Literall1y, “fell upon Him, clung to Him," hoping that the very contact with Him might heal them.  [39]

                        as many had plagues [afflictions, NKJV].  The proportion of those that came to hear Him rather than to be healed by Him is unstated.  Even those who came for the latter reason would have been able to deduce that they should give careful heed to any message He gave.  If power lay beyond His words to heal, how could they not lie behind His words in teaching?  [rw]                



3:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And the foul spirits, whenever they saw Him, threw themselves down at His feet, screaming out: "You are the Son of God."

WEB:              The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!"

Young’s:         and the unclean spirits, when they were seeing him, were falling down before him, and were crying, saying -- 'Thou art the Son of God;'

Conte (RC):    And the unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell prostrate before him. And they cried out, saying,


3:11                 And unclean spirits, when they saw Him.  Anticipating that nothing good for them was going to come out of the encounter.  [rw]

fell down before Him.  [Since the individuals were demon possessed at the time] it is just possible that this homage paid to our Lord may have been an act of cunning--a ruse [by the demons] to lead the people to suppose that our Lord was in league with evil spirits.  [39]

                        and cried, saying, Thou art are the Son of God.  In the synagogue of Capernaum they had called Him the "Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24), they now acknowledge Him as the "Son of God" (compare Luke 6:41).  The force of the imperfect tense in the original here in very striking, “whenever the demons saw Him, they kept falling down before Him and saying.”  [8]           



3:12                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But He many a time checked them, forbidding them to say who He was.

WEB:              He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.

Young’s:         and many times he was charging them that they might not make him manifest.

Conte (RC):    "You are the Son of God." And he strongly admonished them, lest they make him known.


3:12                 And He straitly charged [sternly warned, NKJV] them.  Showing the seriousness of the matter.  With so many needless critics on the prowl, the last thing Jesus needed was the taunt of, “Even demons speak words of praise to him!” [rw]

that they should not make Him known.  On this as on other occasions (1:24, 34), particular attention must have been attracted by the expulsion of evil spirits, who continued to bear testimony to His person.  Here too we find Him checking this presumption, not only because He was dishonored by their testimony that "that they might not make him manifest," i.e., reveal His character and office prematurely and precipitately, so as to defeat His purpose, which required a more deliberate and gradual disclosure.  [3]



3:13                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Then He went up the hill; and those whom He Himself chose He called, and they came to Him.

WEB:              He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him.

Young’s:         And he goeth up to the mountain, and doth call near whom he willed, and they went away to him;

Conte (RC):    And ascending onto a mountain, he called to himself those whom he willed, and they came to him.


3:13                 And He goeth up into a mountain.  Luke tells us that, after going up into the mountain, "he continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day he called unto him his disciples" (Luke 6:12-13).  [45]  

                        and calleth unto him whom He would [those He Himself wanted, NKJV].  No one was allowed without being especially called.  [24]

                        And they came unto Him.  The freedom of choice is made prominent.  [11]

It is apparent that all of the apostles had already been recognized by Him as among His disciples.  The calling of several of these has been narrated; and their presence with Him in His ministerial work, and that of others, constituting a company of attendant disciples, is frequently mentioned in the gospels.  But that any of these had been constant personal attendants from their first call is not probable.  It was from this company; now called to him on the mount, that He chose the twelve.  [45]



3:14                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     He appointed twelve of them, that they might be with Him, and that He might also send them to proclaim His Message,

WEB:              He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach,

Young’s:         and he appointed twelve, that they may be with him, and that he may send them forth to preach,

Conte (RC):    And he acted so that the twelve would be with him, and so that he might send them out to preach.


3:14                 And He ordained.  The Greek word means simply "made" or appointed," without reference to any ceremony setting them apart to office.  Yet, inasmuch as officers in the [Judaism] were formally ordained, and afterwards in the Christian church officers were set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer, it is highly probable that our Saviour inducted the apostles into office by some simple and impressive ceremony.  [45]

                        twelve.  The reason why twelve were chosen was, probably, that such a number would be deemed competent witnesses of what they saw; that so many could not be supposed to be [deceived]; that they could not be easily charged with being excited by sympathy or being deluded, as a multitude might; and that, being destined to go into all the world, a considerable number seemed indispensable.  Perhaps, also, there was some reference to the fact that twelve was the number of the tribes of Israel.  [42]

                        Compare the lists in Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 6:12-19; Acts 1:13.  Observe that the names in each list fall into three groups of four each; these groups are the same in all the lists and stand in the same order; only the order within the groups varies.  The four fishermen always constitute the first group, Peter always leading.  The second group begins with Philip, the third with James.  [44]

                        that they should be with Him.  Constant attendance upon Christ's ministry was not required of the other disciples, but the Apostles were to be fitted for their office by remaining with Him and enjoying private as well as public instruction.  [24]

                        This hints that they were first to be trained for their work.  [11]

                        And that He might send them forth to preach.  To follow is one thing.   But to go out on your own or with only one or a few others where you do not have your Leader to lean on—that is to take on a major responsibility above anything in the past.  In a very real sense this moves them from being secondary figures in the movement, only a little above others, to becoming “primary players.”  [rw] 



3:15                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     with authority to expel the demons.

WEB:              and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:

Young’s:         and to have power to heal the sicknesses, and to cast out the demons.

Conte (RC):    And he gave them authority to cure infirmities, and to cast out demons:


3:15                 And to have power.  This miraculous power is not to be regarded as independent and coordinate function of the apostolic office, but as subsidiary to the main one of preaching or proclaiming the Messiah's kingdom, both as an attestation of their message, and as a means of arousing attention and securing its reception.  As the twelve were to relieve their Master in His work of proclamation, so they were to be provided with the same means of authenticating and enforcing it which He employed Himself.  [3]

                        to heal sicknesses.    It appears that “to heal sicknesses” is probably an iterpolation here, but we know from the parallel passages that the words were spoken by Jesus, whether reported by Mark or not (cf. Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1).  [38]

                        and to cast out devils.  To have power over supernatural entities showed that they had been given both an honor and a status shared by no one else.  And after the recognition fully sunk in, surely a sense of awesome responsibility must have nervously emerged among these men who had been only “average folk” one day and now were to become something far more.  [rw]     



3:16                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     These twelve were Simon (to whom He gave the surname of Peter)

WEB:              Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter;

Young’s:         And he put on Simon the name Peter;

Conte (RC):    and he imposed on Simon the name Peter;


3:16                 And Simon he surnamed [gave the name, NKJV] Peter.   It is not asserted that this name was first given on this occasion.  Still the words of our Lord at His first meeting with Simon (John 1:42) were prophetic and Mark seems to have mentioned the name for the first time here because it was the first Apostolic name.  [11]

                        The new name did not wholly supersede the old one, as in the case of Saul and Paul (Acts 13:9) for we find the latter still employed by Christ Himself (Mark 14:37), as well as by the other Apostles (Luke 24:34; Acts 15:14).  Throughout the gospel of John (6:8, 68, etc.) and in the opening words of Peter's second epistle both names are combined.  [3]

                        Peter.   He was brought up in his father's occupation as a fisherman on the Galilean Lake, and lived originally at Bethsaida, and afterwards in a house at Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29).  His earliest call came to him through his brother Andrew (John 1:42).  His second call took place on the lake near Capernaum, where he [was] fishing.  He is specially prominent among the Apostles.  Sometimes he speaks in their name (Matthew 19:27; Luke 12:41); sometimes answers when all are addressed (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29); sometimes he is addressed as principal (Matthew 26:40; Luke 22:31); sometimes he is appealed to by others as representing the rest (Matthew 17:24; Acts 2:37).  After the ascension he assumes a position of special prominence (Acts 1:15; 2:14; 4:8; 5:29).  [8]



3:17                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     James the son of Zabdi and John the brother of James (these two He surnamed Boanerges, that is 'Sons of Thunder')

WEB:              James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder;

Young’s:         and James of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, and he put on them names -- Boanerges, that is, 'Sons of thunder;'

Conte (RC):    and also he imposed on James of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, the name 'Boanerges,' that is, 'Sons of Thunder;'


3:17                 And James . . . and John.   These two sons of Zebedee are named together in all the lists.  They, with Peter, were admitted into the most intimate relations with their Lord, their being permitted to witness the raising of the daughter of Jarius, the transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane, whilst all the others were excluded.  James was the first martyr among the twelve (Acts 12:2).  John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," outlived the rest and died a natural death at an advanced age.  [45]

                        James the son of Zebedee  (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40); a native of Bethsaida, commonly known as James "the Great;" the first of the Apostolic body to suffer martyrdom, and the only one of the twelve whose death is actually recorded in the New Testament [Acts 12:2].  [8] 

                        and John the brother of James.  The brother of James, who never in his Gospel calls himself by this name, but sometimes the disciple "whom Jesus           loved" (John 13:23; 19:26), sometimes "the other disciple" (John 18:15; 20:2-3).  To him Christ committed the care of His mother.  [8]

                        and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, the sons of thunder.   It is not known why this name was given to James and John.  They are nowhere else called by it.  Some suppose it was because they wised to call down fire from heaven and consume a certain village of the Samaritans (Luke 9:54).  It is, however, more probable that it was on account of something fervid and glowing and powerful in their genius and eloquence.  [42]

                        Or:  As exhibiting their basic attitude toward life:    This Epiteth has generally been explained as applied to them as powerful preachers, having altogether a future reference.  It seems, however, most natural that personal characteristics were indicated and that the figurative title conveys the idea of men bold and resolute, of great energy and indomitable will, as uncompromising in denouncing sin as an Elijah as a John the Baptist.  These characteristics, acknowledged by their Lord, in this honorable title, when perverted by natural human infirmity, were exhibited in intemperate zeal (9:38; Luke 9:54) and in unholy ambition (10:35-41); but when tempered by grace and sanctified by the Spirit, fitted them for the high place assigned them in advancing their Lord's kingdom.  The character of John has often been sadly perverted and represented as effeminate because the traits here indicated have been lost sight of.  But, although he writes more of love than any other inspired penman, love with him was not a poetic sentiment, but a burning passion, a living principle, consistent with the most marked energy and impetuosity.  [45]



3:18                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean,

WEB:              Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot;

Young’s:         and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananite,

Conte (RC):    and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite,


3:18                 And Andrew.   Like Philip, he bore a Greek name, but so did many Jews of his time.  Besides the account of his call and his inclusion in the lists of the apostles, nothing is said of Andrew in the Synoptics, except that, in Mark 13:3, he appears as one of the inner circle within the twelve, for he is one of the four who question Christ “privately” about the impending ruin of the temple.  --  Encyclopedia Biblica:  A Dictionary of the Bible (1899).

and Philip.  He was of Bethsida, was a disciple of the Baptist and was the first to whom Jesus said, "Follow me" (John 1:43-44).  The fact that Jesus "found" him on that occasion implies that He sought him and hence that he knew him before.  Philip appears three times in the Gospel of John (6:5-7; 12:21-22; 14:8-9) but not elsewhere.  His name, like that of Andrew, is a Greek name; and Philip and Andrew appear together at the coming of the "Greeks" to inquire about Jesus (John 12:21).  [23]

                        and Bartholomew.  Probably identical with Nathanael.  For (1)  John twice mentions Nathanael, never Bartholomew (John 1:45; 21:2); (2)  the other Evangelists all speak of Bartholomew, never of Nathanael; (3)  Philip first brought Nathanel to Jesus, and Bartholomew is mentioned by each of the Synoptic Evangelists immediately after Philip; (4)  John couples Philip with Nathanel precisely in the same way that Simon is coupled with his brother Andrew.  Respecting him, under the name of Nathanael, we learn from the Gospels little more than (a)  his birth place, Cana of Galilee (John 21:2);  (b) his simple, guileless character (John 1:47); and (c) that he was one of the seven to whom our Lord showed himself by the lake of Gennesaret after His resurrection (John 21:2).  [8]

                        and Matthew.  [His] previous vocation is recorded in 2:14 (Luke 5:27), where he is called Levi; but he calls himself Matthew, in describing that event, and in his list of the Apostles (10:3), adds "the publican," omitted by the others.  [3]

                        and Thomas.  Or Didymus = a twin (John 11:16; 21:2), was marked by a deep attachment to his Master and a readiness even to die with Him (John 11:16), but at the same time, by a tendency to despondency, which made him ever ready to distrust other evidence than that of His senses (John 14:5; 20:25).  He is named eight times in John's Gospel. [8]      

                        and James, the son of Alphaeus.  Or "James the Less," the son of Alphaeus (not, it is thought, the same Alphaeus who was the father of Matthew).  He was called "the Less," to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee.  He is probably a distinct person from James, the Lord's brother (Galatians 1:19), who was author of the Epistle which bears his name.  [8]

                        and Thaddaeus.  Called Lebbaeus in Matthew and Judas of James in Luke and Acts.  He appears in the Gospels only as "Judas not Iscariot," asking a question in John 14:22, and nothing more is known of him.  [23]

                        The two surnames Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus mean the same thing, “beloved child.”  [53]

                        and Simon the Canaanite.  The title ["Canaanite"] is somewhat obscure, but is probably to be interpreted by the parallel word in Luke and Acts, Simon the Zealot, Zelotes.  It comes from a Hebrew root which signifies "to be hot," and was undoubtedly the Aramaic equivalent for the Greek word Zelotes, which had been             in use since the time of the Maccabees to designate a sect or section of the Jews who were mot intensely devoted to the idea of nationality, and of God as the only sovereign whom it was right for Jews to obey, who had no fear of death or trouble in defense of their views, and who toward the end of the Jewish period became reckless and violent, even to the extent of crime (see Josephus, Antiquities 18.1).  About A.D. 6 they followed Judas of Galilee, who led a popular revolt and was regarded by many as the Messiah.  This Simon, of whom we know nothing more, had apparently been associated with this party.  The acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah by a man who had been associated with the followers of the fiery Judas is an interesting and significant fact.  [23]                           



3:19                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     and Judas Iscariot, the man who also betrayed Him.

WEB:              and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house.

Young’s:         and Judas Iscariot, who did also deliver him up; and they come into a house.

Conte (RC):    and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.


3:19                 and Judas Iscariot.  Iscariot is equivalent to the Hebrew Ish-Kerioth, Man of Kerioth.  His native city was in Judea (Joshua 15:25), from which district no other apostle was chosen so far as known.  [45] 

                        which also betrayed Him.  The choice of this man remains a part of the great mystery concerning God's sovereignty and man's free choice.  He is generally supposed to have been by nature the most gifted of the Twelve; but it is a mistake to suppose that the Twelve as a body were poor, ignorant or dull.  They had fair natural abilities, a teachable disposition, and the common religious education; some had been in the preparatory school of the Baptist; Peter and John were men of genius--especially the latter, as his Gospel abundantly proves; John possessed a house in Jerusalem, and was connected with the family of the high-priest.  [11]

                        and they went into an house.  This was quite a crowd in one household, when figuring in the family itself as well.  It argues that this was one of the larger houses in the community.  [rw]

Jesus' teaching implicitly warned Judas against the treachery that tempted him.  Many words of Jesus acquire new force and energy when we observe that, whatever their drift beside, they were plainly calculated to influence and warn Iscariot.  Such are the repeated and urgent warnings against covetousness, from the first parable, spoken so shortly after his vocation, which reckons the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things among the tares that choke the seed, down to the declaration that they who trust in riches shall hardly enter the kingdom.  Such are the denunciations against hypocrisy, spoken openly as in the Sermon on the Mount, or to His own part, as when He warned them of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy, that secret vice which was eating out the soul of one among them.  Such were the opportunities given to retreat without utter dishonour, as when He said,  "Do ye also will to go away? . . . Did I not choose you the Twelve and one of you is a devil?"  (John 6:67, 70)  Judas must have felt himself sternly because faithfully dealt with!  [46]



3:20                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And He went into a house. But again the crowd assembled, so that there was no opportunity for them even to snatch a meal.

WEB:              The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

Young’s:         And come together again doth a multitude, so that they are not able even to eat bread;

Conte (RC):    And they went to a house, and the crowd gathered together again, so much so that they were not even able to eat bread.


3:20                 And the multitude cometh together again.  This seems to refer to the same multitude that had come to Him from all the surrounding countries, before He went up to the mount (verses 7-8), and which He again met in the plain as He came down (Luke 6:17).  [45]

                        so that they could not so much as eat bread.  Had neither room nor opportunity to get food.  Their time and attention were so occupied, that they were obliged to forego their regular meals.  [24]



3:21                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Hearing of this, His relatives came to seize Him by force, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

WEB:              When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane."

Young’s:         and his friends having heard, went forth to lay hold on him, for they said that he was beside himself,

Conte (RC):    And when his own had heard of it, they went out to take hold of him. For they said: "Because he has gone mad."


3:21                 And when His friends [His own people, NKJV] heard of it.  It was the enemies of Christ that raised this report and His relatives, probably thinking that it was true, went to confine Him.  [21]

                        they went out to lay hold on Him.  To take control of Him.  They clearly believed He was not acting in a responsible or reasonable manner.  But, unknown to us is the answer to a different question:  how did they explain His miracles and demon exorcisms?  Should they expect even kin or fellow townspeople to act like others when He had such powers?  They wanted the best for Him, surely, but had not thought out the implications of what had been happening.  Or, perhaps, they had and that scared them even more?  [rw]                   

for they said, He is beside Himself [out of His mind, NKJV].  Insane--a conclusion from the excited life that He seemed to them to be living; perhaps the more plausible from the quietness and placidity of the years that He spent with them at Nazareth.  [23]

                        Let a Christian but neglect the care of his body for a time in striving to enter in at the strait gate; let a minister of Christ but impair his health by his pastoral labours; presently "he is distracted;"  he has  "not the least conduct nor discretion."  But let a man forget his soul, let him destroy his health by debauchery, let him expose his life through ambition and he may, notwithstanding, pass for a very “prudent” and “sensible” man!  [21]

                        An excuse rather than the true reason?    This implies neither actual insanity in a bad sense or religious enthusiasm and ecstasy, even to derangement in a good sense.  While an accusation of madness on the part of His relatives is neither impossible nor improbable so long as they were not true believers, it may have been a mere pretext.  As His enemies had, in all probability, said that He was possessed, His relatives from motives of policy may have adopted this modification of the charge to get Him away; with this, anxiety for His health may have entered as a motive.  The context favors the thought that the motive was policy resulting from want of faith though perhaps not from positive disbelief.  Yet even among these relatives there was probably a great variety of opinions regarding Him.  [11]



3:22                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     The Scribes, too, who had come down from Jerusalem said, "He has Baal-zebul in him; and it is by the power of the Prince of the demons that he expels the demons."

WEB:              The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul," and, "By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons."           

Young’s:         and the scribes who are from Jerusalem having come down, said -- 'He hath Beelzeboul,' and -- 'By the ruler of the demons he doth cast out the demons.'

Conte (RC):    And the scribes who had descended from Jerusalem said, "Because he has Beelzebub, and because by the prince of demons does he cast out demons."


3:22                 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem.  Mark thus defines the parties, while Matthew (12:23) states the occasion of the accusation.  [11]

                        said, He hath Beelzebub.  Or as the best manuscripts agree, "Beelzebul."  The name has been variously interpreted.  The name from which it came was Baal-ze-bub, "lord of flies," the god of the Philistines worshipped at Ekron (2 Kings 1:2) and consulted as an oracle.  The god was named, doubtless, from his supposed control over the swarms of flies and similar insects that torment the East.  After a time the Jews, thinking all heathen deities to be evil spirits, adopted this name as a title of the chief of evil spirits, but changed it by one letter, making Beelzebub into Beelzebul.  Some think that in this change they intentionally degraded and insulted it, even as a word, by turning it into a name which meant "long of dung" or "of the dunghill."  But others, apparently with better reason, make it mean "lord of the mansion" or "of the dwelling"--i.e., lord of the place in which evil spirits dwell or, substantially, "head of the family of evil spirits," he who rules them as a man rules his household.  This sense best suits the allusions in the New Testament. [23] 

                        the scribes . . . said . . . and, By the prince [ruler, NKJV] of the devils [demons, NKJV] casteth He out devils [demons, NKJV].  Mark that it distinctly admits His miracles.  It is not fashionable at present to attach much weight to the fact that none of Christ's enemies ever doubted these.  Of course the credence of men in an age which believed in the possibility of the supernatural is more easy and their testimony less cogent than that of a jury of twentieth-century scientific skeptics.  But the expectation of miracle had been dead for centuries when Christ came; and at first, at all events, no anticipation that He would work them made it easier to believe that He did.  It would have been a sure way of exploding His pretensions, if the officials could have shown that His miracles were tricks.  Not without weight is the attestation from the foe that “This man casteth out demons."  It witnesses to the inefficiency of explanations of Him which omit the supernatural.  [50]



3:23                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So He called them to Him, and using figurative language He appealed to them, saying, "How is it possible for Satan to expel Satan?

WEB:              He summoned them, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?

Young’s:         And, having called them near, in similes he said to them, 'How is the Adversary able to cast out the Adversary?

Conte (RC):    And having called them together, he spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan cast out Satan?


3:23                 And He called them unto Him and said unto them.  The scribes from Jerusalem.  The wonderful calmness and self-control of this reply cannot be too distinctly noticed in connection with the fearful charge that had just been brought against Him.  No more terrible accusation than this was possible; it was the direct charge of a positive and practical league with infernal powers.  [23]

                        in parables.  The word means comparisons, similitudes.  Our Lord's parables are usually fictitious or real narratives of greater or less length, in which religious truth is represented and illustrated.  Here we have three parables, which are brief comparisons, each included in a single sentence, and two of them illustrating the negation implied in the question, “How can Satan cast out Satan?”  [45]

                        How can Satan cast out Satan?  The Prince, if he should cast out the demons, his representatives who were doing his work, would be casting out himself.  This would be a contradiction.  [45]



3:24                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     For if civil war breaks out in a kingdom, nothing can make that kingdom last;

WEB:              If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Young’s:         and if a kingdom against itself be divided, that kingdom cannot be made to stand;

Conte (RC):    For if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom is not able to stand.


3:24                 And if a kingdom be divided against itself.  The assertion of the Pharisees assumed that there was “an organized kingdom of evil with a personal ruler."  Our Lord uses this assumption, as a terrible fact, which however proves the absurdity of the charge against Himself.  The point of the argument here is:  not that discords are always and at once fatal but that an organization which acts against itself, its own distinctive aims, must destroy itself.  [11]

                        The principle [in verses 24-26] is that no intelligent power works against itself and defeats its own purposes.  Observe what is here assumed:  it is assumed that the dominion of Satan is an intelligent dominion, with character and purposes; that the kingdom of evil is one intelligent kingdom, managed by one mind who knows what he is doing.  The individual spirits that torment men are not identified personally with Satan, but they are identified morally with him; so that their presence is his presence, and when they are cast out he is cast out.  [23]

                        that kingdom cannot stand.  One did not have to be a power broker or one who followed the politics of the day closely to grasp the common sense of this.  The potential success of any effort could be gutted by disunity within, as He proceeds to demonstrate (verse 25) by a more personal level application.  [rw]



3:25                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     and if a family splits into parties, that family cannot continue.

WEB:              If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Young’s:         and if a house against itself be divided, that house cannot be made to stand;

Conte (RC):    And if a house is divided against itself, that house is not able to stand.


3:25                 And if a house be divided against itself.  The same thing is true within a sphere still narrower, for instance, in a family or household, when not only "divided," i.e., composed of hostile and discordant members, but "divided against itself," i.e., arrayed as a whole or as a body against its own interest or existence.  [3]  

                        that house cannot stand.  Here He is surely referring to the “house” in the sense of “family,” either in the narrow husband-wife-children sense or in the extended family of relatives and dependents.  Furthermore the same principle could be demonstrated from the religious establishments of the day.  Is it unlikely that stories of ruined synagogues, torn apart not by the Romans but by internal bickering, were unknown to His audience? Or, more personally, were the Pharisees unaware of how internal cliques could undermine their own movement?  [rw] 



3:26                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So if Satan has risen in arms and has made war upon himself, stand he cannot, but meets his end.

WEB:              If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.

Young’s:         and if the Adversary did rise against himself, and hath been divided, he cannot be made to stand, but hath an end.

Conte (RC):    And if Satan has risen up against himself, he would be divided, and he would not be able to stand; instead he reaches the end.0


3:26                 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided.  What is true of a kingdom and a household among men is no less true of Satan.  [3]

                        he cannot stand, but hath an end.  i.e., ceases to be what he is; the supposition which His enemies advanced would, if fully carried out, argue Satan out of existence.  [11]

                        As He here presents the paradoxical idea of Satan as an individual divided into two, and one arrayed against the other, we may safely infer that this very paradox was meant to be the point of his whole argument.  If they had said, "Neither man nor devil can be thus divided so as to make war upon himself," He might have answered, "How absurd then upon your part to allege such a division, by accusing Me of being in alliance with My opposite!"  [3]



3:27                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Nay, no one can go into a strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

WEB:              But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.

Young’s:         'No one is able the vessels of the strong man -- having entered into his house -- to spoil, if first he may not bind the strong man, and then his house he will spoil.

Conte (RC):    No one is able to plunder the goods of a strong man, having entered into the house, unless he first binds the strong man, and then he shall plunder his house.


3:27                 No man can enter into a strong man's house.  When a rich man, able to protect his goods, is robbed, no one imagines he has robbed himself, but everyone regards it as the work, not only of an enemy, but also of an enemy superior in power.  [3]

                        and spoil his goods [plunder his house, NKJV].   This parable gives the true inference from what Jesus had done.  The robber could not “spoil,"  i.e., pillage, rob the strong man's house, till first he had bound him.  The bringing forth of the goods would be proof that the strong man was bound.  So in the case under discussion.   Jesus had despoiled Satan of his possessions in the suffering demoniacs, whom he ruled with torturing tyranny; He must, then, first have bound Satan.  The prince of this would was cast out and judged (John 12:31; 16:11).  The serpent's head was bruised (Genesis 3:15).  This is the inference which these accusers ought to have drawn.  [45]

                        except [unless, NKJV] he will first bind the strong man.  No one wants their possessions stolen and will do all they can to stop it.  How the “strong man” in the illustration is neutralized long enough to bind him is not mentioned and, actually, is irrelevant.  Only the fact that it is successfully accomplished permits what comes next.  [rw]

and then he will spoil his house [plunder his house, NKJV].  It is a little startling to find Jesus comparing Himself to a thief, but like in the parables, the illustration is given to portray an underlying truth and not always to endorse every element in the story.  [rw]



3:28                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     In solemn truth I tell you that all their sins may be pardoned to the sons of men, and all their blasphemies, however they may have blasphemed;

WEB:              Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme;

Young’s:         'Verily I say to you, that all the sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and evil speakings with which they might speak evil,

Conte (RC):    Amen I say to you, that all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and the blasphemies by which they will have blasphemed.


3:28                 Verily [Assuredly, NKJV], I say unto you.  A formula by which Jesus introduced matters of solemn weight.   [45]

                        all sins shall be forgiven.  All other sins are pardonable, coming within the bounds of God's mercy.  [45]     

                        The ground, method and conditions of forgiveness are not stated because not here called for.  [45]

                        unto the sons of men.  i.e., this applies to the entire human race and not just some selected few.  If one does not take advantage of the opportunity for forgiveness, that is an individual’s fault; God has done His part by providing it.  [rw]

                        and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.  The evils, insults, vulgarities one throws at others, religion, and even God.  If you can do it, God can forgive it.  Example:  The forgiveness of Saul of Tarsus.  [rw]



3:29                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, he remains for ever unabsolved: he is guilty of a sin of the Ages."

WEB:              but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"

Young’s:         but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment;'

Conte (RC):    But he who will have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit shall not have forgiveness in eternity; instead he shall be guilty of an eternal offense."


3:29                 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost [Spirit, NKJV].  Since the context concerns Jesus’ ability to cast out demons, this must imply a connection between the Spirit’s actions and Jesus’ success.  His critics claimed He was casting out demons by the power of the Devil (verses 22-23, 26); hence He seems to be claiming to do it by the power of the Divine Spirit instead.  [rw]  

hath never forgiveness.  The natural meaning of these words is not simply a sin the consequences of which continue forever, but one which itself lasts forever, and this is probably what Jesus meant--a sinful attitude of heart toward the Spirit of God which is fixed and will continue always.  And this explains why this sin (and this only) can never be forgiven.  A holy God can never cease to disapprove and be displeased with one who is still in sin.  [35]

                        but is in danger of [subject to, NKJV].  The Greek word is stronger [than the KJV rendering "in danger of"], meaning primarily, held fast, found.  Although not now suffering the penalty, the condemnation holds him, so that there is no escape.  [45]

                        eternal damnation [condemnation, NKJV].  As virtually every imaginable generalization has an exception at some point or another, the unlimited Divine offer of forgiveness does as well—attributing God’s actions to that of the Devil.  [rw]     



3:30                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     This was because they said, "He is possessed by a foul spirit."

WEB:              --because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."

Young’s:         because they said, 'He hath an unclean spirit.'

Conte (RC):    For they said: "He has an unclean spirit."


3:30                 Because they said.  This does not necessarily define the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but certainly indicates its character.  Even if these accusers had not committed it, their language tended in that direction.  They had attributed to an evil spirit what was the work of the Holy Spirit, that too in presence of sufficient evidence of its true character.  This verse, however, is the strongest support of that view of the sin against the Holy Spirit which regards it as a particular sin, that of deliberately, persistently, and maliciously, in the presence of proper evidence, attributing the works of Christ (whether of physical healing or spiritual deliverance) to diabolical agency, instead of acknowledging the Holy Spirit as the Agent.  The accusation of the Pharisees, in this instance, may have been such a sin.  [11]

                        No man will commit this sin until the sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, had become utterly perverted.  [23]

                        He hath an unclean spirit.  i.e., to make possible His miracles.  If you can’t deny it happened, you deny that it really proves anything by maligning the power that made it possible.  [rw]



3:31                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     By this time His mother and His brothers arrive, and standing outside they send a message to Him to call Him.

WEB:              His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.

Young’s:         Then come do his brethren and mother, and standing without, they sent unto him, calling him,

Conte (RC):    And his mother and brothers arrived. And standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.


3:31                 There came then His brethren [brothers, NKJV].  Mark has placed the brothers first in order, implying that the brothers made the first move in seeking Him, and the mother followed them.  There is a similar account to be given for the order of the words in Numbers 12:1, 10, where Miriam, being the more prominent of the two in opposing Moses, is placed before Aaron.  [16] 

                        and His mother.  Mary, apparently wavering in her allegiance.  [27]

                        In the passage before us, the connection of  "mother"  with "brethren" in verses 31, 32, 33 and the three words placed together with emphasis in the singular, "my mother, and sister, and brother"  favour their being real brothers of our Lord.  [45]

                        and standing without [outside, NKJV].  Either outside of the house or beyond the circle of His hearers in the open air.  [3]

                        sent unto Him.  No doubt by passing the message from man to man until it reached Him, which they could not do themselves from the extent and pressure of the crowd.  [3]     

                        calling Him.  [This] might appear to be a peremptory summons, but for the milder statement of Luke (8:20), that they wished to see Him, and of Matthew (12:46-47), that they sought to speak to Him.  This last evangelist connects the incident expressly with the same discourse that here precedes it, but with a part of that discourse which mark has not reported, and which Luke gives in a different connection (11:24-36).  [3]   



3:32                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Now a crowd was sitting round Him; so they tell Him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, inquiring for you."

WEB:              A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you."

Young’s:         and a multitude was sitting about him, and they said to him, 'Lo, thy mother and thy brethren without do seek thee.'

Conte (RC):    And the crowd was sitting around him. And they said to him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you."


3:32                 And the multitude.   [Hence] His mother and brethren were prevented from approaching Him through the crowded house.  They would naturally, too, prefer a private interview with Him.  [45]

                        sat about Him.  He was still in the house (verses 19, 31) and the people were seated around Him so compactly that no one could pass through.  All the available space within hearing distance was packed with the quiet throng.  When some one, perhaps a person near the door, spoke out and say, “Thy mother and thy brethren without seek thee,” the people may have expected Him to go, and they may have thought that was His duty to go.  [38]

                        and they said unto Him.  They accepted at face valuey the claim to be His family.  After all, they had no reason to deny it.  And not knowing the real motive, had no reason to sabotage their effort by not passing along the request.  [rw]

                        Behold, thy mother.  Her presence could mean either of two things:  (1)  She approved of what was going to happen and as mother had the best chance of persuading Jesus on the basis of her moral authority as parent.  This presupposes a certain lack of faith in her Son or fear of the power of His enemies.  The miraculous birth was now c. 30 years in the past and, barring the apocryphal gospels, there is no reason to believe there had been any further supernatural manifestations. 

(2)  This was a scheme of Jesus’ brothers and she was there to keep the situation from getting out of hand.  Her presence might argue not a possible weakening of faith in His destiny, but a concern for the other brothers if they got Jesus good and mad.  [rw]    

and thy brethren without seek for thee.  The request sounds quite innocent.  But they came to drag Him away from His mission.  Having various of His brothers with them gave them the physical “muscle” to do so.  Were the listeners going to defy His closest kin?  The odds were at least 50-50 they would succeed.  Their intent—if necessary--to involuntarily remove Him may explain the lack of mention of His “sisters.”  This was the proverbial “men’s work”—to have the physical strength available to deal with such resistance.  [rw]       



3:33                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "Who are my mother and my brothers?" He replied.

WEB:              He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"

Young’s:         And he answered them, saying, 'Who is my mother, or my brethren?'

Conte (RC):    And responding to them, he said, "Who is my mother and my brothers?"


3:33                 And He answered them.  His not acting on the news would seem odd and inevitably raise the question of “why.”  He justifies His inaction on the grounds that He now has a bigger family and He is already among them.  [rw]

saying, Who is my mother or my brethren?  This language is not to be interpreted as implying that Jesus thought lightly of His earthly relationships and spoke slightingly of His mother and His brethren.  The works themselves could convey no such idea unless uttered in a contemptuous tone.  [45]



3:34                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And, fixing His eyes on the people who were sitting round Him in a circle, He said,

WEB:              Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!

Young’s:         And having looked round in a circle to those sitting about him, he saith, 'Lo, my mother and my brethren!

Conte (RC):    And looking around at those who were sitting all around him, he said: "Behold, my mother and my brothers.


3:34                 And He looked round about on them which sat about Him.  Mark has again preserved what we may suppose belonged to Peter's recollection of the scene--the impressive look and action of Jesus, not noted by the other evangelists.  See verse 5.  [45]

                        and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  Knowing that his physical kin are outside, everyone in the audience is well aware that he is using the expression in an accommodative sense.  Similarly when Jesus instituted the Communion and referred to the bread as His “flesh” and the fruit of the vine as His “blood,” they could see Him right there in front of them—and know that He had to be using the language in an accommodative sense.  [rw] 



3:35                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "Here are my mother and my brothers. For wherever there is one who has been obedient to God, there is my brother--my sister--and my mother."

WEB:              For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."

Young’s:         for whoever may do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.'

Conte (RC):    For whoever has done the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister and mother."


3:35                 For whosoever.  Not the whole assembly lay before Him had this high honour, but only those who did the will of God.  [45]

                        shall do the will of God.  The parallel words of Matthew (12:50) are “the will of my Father which is in heaven.”  [8]

                        The center of His true kindred is not the mother, the brother, or the sisters, but the Father.  [23]

the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.  Strange, that in the face of such plain declarations, the Rom[an Catholic] church should exalt His mother Mary above all creatures and even pray to her!  [19]

                        Our Lord did not speak thus as denying His human relationship; as though He was not “very man” but a mere "phantom,” as some early heretics taught; and still less as though He was ashamed of His earthly relationships; but partly because the messengers too boldly and inconsiderately interrupted Him while He was teaching; and chiefly that He might show that His heavenly Father's business was more to Him that the affection of His earthly mother, greatly as He valued it.  [39]