The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 3B

Chapter 3:7-12

Next lesson

  • We will begin by reading the scripture for tonight as our section of text will lead us into a summary over what we have witnessed thus far in our study to-date.

    • The text tonight will be a bit of a transitioning and summarizing point regarding Jesus’ ministry, as we will see next week, that leads to the selection of the twelve Apostles.

      • However, tonight, Mark will take time to reflect on what events lead Jesus to this moment.

      • So with that being said, pick me up at Mark 3:7-12.

Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and also from Judea, 
Mark 3:8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon, a great number of people heard of all that He was doing and came to Him. 
Mark 3:9 And He told His disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they would not crowd Him; 
Mark 3:10 for He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed around Him in order to touch Him. 
Mark 3:11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!” 
Mark 3:12 And He earnestly warned them not to tell who He was.
  • Let’s pray.

  • In previous teachings, I made mention that Mark’s gospel account is one of brevity.

    • The way in which it is structured is like short summary snippets that contain what I would consider a “big picture” focus (similar to Cliff notes).

      • For Mark’s audience, who are primarily Roman believers in the midst of oppression from Nero, there is no time for lengthy, drawn out details.

      • Rather, there is a need for a large summary format that crystalizes the centrality and authority of Christ and His work.

    • One could compare Mark’s gospel to that of a movie trailer.

      • It provides short clips of action packed information that further draws the reader into greater desire of God’s gospel, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:15)

    • The objective of a movie trailer is quite simple.

      • It is to capture the attention of its audience in an effort to draw them to the actual movie.

      • The trailer does not provide the full experience of the picture, it simply provides glimmers of anticipation which leads to full enjoyment in the experience.

    • If we were to imagine for a moment: thus far in our study, we have experienced several “trailers” or glimpses of the fullness of Jesus’ person and work.

      • Each trailer provides us with yet another dimension of Jesus’ authority, power to heal, exorcise demons, etc.

      • So, it provides both the reader then and the reader now with these glimpses of glory of our Great God while experiencing His humanity.

    • It will be here in Mark 3:7-12 that Mark provides a bit of a parenthetical pause to reflect on the growing influence and greatness of Jesus’ ministry.

      • This pause in the passage gives way to some growing conflict and adversity that Jesus faces which lands us where we left off last week.

    • At this point in our teaching, I want to do what we’ll call a “textual recap” of what we have discovered about Jesus’ ministry, person, and work thus far.

      • If you recall, we began with what I’d call our thesis statement for this gospel found in Mark 1:1.

    • Mark explains at the top of this gospel account that this very gospel begins with one man.

      • It begins with the God-man. The Son of God whose name is Jesus Christ.

    • We learned that this reality of Jesus as the Son of God was not just a New Testament phenomenon.

      • Jesus Christ as the Son of God is a matter of eternality.

      • Christ has always existed and has always been and forever will be.

John 17:5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
    • He was with the Father from the very beginning. (John 1:1-4,14).

    • Jesus being the very incarnational reality of the very Word of God was always a part of God’s redemptive plan regarding salvation for men and women.

      • Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us this way:

Hebrews 1:1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 
Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
  • Mark proves this by providing a combined quotation mainly rooted in the book of Isaiah of Messiah’s coming within the Hebrew scriptures (Mark 1:2-3).

    • It was in Isaiah that the prophet mentioned by the power of the Holy Spirit that there would be a forerunner of the Messiah.

    • We then found out that immediately after that excerpt, that John the Baptist was the one in whom the prophet had foretold would be the forerunner of Messiah.

      • John the Baptist comes on the scene and begins to proclaim the very message the Father gives which is “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.”

      • This message began to grasp the attention of many in the surrounding areas as many came to be baptized to accept whoever John pointed to as the promised Messiah (v. 7-12).

    • It is then in Mark 1:9 that Jesus arrives on the scene and is baptized by John.

      • And John receives both a verbal and visual confirmation that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah.

    • At this point, Jesus is thrust into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted, ultimately proving that He is the perfect, spotless, God-man.

      • It is after Jesus leaves the wilderness that His ministry would begin to come forth, more specifically, after the arrest of John the Baptist.

    • This becomes a kairotic (exact) moment within the redemptive timetable as Jesus’ teaching ministry lifts off.

      • From this point, Jesus begins the recruitment of His first hand pick of what will soon become His Apostles.

    • As Jesus’ ministry continues to gather some recognition, it becomes more appealing to others in the synagogue as He teaches with authority like no other.

      • This appeal of authority accompanied with demonic exorcisms began what Peter would consider as the “bread and butter” of Jesus’ ministry.

    • All of these works that Jesus begins to do leads to other opportunities of healing others and meeting needs by way of compassion.

      • And it would be through these healings that the religious leaders would move from their observant state to a more interrogative state.

    • This reality is further realized in Mark 1:40 where the first Messianic miracle is performed.

      • Jesus heals a Jewish leper.

    • And as one could imagine, news of this magnitude began to spread like wildfire.

      • If that healing wasn’t enough, Jesus continues in His healing crusade by healing a paralytic man at Peter’s home.

      • This scene, as you can recall, was quite intriguing because Jesus speaks first to the spiritual needs of the man and not his physical needs.

    • Ultimately, outlining that Jesus’ coming was meant to provide the way for men to first be made right with God rather than being made right physically to benefit self.

      • It is these rising actions in the text that leads to Jesus becoming the target of more incessant investigation and aggravation.

    • And as all of this continues to grow, Jesus continues to hand pick men to follow Him.

      • These men, as mentioned before, are not scholarly in the least bit.

      • Rather, these men are ordinary fishermen, tax collectors, and the like.

    • In other words, Jesus is not willing nor wanting to look for men that feel qualified in the sense of their works.

      • But, He rather takes men who are nothing in the eyes of society and makes them something by His power and by His authority.

1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
    • We will see this in much more detail next week.

    • Towards the end of Mark 2, Jesus begins to push the envelope in direct opposition to the religious leaders.

      • Jesus brings to light the goal of the Sabbath versus the traditions of men.

      • In Mark 2:27, Jesus makes the jaw dropping statement that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    • We now arrive to where we left off from last week in Mark 3:1-6.

      • This is where Jesus’ demonstration of what it means to be Lord of the Sabbath became the primary cause of conspiring to end Jesus’ life.

    • It would be because of the growing hardness of hearts from the Pharisees, that they would include the Herodians into their plan to “destroy” Jesus.

      • We made mention last week that up to this point the Herodians were not mentioned by Mark.

      • When Jesus and His growing influence in the region was made known, to the point that it impacted social and political matters, it became the Herodians’ problem as well.

    • Jesus’ teachings, influence, authority, and power was becoming all the more gravitational, and from the looks of it there was no stopping His mission.

      • The only way in which this could be done was to kill the emerging, yet eternal existing King.

    • If there was to be a section of our current study thus far that would summarize the growing frustration and consternation of the Pharisees, it would be Mark 2:21-22.

      • This is how it reads:

Mark 2:21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 
Mark 2:22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
  • This new way that Jesus was proclaiming, teaching, and demonstrating confronted and exposed Pharisaical Judaism and false religion square in the face.

    • And would pave the way for the New Covenant, or New Era, and would cause the shadow of the old covenant to pass away and be fulfilled.

    • Salvation would not be through means of having to constantly sacrifice.

      • It wouldn’t be through empty righteous deeds.

      • Nor would it be through pride and arrogance.

    • But it would be provided through, in, and by the Suffering Servant and King – Jesus Christ dying once and for all and placing upon us His divine righteousness.

      • The response from the Jewish religious leaders and the Herodians would be a foretelling of what would lie ahead for Jesus; and that was death.

    • But, despite the conflict and controversy amongst the Herodians and Pharisees, Jesus’ ministry continues to increase in following.

      • Check out how much growth Jesus’ ministry experienced in verse 7-8.

Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a large multitude from Galilee followed, and also from Judea, 
Mark 3:8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon, a great number of people heard about everything that He was doing and came to Him. 
  • It is after Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees in the synagogue regarding the matters of healing on the Sabbath, that Mark tells us that Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples.

    • However, Jesus withdrawing does not come without the immense following of men and women from throughout the region.

      • The text mentions to us that “a large multitude” from several regions are in the company of Christ.

    • From the location of the synagogue to the Sea of Galilee, scripture does not provide details on travel time or from what direction Jesus is coming from.

      • Nor is Mark’s focus here on which synagogue Jesus is coming from, but rather the locations of where people are coming from in their efforts to follow Jesus.

    • Two things become evidently clear thus far in our study:

      • 1. Jesus’ ministry has become a threat to both the religious and political leaders.

      • 2. Jesus’ ministry following has not been stifled despite the combative efforts of the Pharisees and scribes of the Pharisees.

    • As we witnessed from last week’s teaching, Jesus’ reasoning for withdrawing back to the Sea of Galilee was not of His own prerogative.

      • It was in Mark 3:6 that we saw the very reasoning for His withdrawal.

      • Check out the text.

Mark 3:6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might put Him to death.
  • It only makes sense that if one’s life is in grave danger that to prevent a premature killing, you would withdraw to a safer area.

    • And in this case that area was the Sea of Galilee, close to the town where He is headquartered.

    • What becomes of great encouragement here in the text is that although the pressure is on regarding the mission, the ministry of Christ still goes forth.

      • What may look to be a withdrawal from the pressure of external parties, upon the furtherance of the Gospel of God, became an expansion of the message.

    • The question can become “Just how far reaching has Jesus’ ministry become at this point in His ministry?”

      • Mark 3:7b into verse 8 gives us a look into the areas in which Jesus’ ministry has spread by word of mouth.

    • Here are the areas of ministerial impact which has lead to such a large following:

      • Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon.

      • Here is a map so that you can see the widespread impact of Jesus’ ministry. (Refer to slides)

    • As you can see, you would typically have Jews coming from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.

      • Then you would have a mix of Jews and Gentiles from Idumaea. This was the homeland of Herod the Great.

      • It is also to be noted that Idumaea played an important role in the military conflicts of the Second Temple period.

      • The text also mentions beyond the Jordan.

    • This region according to our map would put East of the Jordan river to be a region known as Perea – which was another mixed area of both Jew and Gentile.

      • This area was also most notably known to be ruled under Herod Antipas.

    • Lastly, the text mentions the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon which is located North West in the region known as Phoenicia.

      • This area was a strictly Gentile area.

    • So, here we have a mixture of: strictly Jewish, an area with Jews and Gentiles together, and then an area explicitly for Gentiles.

      • Why would Mark and the gospel writers include these particular regions according to their populations and in this specific order?

    • Well, we are able to see our answer a bit more clearly in Matthew’s gospel regarding what God is redemptively at work doing.

      • Check out Matthew 12:15-21:

Matthew 12:15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 
Matthew 12:16 and warned them not to tell who He was. 
Matthew 12:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
Matthew 12:18 “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
Matthew 12:19 “He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
Matthew 12:20 “A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
Matthew 12:21 “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”
  • Matthew’s gospel provides a shift in this Kingdom proclamation by quoting from Isaiah 42, which foretold the Messiah’s rejection.

    • It moves from Jesus proclaiming who He is and the Kingdom that He has come to bring, to now becoming a Kingdom program to roll out.

    • And Matthew’s gospel mentions that the program will move forward without Israel for a time and commence with the Gentiles.

    • Remember, the gospel was first given to the Jew, but yet we are seeing “nationally” it was rejected by the leaders for a time.

      • This eventually led to what we now know as the “Age of the Gentiles” or the “Church Age” which we see in the Book of Acts.

    • Here is the beautiful thing, Israel was not going to be forsaken for their rejection because the Messiah will win them over in His timing.

      • Within Isaiah 42, he uses two euphemisms to explain Messiah’s grace and mercy to Israel.

      • Notice verse 20 he says the Messiah wouldn’t break off a battered reed nor would Messiah put out a smoldering wick.

    • Both phrases refer to making something out of nothing.

      • Notice, that a battered reed is useless just as much as a smoldering wick is. Both would naturally be given up on and replaced.

      • This would be what some would have assumed would be the case, however, Isaiah says Messiah will make something out of nothing.

    • Just as Jesus will bring the light to the Gentiles and make them His people, He will do the same for the chosen people of Israel.

      • If you don’t see it by now, this is the very demonstration of grace and compassion that the religious leaders could not understand.

      • But yet, Jesus representing both Israel and humanity overall demonstrates grace and compassion towards the least of us all.

    • This, friends, is grace redemptively realized!

      • So, these regions in which Mark describes is a foretelling of not just how far word about Jesus has spread.

      • But, it will also show how far Jesus will go to redeem those in whom the Father has called and that reach goes beyond the Jew.

    • It is through Jesus’ amazing acts of power, teaching with authority, and healings that has drawn so many people.

    • If you haven’t been walking with us though Mark’s Gospel thus far, you might be asking “What could possibly stir up such interest regarding the desire to follow Jesus?”

      • Here are just a few things that we have witnessed in our study thus far.

        • 1. Mark 1:21-28, Jesus teaches like one with authority. The way in which He explains the scriptures is like none the people have heard.

          • In those same verses, Jesus exorcizes a demon out of a man therefore exhibiting His authority and Power over the demonic realm.

        • 2. Mark 1:29-24, Jesus not only heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law from a chronic illness, but He continues healing those who are sick and demon possessed.

        • 3. Mark 1:39, We witness Jesus continuing to heal those who are demon possessed as He continues to share the Gospel of God with the people.

        • 4. Mark 1:40-45, Jesus heals a Jewish Leper, which had never been done before as this was the first demonstrated Messianic Miracle.

        • 5. Mark 2:1-11, Jesus heals a Paralytic man who has been carried to Peter’s home by four men.

        • 6. Mark 3:1-6, Jesus heals the man with a withered/dried up hand on the Sabbath, which stirred up the anger of the religious leaders of that day.

    • So, as you can imagine, as word-of-mouth travels fast, Jesus’ whereabouts would be of primary importance, especially for those who are physically in need.

    • Although a part of Jesus’ ministry contained healings and exorcizing demons, it was not the “bread and butter” (purpose) of His ministry.

      • You may recall from Jesus and Peter’s brief exchange in the wilderness where Jesus went out to pray in Mark 1:35-39.

      • Peter and the earliest recruited disciples are exhausted after looking around for Jesus as He has withdrawn to pray to the Father.

    • At that time, Peter believed that Jesus was wasting His time praying as this unique opportunity of growth was emerging in Jesus’ ministry.

      • To Peter, the purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to focus on the healings, exorcisms, and the like.

      • However, Jesus reminds Peter what is of the utmost importance and that is “Preaching the Gospel of God”

      • For Jesus declares in verse 38 of Mark Chapter 1 “…for that is why I came out…”

    • Jesus’ message of “why He has come” is asserted as more important than “what He can do”.

      • And here is where we discover a pertinent question: “What is one’s cause for following Christ?”

      • The deeper question is “What truly distinguishes a true believer from someone moved by an emotional response?”

    • The issue that we face in the “Big C” church today is we believe that everyone who attends a church service is saved.

      • We tend to equate church attendance with being true followers of Jesus.

      • However, that quantitative number can equally reflect people who simply want to know Jesus for what He can do for them.

    • For some, Jesus is merely a genie in whom they solicit help or advice because of His great teaching yet they refuse to recognize Him as Lord and King.

      • But for those in whom the Lord calls, it is an unwavering drawing to the King.

      • We will see this reality more in next week’s teaching.

    • So, as this large following of people follow Christ, there are some who are following Him because they believe His message and there are some that see what He can do.

      • To better articulate how many people are following Jesus, the next few verses will paint a quantitative picture.

      • Check out verses 9-10.

Mark 3:9 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; 
Mark 3:10 for He had healed many, with the result that all those who had diseases pushed in around Him in order to touch Him. 
  • Mark’s account makes it apparent from the previous verses that the multitudes that are coming to be healed, whether for physical ailments or relief from demonic torture, have great need.

    • The crowd here in the text becomes a barrier of sorts for those who are in need versus those who are simply spectating.

      • This may sound a bit familiar. We witnessed this same issue with the paralyzed man in the last chapter.

      • There was an issue regarding a great need that was being impeded by a great crowd.

    • The only resolve here in this case was for Jesus to get on a boat so that He was not physically overwhelmed and crowded.

      • This type of boat was not a typical boat used to gather fish or the catch of the day.

      • The Greek word for boat here is ploiarion (plu-air-rion). It is a small boat or a skiff. This type of boat would be similar to that of a rowboat.

    • In order to better grasp the intense sense of crowding that was happening that would cause Jesus to get on a boat, we need to look at the Greek language.

      • This sense of crowding is beyond waiting in line at the theme park and being surrounded by people packed in the lines like sardines.

      • No, the word for crowd here in Greek is thlibo which means pressing or crushing.

      • “Falling upon” is the weight in which this word carries.

    • There is a desperate need waiting to be met from a multitude of people.

      • Understand, however, that this pressing and sense of desperation is not a demonstration of faith but rather a need of relief from the pain people are in.

    • One could almost sense the need for help that Jesus would have needed in His humanity to take care of this multitude of needs.

      • I find it interesting that a few verses later, in verse 13, that Jesus selects 12 men who will be His apostles.

      • The leadership of this Kingdom program would need to expand beyond just Jesus.

    • Jesus would be the object of attention and affection. He would be the chief leader over what would eventually be the church.

      • These men would need to be commissioned to do the work of ministry.

    • This Kingdom program would require participation and not spectating.

      • And might this be the problem with the “Big C” church today?

      • That very few want to participate while others simply spectate from the sidelines.

      • You did not get saved to sit. You got saved to be sent.

    • As the demand for relief and needs to be met grows, it will require leadership to be shared.

      • Let's keep moving. Notice in verses 11-12 that we see, again, another run in with more unclean spirits.

Mark 3:11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!” 
Mark 3:12 And He strongly warned them not to reveal who He was.
  • Remember that demonic spirits inhabiting men and women in that time was not unfamiliar.

    • We witnessed Jesus’ handling of this situation the first time in the synagogue in Mark 1:21-28.

      • Not only did Jesus demonstrate His authority in His teaching, but He demonstrated His authority over the demonic realm.

    • What we dove into a bit further was the reality that the demons knew exactly who Jesus was.

      • After the demonic spirits saw the very authority and power that Jesus demonstrated to the people regarding His person, the demons recognized Him.

      • And for some people, the question could be “Why would the demons recognize Jesus before the people did?”

    • Well, simply put, the demons witnessed the very glory and splendor of the pre-incarnate Christ in the presence of the Father before their fall to earth due to rebellion against God.

      • Those demonic spirits understood that standing before them was the second person of the Trinity and that He was fulfilling the very word of God.

      • There was true fear they displayed. James 2:19 tells us this:

James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
  • This is why the statement that the demonic spirit made in Mark 1 was so key to understand.

    • Mark 1:24 states these very words:

Mark 1:24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!
  • The unclean spirits knew that Jesus has the authority to destroy them once and for all, however Jesus, like before, commands them to say nothing.

    • And we see a similar response here in our scriptures tonight.

    • Jesus’ rebuke of the unclean spirits and forbidding them to speak yet again demonstrates His divine authority over the demonic realm.

    • Although the unclean spirits knew the truth about Jesus, their testimony was of no credit to Jesus’ person or mission.

      • Unclean spirits are in no way good character witnesses.

    • What becomes an interesting take away from this tonight is that although the demons recognized Jesus’ authority as God, those in whom Jesus is interacting with don’t see it yet.

      • They see the miracles, they see the authority, they see the demonstration of His power, but they don’t see Him as Messiah.

      • And what is key to recognize is those in whom Jesus has called to Himself don’t see it yet either.

    • It’s like my mom used to say when I would look for things in the pantry.

      • The item could very well be before me, but I would always miss it.

      • In her words, “If it was a snake, it would have bit you!”

    • As Jesus’ disciples continue to follow Him, we will see that what is concealed, for a time to others, will be discussed in detail with the apostles.

      • For they will ultimately come to the realization that the man they have been walking with all this time was God Himself.

      • And this is the evidence that you too receive tonight. Jesus proves Himself time and time again.

    • And now we have timeless, historical documentation that points to this truth!

    • Next week we will see that God’s sovereign calling of His children requires an active, inward working that brings us to full knowledge of Him and His handiwork.

      • It requires a sovereign election, a divine illumination, and participatory transformation.

      • I pray you join us next week as we explore Mark 3:13-19.



  • Andrew J. Kelley, “Idumea,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).