Mark



by Ken Cayce



Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Mark Explained





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Book of Mark Explained

Title: Mark, for whom this gospel is named, was a close companion of the Apostle Peter and a recurring character in the book of Acts, where he is known as "John who was also called Mark" (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37, 39). It was to John Mark's mother's home in Jerusalem that Peter went when released from prison (Acts 12:12).


John Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on Pauls' first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5). But he deserted on the way in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Acts. 13:13). When Barnabas wanted Paul to take John Mark on the second missionary journey, Paul refused. The friction which resulted between Paul and Barnabas led to their separation (Acts 15:38-40).


But John Mark's earlier vacillation evidently gave way to great strength and maturity, and in time he proved himself even to the Apostle Paul. When Paul wrote the Colossians, he instructed them that if John Mark came, they were to welcome him (Col. 4:10). Paul even listed Mark as a fellow worker (Philemon 24). Later, Paul told Timothy to "Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service" (2 Tim. 4:11).


John Mark's restoration to useful ministry may have been, in part, due to the ministry of Peter. Peter's close relationship with Mark is evident from his description of him as "my son, Mark" (1 Peter 5:13). Peter, of course, was no stranger to failure himself, and his influence on the younger man was no doubt instrumental in helping him out of the instability of his youth and into the strength and maturity he would need for the work to which God had called him.


Author - Date: Ancient testimony names John Mark as the writer. Few have challenged this tradition; none has done so persuasively. The gospel itself may contain a cryptic allusion to its author (14:51-52), but no name is given. In Scripture Mark sometimes goes by the name John alone (Acts 13:5, 13; 15:37), sometimes by Mark alone (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 41; Philem. 24; 1 Pet. 5:13), and twice by both names (Acts 12:12). He was the son of Mary, a woman of some means in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).


Unlike the epistles, the gospels do not name their authors. The early church fathers, however, unanimously affirm that Mark wrote this second gospel. Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, writing about A.D. 140, noted:


And the presbyter "the Apostle John", said this: Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instruction to the necessities (of his hearers), but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements (From the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord (6).


Justin Martyr, writing about A.D. 150, referred to the Gospel of Mark as "the memoirs of Peter", and suggested that Mark committed his gospel to writing while in Italy. This agrees with the uniform voice of early tradition, which regarded this gospel as having been written in Rome, for the benefit of Roman Christians. Irenaeus, writing about A.D. 185, called Mark "the disciple and interpreter of Peter", and recorded that the second gospel consisted of what Peter preached about Christ. The testimony of the church fathers differs as to whether this gospel was written before or after Peter's death (ca. A.D. 67-78).


Paul regarded him as one of the few who were faithful to his ministry to the end (2 Tim. 4:11). All of this suggests that Mark was a seasoned veteran of the Christian walk. He was well versed in apostolic teaching; he had extensive missionary experience under wise guides. Most importantly, he learned firsthand that God gives penitent believers opportunity to recover from past failure. Mark not only heard redemption and new life proclaimed, he experienced it in his own life.


Evangelical scholars have suggested dates for the writing of Mark's gospel ranging from A.D. 50 to 70. A date before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D.70 is required by the comment of Jesus in 13:2. Luke's gospel was clearly written before Acts (Acts 1:1-3). The date of the writing of Acts can probably be fixed at about A.D. 63, because that is shortly after the narrative ends (See introduction to Acts: Author and Date. It is there likely, though not certain, that Mark was written at an early date, probably sometime in the 50s.


Many scholars date Mark in the 60's A.D. Some date it later, since (Mark 13:2), predicts the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), and they deny that Jesus could have foretold the future. But predictive prophecy is quite within the ability of the Jesus of the New Testament. Mark has in fact been dated by some as early as the 40's. The exact date is not crucial to a grasp of Mark's message. In any case the book bears the stamp of an early and authentic written witness to Jesus' ministry.


Background - Setting: Whereas Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, Mark seems to have targeted Roman believers, particularly Gentiles. When employing Aramaic terms, Mark translated them for his readers (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 10:46; 14:36; 15:22, 34). On the other hand, in some places he used Latin expressions instead of their Greek equivalents (5;9; 6:27; 12;15, 42; 15:16, 39). He also reckoned time according to the Roman system (6:48; 13:35), and carefully explained Jewish customs (7:3-4; 14:12; 15:42). Mark omitted Jewish elements, such as the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke. This gospel also makes fewer references to the Old Testament, and includes less material that would be of particular interest to Jewish readers, such as that which is critical of the Pharisee and Sadducees (Sadducees are mentioned only once, in 12:18). When mentioning Simon of Cyrene (15:21), Mark identifies him as the father of Rufus, a prominent member of the church at Rome (Rom. 16:13). All of this supports the traditional view that Mark was written for a Gentile audience initially at Rome.


The friction which resulted between Paul and Barnabas led to their separation (Acts 15:38-40). But John Mark's earlier vacillation evidently gave way to greater strength and maturity, and in time he proved himself even to the Apostle Paul. When Paul wrote the Colossians, he instructed them that if John Mark came, they were to welcome him (Col. 4:10).


Paul even listed Mark as a fellow worker (Philemon 24). Later, Paul told Timothy to "Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service" (2 Tim. 4:11).


There is good evidence that this gospel reflects Peter's contribution. Mark and Peter certainly had close ties (1 Pet. 5:13); perhaps Peter led him to Christ. The gospel was composed by one who had considerable skill in literary, historical, and theological presentation and this points to Mark's own God-given insight. Yet comparison of the Gospel of Mark with Peter's sermons in Acts and with other data, suggest we are listening to a version of a story told in part by the venerable apostle Peter himself.


Historical - Theological Themes: Mark presents Jesus as the suffering Servant of the Lord (10:45). His focus is on the deeds of Jesus more than His teaching, particularly emphasizing service and sacrifice. Mark omits the lengthy discourses found in the other gospels, often relating only brief excerpts to give the gist of Jesus' teaching. Mark also omits any account of Jesus' ancestry and birth, beginning where Jesus' public ministry began, with His baptism by John in the wilderness.


Mark demonstrated the humanity of Christ more clearly than any of the other evangelists, emphasizing Christ's human emotions (1:41; 3:5; 6:34; 8:12; 9:36), His human limitations (4:38; 11:12; 13:32), and other small details that highlight the human side of the Son of God (e.g. 7:33-34; 8:12; 9:36; 10:13-16).


Distinctive Outlook: Well over a third of the book (chapters 11-16), deals with a tiny fraction of Jesus' earthly lifetime: the last week. Chapter 10 gives an account of Jesus' ministry as He moved slowly southward from Galilee to Jerusalem. This leaves (1:14-9:50), to cover His extensive work in Galilee, while the opening verses (1:1-13), vouch for the credentials of the Christ: His prophetic connections, His intimate kinship with God the Father and God the Spirit, and His bearing of the worst temptations that Satan could throw at Him.


(1) There seems no reason to reject the ancient tradition that Mark wrote primarily for a largely Gentile audience resident in Rome. This might account for many Latin terms found in the Gospel of Mark. This would also explain the lack of a genealogy of Christ and less direct dependence on the Old Testament than we find in Matthew and Luke. On the other hand, non-Jewish converts to Christ were still quite aware of their Old Testament roots. We may conclude that Mark is Christocentric and action-oriented (immediately, or a synonym of this word, occurs over 40 times). Mark strives for conciseness and brevity. The other gospels serve to fill out the Marcan framework. However, Mark does contain many unique details.


(2) Mark seeks to involve the reader in the gospel's witness to Jesus Christ. He does this through an uncomplicated and vivid literary style. He also writes in such a way that the discerning reader feels addressed or questioned, often by Jesus Himself. Mark does not aim merely to convey information. He seeks rather to furnish grounds for our decision to follow and keep following the main character of the gospel: Jesus Christ.


The Gospel of Mark does not admit of easy topical analysis. Many suggestions have been made. This outline seeks to relate Jesus' actions and teaching to His geographical location.





Chapters


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Mark 1 Mark 7 Mark 13
Mark 2 Mark 8 Mark 14
Mark 3 Mark 9 Mark 15
Mark 4 Mark 10 Mark 16
Mark 5 Mark 11
Mark 6 Mark 12

Mark 1



Mark Chapter 1

This study of the book of Mark will take us through some of the same territory that we went through in the book of Matthew. You will quickly see that even though it covers some of the very same events as Matthew, that the details many times are enlarged upon by Mark.


The author of Mark is probably the same Mark as John Mark that we read about (in Acts chapter 12).


Acts 12:12 "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together."


This Mary, who was the mother of John Mark, lived in Jerusalem.


In Colossians 4:10, we see that Barnabas was a close relative, as well as an uncle. Mark was also, a close friend of Peter.


We see in Mark the working Jesus.


In Revelation, we read about the four beasts. We have said in our teaching on Revelation that a better interpretation would have been "living beings" for beasts.


Revelation 4:7 "And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle."


As I said before, even though Matthew, that Mark, Luke, and John cover the same events in many cases. They are seen through four different people's eyes and are very different. The main topic of the book of Mark is: Jesus Christ, the servant of God and man.


In this book, we are not dealing with Jesus from the tribe of Judah; but Jesus Christ, the healer and servant. We see Jesus as the servant of man.


We see nineteen specific miracles in the book of Mark. Eight of these miracles deal with His power and authority over disease, five of these miracles show Jesus as having power over all the world and everything in it, four over demons and Satan, and two show His power over death.


As we go on through this book, take note that Jesus has power over all the earth, everything above the earth, everything under the earth, and everything in the sea. We will see Jesus as someone who gets the job done quickly. He sees a need and takes care of it right then.


John 14:11 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."


If there is one theme, as I said, more than any other in Mark, it is "believe me for the very works' sake." We will get into all of this more as we go along.


Mark 1:1 "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"


"The beginning ... the Son of God": This is best viewed as Mark's title for his gospel. The historical record of the gospel message began with John the Baptist (Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16; Acts 1:22; 10:37; 13:24).


Mark begins with a burst of information that functions as a title. "The gospel" here refers not to the whole book but to the content of the early Christian proclamation, which in turn centers on a person. "Jesus" is His given name; "Christ" is both a name and His Old Testament title; "the Son of God" points to His unique familial intimacy with the God of the Old Testament.


"Jesus Christ": "Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua ("the Lord is salvation"); "Christ" ("Anointed One"), is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah. "Jesus" is the Lord's human name (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:31); "Christ" signifies His office as ruler of God's coming kingdom (Dan. 9:25-26).


"Son of God": An affirmation of Jesus' deity, stressing His unique relationship to the Father (3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 13:32; 15:39; see note on John 1:34).


"Gospel": The good news about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; of which the 4 gospels are written records.


We see here, in this first verse, that this is the beginning. There is no earlier writing by Mark. The gospel, as we said in Matthew, means good news. This is not just good news from anywhere, but is in fact, the good news of Jesus Christ.


We dealt with this name before, but I feel it is important to know what the name Jesus Christ implies, so bear with me, and we will get into it again. Jesus means The Savior, and Christ means the Anointed One. We discussed in a previous lesson that one of Jesus' names, before He came to earth, was God the Word.


John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."


We also read in 1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."


You see, in heaven the one we call Jesus Christ is known as the Word. He took the name Jesus Christ for His earthly stay in a human body so that He, The Anointed One, might become the Savior of the world. For His stay on earth, He was also known as the Son of God.


Jesus had no earthly Father. His Father was God. We touched on this in Matthew. The Holy Spirit hovered over Mary, and she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the Spirit of God in fleshly form; and thus the Son of God.



Verses 2-3: By "prophets," Mark means the so-called major and minor prophets of the Old Testament, specifically Malachi and Isaiah. Because early Christians had a great reverence for Scripture, and had only the Old Testament for their bible, passages foretelling Jesus' coming are regarded as strong proof of His divine identity. These prophecies relate especially to John's activity.


Mark 1:2 "As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."


"It is written": A phrase commonly used in the New Testament to introduce Old Testament quotes (7:6; 9:13; 14:21, 27; Matt. 2:5; 4:4, 6-7; Luke 2:23; 3:4; John 6:45; 12:14; Acts 1:20; 7:42; Romans 3:4; 8;36; 1 Cor. 1:31; 9:9; Gal. 3:10; 4:22; Heb. 10:7; 1 Peter 1:16).


"In Isaiah the prophet": Mark's quote is from two Old Testament passages (Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1), which probably explains the reading "the Prophets" found in some manuscripts. The gospels all introduce John the Baptist's ministry by quoting (Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23)


"My messenger": John was the divinely promised messenger, set to prepare the way for the Messiah. In ancient times, a king's envoys would travel ahead of him making sure the roads were safe and fit for him to travel on, as well as announcing his arrival.


We could go through and list the prophecies in the Old Testament. The prophecies of Jesus Christ began in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 and went through most of the books in the Old Testament.


The greatest number were in the books of the prophets such as: (Isaiah 9:7; 7:14; Micah 5:12; Daniel 9:25; Jeremiah 31:15; Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalms 110:4; Zechariah 9:9 or Zechariah 11:12). There are many more, too numerous to mention. In fact, that is a study just in itself.


The specific prophet meant above however, was Malachi. The Scripture which confirms this is:


Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."


In (Matthew 17:12", we see that Jesus said that John the Baptist was the messenger spoken of. This messenger's job was not to elevate himself, but to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.


Mark 1:3 "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."


John the Baptist was born and lived for one purpose, and that was to proclaim the coming of Christ. He had one message. It was Repent and be baptized for the Lord is coming. God, throughout the Bible, picked out a specific person and called them to do a specific job for Him. This was what God called John the Baptist to do. He was to use his voice to proclaim the coming of the Lord.


We see many others in the Bible chosen by God for a specific job such as Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He called Noah to build an ark. You see, God chooses whomever He will. This wilderness was not just physical, but spiritual as well. Our cry, like John the Baptist's cry, should be "The Lord is coming".


Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."


"John": a common Jewish name in New Testament times, it is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name "Johanan" (2 kings 25:23; 1 Chron. 3:15; Jer. 40:8), meaning "the Lord is gracious." John's name was given by the angel Gabriel to his father Zacharias, during his time of priestly service in the temple (Luke 1:13).


His mother, Elizabeth, also a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5), was a relative of Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:36).


As the last Old Testament prophet and the divinely ordained forerunner of the Messiah, John was the culmination of Old Testament history and prophecy (Luke 16:16), as well as the beginning of the historical record of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not surprisingly, Jesus designated John as the greatest man who had lived until his time (Matt. 1:11).


"John" (the Baptist), breaks a centuries-long prophetic silence in Israel. Other Jewish groups practiced ritual water cleansing, but John called all Israel to "repentance" (verse 5).


"Baptism": Being the distinctive mark of John's ministry, his baptism differed from the ritual Jewish washings in that it was a one-time act. The Jews performed a similar one-time washing of Gentile proselytes, symbolizing their embracing of the true faith.


That Jews would participate in such a rite was a startling admission that they, although members of God's covenant people, needed to come to God through repentance and faith just like Gentiles.


"In the wilderness": The desolate, arid region between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (see note on Matt. 3:1).


"Baptism of repentance": A baptism resulting from true repentance. John's ministry was to call Israel to repentance in preparation for the coming of Messiah. Baptism did not produce repentance, but was its result (Matt. 3:7-8). Far more than a mere change of mind or remorse, repentance involves a turning from sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9), which results in righteous living.


Genuine repentance is a work of God in the human heart (Acts 11:18). For a discussion of the nature of repentance, see notes on (2 Cor. 7:9-12).


"For the remission of sins": John's rite of baptism did not produce forgiveness of sin (see notes on Acts 2:38; 22:16); it was only the outward confession and illustration of the true repentance that results in forgiveness (Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 2 Cor. 7:10).


John's baptism was not regarded as equal to baptism in the name of the Trinity as a testimony to one's personal trust in Christ. (See Acts 19:1-5). "For" here means "with a view to," that is, in order to attain "remission of sins." The Greek word order shows that it is not baptism but repentance that secures remission of sins.


We have discussed in our lessons on Matthew, that it was the custom to baptize for the remission of sins long before Jesus' crucifixion on the cross. Even in the tabernacle in the wilderness, the washings were symbolic of baptism to wash away sins. This actually was different to the baptism we Christians do.


A Christian being baptized is actually performing Jesus' burial and resurrection. We are baptized into a water grave, and we are following Jesus in His resurrection. We rise again to newness of life in Jesus.


Mark 1:5 "And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins."


"All the land of Judea ... and they of Jerusalem": After centuries without a prophetic voice in Israel (Malachi had prophesied more than 400 years earlier), Johns ministry generated an intense amount of interest.


"Judea": The southernmost division of Palestine (Samaria and Galilee being the others), in Jesus' day. It extended from about Bethel in the North to Beersheba in the South, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the West to the Dead Sea and Jordan River in the East. Included within Judea was the city of Jerusalem.


"River of Jordan": Palestine's major river, flowing through the Jordan Rift Valley from Lake Hula (drained in modern times), North of the Sea of Galilee, South to the Dead Sea. According to tradition, John began his baptizing ministry at the fords near Jericho.


"Confessing": To confess one's sins, as they were being baptized, is to agree with God about them. John baptized no one who did not confess and repent of his sins.


The whole of Judea and Jerusalem is rocked by John's presence. The tense of "baptized" stresses that it took place continually over a length of time. The condition for baptism was a public response, by which and in which one confessed his sins.


There, strangely enough, was no rejection by the people of John the Baptist. We see here, that many people went to great trouble to go into the wilderness and be baptized by John in the River Jordan. In (Matthew 21:26), we see that the people believe John to be a true prophet.


Matthew 21:26 "But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet."


Isn't it strange they believed he was a prophet and did not believe the message he brought that Jesus Christ is Messiah? This river Jordan is still a favorite place for Christians worldwide to be baptized.


Mark 1:6 "And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;"


"Camel's hair ... girdle of a skin": The traditional clothes of a wilderness dweller which were sturdy, but neither fashionable nor comfortable. John's clothing would have reminded his audience of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), whom they expected to come before Messiah (Mal. 2:5; Matthew 17:10-13).


"Locusts and wild honey": The Old Testament dietary regulations permitted the eating of "locusts" (Lev. 11:2-22). "Wild honey" could often be found in the wilderness (Deut. 32:13; 1 Samuel 14:25-27). John's austere diet was in keeping with his status as a lifelong Nazirite (Luke 1:15).


John's appearance is reminiscent of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8; Mark 6:15).


We can see from this that John the Baptist was a simple man with simple needs. The Bible says those that wear fine clothes live in palaces. John did not live in a palace, but rather in the wilderness.


In a land where there are many camels, it would not have been expensive to get a camel's hide to make a garment from. A "girdle", we learned in Exodus, is something similar to a very wide belt. In all of this, I say again, we see a simple man with simple needs, setting out to carry out the job that God had called him to fulfill.


Mark 1:7 "And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose."


"Preached, saying" denotes a continuous activity. This is John's characteristic message. Better translated: "proclaiming." John was Jesus' herald, sent to announce His coming (see note on verse 4).


"Latchet" refers to the thong of a sandal. John is concerned to make clear both his inferiority (so as not to distract from the future-oriented focus of his message), and the Coming One's superiority (so as to cultivate longing and expectancy).


"The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose": The most menial task a slave could perform. John vividly expressed his humility.


We see here, a humble man. John the Baptist knew that he was nothing compared to Jesus. Our ministers of today could take a lesson from John. We are nothing but a voice fulfilling the ministry that God has called us to. The person of the preacher is not the important thing. The message is the important thing, for by the foolishness of preaching people are saved.


As John the Baptist elevated Jesus to His rightful position as God manifest in the flesh, so should every follower of Jesus and especially the ministers of His Word. Get our minds and messages off of mortal men and onto the mighty God, Jesus Christ our Lord. At the presence of the Lord, every knee will bow as John did.


Philippians 2:10-11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


We must all remember with John that we are not worthy to unloose His shoes.


Mark 1:8 "I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."


"I" and "he" are emphatic, stressing the contrast. John has a vital function, but Jesus has an even greater one. As John was used by God to administer immersion in water, Jesus will serve to bring men under the influence of the Holy Spirit.


"Baptized you with the Holy Ghost": This takes place when a person comes to faith in Christ (see notes on Acts 1:5; 8:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:13).


You can easily see from this that the baptism of repentance, which John the Baptist baptized with, was not the same baptism. John's baptism is of water, and Jesus' baptism is of fire of the Holy Ghost.


Luke 3:16 "John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:"


We see the explanation of this baptism (in Acts 19:2-6).


"He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." "And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism." "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." "When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." "And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."


Mark Chapter 1 Questions


1. Why would we do this Bible study, if it covers many of the same events as Matthew?


2. Who is the author of Mark?


3. Who was his mother?


4. What was Mark's full name?


5. Give his uncle's name?


6. Who was a close friend to Mark?


7. What does Mark show us about Jesus?


8. The main topic of the book of Mark is what?


9. In Mark, we are not dealing with Jesus from the tribe of Judah, but Jesus the what?


10. How many major miracles are listed in Mark?


11. How many deal with disease?


12. How many deal with Jesus' power and authority over the world?


13. How many show His power over demons and even Satan?


14. How many show His power over death?


15. How does Jesus get the job done (in one word)?


16. If there is a theme in Mark, it is found in John chapter 14 verse 11. What is it?


17. Gospel means what?


18. What does the word Jesus mean?


19. What does the word Christ mean?


20. What was Jesus' name in heaven that we read in John chapter 1 and First John 5:7?


21. How was it possible for His (Jesus) Father to be God? Explain.


22. In the Old Testament, where were the most prophecies of Jesus? Name a few.


23. Covering verse 2 in Mark, which one specifically was intended, perhaps?


24. In Matthew 17:12, what were we told about this messenger?


25. What was the purpose of John the Baptist's life?


26. What was his message?


27. Name two other men in the Bible who were called of God to do a specific job?


28. What was John's baptism of?


29. Was it practiced before Jesus was crucified?


30. How does this baptism in water differ from the baptism of us, Christians?


31. What is strange about the ministry of John the Baptist?


32. Where do we find the Scripture that the people believed John to be a true prophet?


33. How was John clothed?


34. What was he eating?


35. What is a girdle?


36. What was the locust, really?


37. In all of this, we see a_________________ man, with __ ______________ needs, setting out do what?


38. How did John the Baptist compare himself to Jesus?


39. The person of the preacher is not the important thing. What is the important thing?


40. We should get our minds and our messages off of what and onto what?


41. Philippians 2:10 tells us what?


42. John baptized with water, but Jesus baptizes with what?


43. Where was the word fire added to this?


44. In chapter 19 of Acts, what do we see clearly about the baptism of the Holy Ghost?


45. What was the only comment the author made about this?




Mark Chapter 1 Continued

Mark 1:9 "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan."


"In those days": At some unspecified time during John's baptizing ministry at the Jordan.


"Nazareth": An obscure village (not mentioned in the Old Testament, or by Josephus, or in the Talmud), about 70 miles North of Jerusalem, that did not enjoy a favorable reputation (John 1:46). Jesus had apparently been living there before His public appearance to Israel.


"Baptized of John in Jordan": Over John's objections (Matt. 3:14), who saw no need for the sinless Lamb of God (John 1:29), to participate in a baptism of repentance (see notes on verses 4-5); for an explanation of why Jesus was baptized (see note on Matt. 3:15).


Jesus did not need to repent of sin, but as the Messiah of Israel He identified thoroughly with the people of Israel. He also would have wished to show His support for John as God's prophet. Jesus sought this outward identification with John's ministry "to fulfill all righteousness". By identifying Himself with those He came to redeem, Jesus inaugurated His public ministry as the Messiah.


To some people this would seem so unusual that the Savior of the world would come to be baptized. Of course, Jesus had no sins to repent of. He was without sin. In everything, Jesus is the ultimate example. I believe this act of humbly coming to be baptized was simply an example for us to follow.


There had been very little heard of Jesus, since His trip with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem when He was twelve years old. We know that He lived with His mother Mary, and Joseph, the man that the world thought was His father. Joseph was a carpenter, and Jesus had worked with Joseph in the carpenter's shop.


I believe a great deal went on that we are not told about in the Scriptures in this interval, since He had been in the temple at twelve.


The statement: "wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" found (in Luke 2:49), tells us that Jesus had begun His heavenly Father's business.


The fact that Mary knew that Jesus could turn water into wine at the wedding indicates to me that this was the first recorded miracle, not the first one. Jesus from the time He was twelve until the wine incident was possibly ministering, but not formally for recorded history. The Hebrew young men called to the ministry began at age thirty.


John the Baptist was a close relative of Jesus' mother, Mary. It seems that John's message had traveled far, and Nazareth was not far from the Jordan River. Jesus in prophecy, would be known as a Nazarene and a Galilean. It is so simply stated here that Jesus was baptized of John. The baptizer is not the important thing, the baptism is.


Mark 1:10 "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:


"Straightway": In keeping with His fast-paced narrative style, Mark used this adverb more than the other 3 gospel writers combined. This first occurrence sets the stage for the audible and visible signs that followed Jesus' baptism.


"The Spirit like a dove descending upon him": This was most likely symbolic of Jesus' empowerment for ministry (Isa. 61:1; see note on Matt. 3:16-17).


Mark uses a somewhat violent verb in Greek; "opened" can be rendered "being torn apart." Jesus witnesses heaven, closed to sinners, being torn open. This signifies that God is now accessible to penitent seekers. God's "Spirit" empowers Jesus for His coming service.


Mark 1:11 "And there came a voice from heaven, [saying], Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."


Along with new access to heaven (verse 10), comes new information from heaven. "Thou are" is a statement of fact. Thou is translated from an emphatic Greek personal pronoun stressing the identity of Jesus to the exclusion of all others. The force of this is, "You alone, rather than any others, are uniquely My beloved Son."


The Father's pronouncement would have reminded the audience of the messianic prophecies of (Psalm 2:7; Isa. 42:1).


The thing that stands out (in verses 10 and 11), more than anything else is the fullness of the God head here. We see Jesus (the second person), coming out of the water, we see the Father in the voice from heaven, and we see the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove which descended from heaven. We in fact, see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit here at the baptism.


The heaven opened lets us know that these truly were from the throne of God in heaven. Remember, Jesus was from heaven Himself. His Spirit, which is His Life, is of God. His flesh was provided by Mary.


In (verse 10), it appears that all three personalities of God were cooperating in the ministry of Jesus here on the earth. Jesus' body here, was touched by the Holy Spirit of God, as if anointing Jesus to carry out the work. Jesus' Spirit needed no renewal. His Spirit is the God Spirit, without flaw.


The Spirit of God chose to come to earth and take on the form of man, so that He might save mortal man. The "heavens opened" shows also, the involvement of all of heaven in this earthly ministry of Jesus which officially began with this baptism. The Elohim God was present here, the very one present at creation.


These three also, give us a three-fold view of approval of the baptism. First of all, the Lord Jesus was the one baptized. The voice from heaven caused us to hear God's approval; and thirdly, the dissention of the Dove gave physical evidence of God's approval.


Many people wear little dove pins proclaiming that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This voice leaves no doubt who Jesus is. He is the Son of God. Not only is He the Son of God, but God is very pleased with His Son. Just this voice alone should have left no doubt in anyone's mind just who Jesus really is.


Mark 1:12 "And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness."


"Immediately" (see note on verse 10). Jesus' temptation came right after His baptism.


"The Spirit driveth him": Compelled by the Spirit, Jesus confronted Satan and took the first step toward over-throwing his evil kingdom (1 John 3:8). Though God tempts no one (James 1:13), He sometimes sovereignly permits Satan to tempt His people (e.g. Job; Luke 22:31-32).


The verb "driveth" calls attention to the forcefulness of the Spirit's urging. The "wilderness" is the desert waste of Palestine.


"The wilderness": The exact location of Jesus' encounter with Satan is unknown. It most likely would have been the same wilderness where John lived and ministered (see note on verse 4), the desolate region farther South, or the arid Arabian desert across the Jordan.


Mark 1:13 "And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."


"Forty days": Perhaps reminiscent of Israel's 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Num. 14:33; 32:13). Matthew and Luke add that Jesus went without food during this time. Moses (twice, Deut. 9:9, 18) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8) also fasted for that length of time.


"Satan": From a Hebrew word meaning "adversary." Since He had no fallen nature, Jesus' temptation was not an internal emotional or psychological struggle, but an external attack by a personal being.


"Wild beasts": A detail unique to Mark's account, stressing Jesus' loneliness and complete isolation from other people.


The temptation is portrayed as lasting throughout the "forty days." But so is the sustaining ministration of God's angels. "Wild beasts" underscores the loneliness and hostility of the surroundings.


Here in Mark we see a very short statement. This is covered in detail (in Matthew 4:1-11), and again (in Luke 4:1-13). I would suggest that you read both of those accounts several times along with this to get the full message. I will touch on just one or two items here.


"The Spirit driveth him into the wilderness" is a shortened statement. The true meaning, I believe, is found in Luke:


Luke 4:1 "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,"


We see a similar statement (in Matthew 4:1), "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."


We see here, a perfect example of cross references of Scriptures which interpret themselves. We see from this, that Jesus was so full of the Holy Ghost and its power, that He was led by the Spirit. It is one thing, I have said before, to be saved; but it is an entirely different thing to have Jesus as your Lord.


Jesus in this case, had totally submitted His will to the Spirit. He gladly went to be tempted of the devil. God is not a tempter. The devil tempts through the lust of the flesh. When we are tempted, it is the lust of the flesh that causes the temptation. In Jesus' case, He had no lust. The devil tried to cause Jesus to lust for the things of this world and failed.


Another point we must make here, is that the angels of God did not minister unto Jesus, until He had been tempted and overcame the temptation. Then they ministered to Jesus (Psalm 91:11-12). The tense of the Greek verb, "to minister," suggests the angels ministered to Jesus throughout His temptation.


Forty throughout the Bible, is symbolic of trials and testings. These forty days were no exception. We will find in our Christian walk that we too, have times of testing. We too must withstand the devil with the Word of God and in the name of Jesus.


In (James 4:7), we read "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."


Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. He was first tempted in food, because He was hungry after forty days. He was tempted to tempt God and see if God would protect Him, and He was tempted to attain earthly fame. To read more in detail about this, you may read in the lessons on Matthew and Luke which deal with this same subject (in chapter 4), of both books.


Mark 1:14 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"


"John was put into prison"; He was incarcerated for rebuking Herod Antipas over his incestuous marriage to his niece, Herodias (see notes on 6:17-27).


"Jesus came into Galilee": From Judea (Matt. 4:12; Luke 4:13; John 4:3). Mark, along with Matthew and Luke, passes directly from the temptation to the beginning of the Galilean ministry, skipping Jesus' intervening ministry in Judea (John 2:13 - 4:4). Galilee was the northernmost region of Palestine, and the most heavily populated.


"The gospel of the kingdom of God": The good news of salvation both about God and from Him (see note on Rom. 1:1; Rom. 15:16; 1 Thess. 2:2, 8-9; 1 Tim. 1:11, 1 Peter 4:17).


Jesus' public ministry in "Galilee" gets underway.


Mark 1:15 "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."


"The time is fulfilled": Not time in a chronological sense, but the time for decisive action on God's part. With the arrival of the King, a new era in God's dealings with men had come (see note on Gal. 4:4).


"At hand": Because the King was present.


"Repent ye, and believe": Repentance (see note on verse 4), and faith (see note on Romans 1:16), are man's required responses to God's gracious offer of salvation (Acts chapters 20-21).


Jesus' proclamation stresses the importance of that present time. The sphere of God's sovereign rule is extending into humanity with new intensity. All, even Israel, are to repent by God's grace, turning from sin and to righteousness, not just outwardly but with the heart.


Along with repenting must come believing, putting trust in Jesus' message (and thus right from the start, to some extent, in Jesus Himself).


There was a gap of time here between the temptation and the time Jesus came into Galilee. This John spoken of here, is John the Baptist. He was imprisoned because he spoke out against Herod marrying his sister-in-law, Herodias. This is found (in Mark 6:18-19).


When Jesus came into any area, it was for a purpose. Here we see Him coming into Galilee, to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. The purpose of preaching is to change people, to cause them to begin again in Jesus. The "gospel" as we have said before, is good news. Believers are not like the world that has no hope. We have hope of an everlasting kingdom, if we believe in Jesus.


The kingdom of God is actually everything that exists. The whole universe is His kingdom. A really good way to say this would be that Jesus was preaching the good news that God is King of everything. And we are part of that kingdom, if we repent of our sins and make Jesus Christ Savior and Lord of our lives.


In (verse 15), "the time is fulfilled", just means that the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies that Messiah will come, had happened. Jesus fulfilled these prophecies. Christians should not dread death of the body; we should look forward to the everlasting life of the Spirit.


Romans 10:9 tells us what this good news really is:


Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


Mark 1:16 "Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."


"Sea of Galilee": Also known as the Sea of Chinnereth (Num. 34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). A large, freshwater lake about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, and about 690 feet below sea level (making it the lowest body of fresh water on earth) "The Sea of Galilee" was home to a thriving fishing industry.


"Simon and Andrew": The first of two sets of brothers Jesus called to follow Him. Like James and John, they were fishermen. Since Andrew had been a follower of John the Baptist (John 1:40), it is possible that Peter had been as well.


They had evidently returned to their fishing business after John's arrest (see note on verse 14). They had already met and spent time with Jesus (see note on Matt. 4:18), but were here called to follow Him permanently.


"Net": A rope forming a circle about 9 feet in diameter with a net attached It could be thrown by hand into the water, then hauled in by means of the length of weighted rope attached to it.


Mark 1:17 "And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men."


"Come ye after me" (or follow me): Used frequently in the gospels in reference to discipleship (2:18; 8:34; 10:21; Matt. 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21; Luke 9:23, 59, 61; 18:22; John 1:43; 10:27; 12:26).


"Fishers of men": Evangelism was the primary purpose for which Jesus called the apostles, and it remains the central mission for His people (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).


With a command Jesus summons two to be disciples. Mark may preserve here Peter's vivid memory of this brief and direct appeal. Seen against its Old Testament background, Jesus' call is to the task of winning men in view of the impending judgment of God.



Verses 18-20: Jesus' call is not an enthusiastic shout of temporary appeal but a summons to all-encompassing, whole-life commitment. Jesus gains at least four dedicated adherents, who follow him to Capernaum.


Mark 1:18 "And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him."


"Followed him": I.e., became His permanent disciples (see note on verse 16).


This again, is a very short and precise statement about the call of Simon (Peter), and Andrew to go with Jesus and be His apostles. We find this statement almost exactly like this (in Matthew 4:18-22). The most vivid description of what happened however, is found in:


Luke 5:1-4 "And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret," "And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing [their] nets." "And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship." "Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."


Luke 5:5-11 "And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." "And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake." And they beckoned unto [their] partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink." "When Simon Peter saw [it], he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." "For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:" "And so [was] also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." "And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."


Not that we need any reason for them "forsaking all, and following" Jesus, but they had just seen an overwhelming miracle, plus they had just heard Jesus preach. There would be no way that they would not follow Him.


You see, the very best way to explain a Scripture is to find a more detailed Scripture on the very same incident and let it explain it for you. Notice, that the Sea of Galilee and Lake of Gennesaret are one and the same. Peter was called by Simon also, and in one place called by both names at once, Simon Peter.


There is no further explanation necessary why they left their nets and followed Jesus. It was just because He told them to. They believed nothing was impossible to Him after seeing this miracle.


Mark Chapter 1 Continued Questions


1. Where did Jesus come from before He was baptized?


2. Who baptized Jesus?


3. Where was He baptized?


4. Why was Jesus baptized?


5. What occupation had Joseph practiced?


6. Who did the world believe was Jesus' father?


7. What age did Hebrew men begin to minister?


8. In prophecy, what two things were spoken of Jesus that indicated where He would be from?


9. When Jesus came out of the baptismal water, what descended upon Him?


10. What did it symbolize?


11. What did the voice from heaven say?


12. What does the author think stands out the most in Verses 10 and 11?


13. Tell how we saw Father, Son, and Holy Ghost at the baptism.


14. When did Jesus' ministry officially begin?


15. What one thing at Jesus' baptism should have left no doubt who He is?


16. What drove Jesus into the wilderness?


17. Why was He drawn to the wilderness?


18. How long was Jesus in the wilderness to be tempted?


19. What Scriptures in Matthew and Luke tell of this same incident?


20. What does the Scripture the spirit driveth him into the wilderness mean?


21. Who and what tempts a person to sin?


22. When we sin, what causes it?


23. The devil tried to tempt Jesus in His flesh, what happened?


24. When did the angels minister to Jesus?


25. How long did Jesus fast?


26. What number is symbolic of trials and tribulations?


27. What does James 4:7 teach us about the devil?


28. When did Jesus come into Galilee to preach?


29. What did He preach there?


30. Why had John been put in prison?


31. What is the gospel?


32. Christians should not dread death, but should __________________.-


33. Who was Simon's brother?


34. What was Simon's other name?


35. What was Simon's and his brother's occupation?


36. What did Jesus call them to do?


37. In what book do we find a more detailed account of this same thing?


38. What great miracle did Jesus perform for them before He called them to the ministry?


39. Who were Simon's partners, besides his brothers?


40. Why did Simon tell Jesus to depart from him?


41. How did they, Simon and his brother, answer Jesus' call?




Mark Chapter 1 Second Continued

Mark 1:19 "And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets."


"James ... John": The second set of fishermen brothers called by Jesus (see note on verse 16). Their mother and Jesus' mother may have been sisters (15:20; Matt. 27:55-56 with John 19:25).


This is not a discrepancy from the account we studied in the last lesson. This is just the difference in several people telling the same story. We see here, that all the important details are the same as in the other accounts.


Now in addition to Peter and Andrew, the Lord had discovered James and John. These were fishermen whom the Lord would make fishers of men. We see that James and John were the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder.


Mark 1:20 "And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."


"Hired servants": This indicates that Zebedee's fishing business was a prosperous one and that he was a man of importance (John 18:15).


Fishing was an honorable way of making a living. These were men who knew how to work hard to get the job done. They, without hesitation answered the call Jesus had placed on their lives. We see here, that James and John had given up family, job, their home, and security to follow Jesus.


In (Mark 10:29-30), we see what happens to those who give up things of this world to follow Jesus.


Mark 10:29-30 "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's," "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."



Verses 1:21 - 3:12: Mark presents a series of incidents showing Jesus' power and the people's amazed responses.


Mark 1:21 "And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught."


"Capernaum": A prosperous fishing village on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was a more important city than Nazareth. It contained a Roman garrison and was located on a major road. Jesus made the city His headquarters (2:1), after His rejection at Nazareth (Matt. 4:13; Luke 4:16-31).


"Synagogue": The place where Jewish people gathered for worship ("synagogue" is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning "to gather together"). Synagogues originated in the
Babylonian captivity after the 586 B.C. destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar.


They served as places of worship and instruction. Jesus frequently taught in the synagogues (verse 39; 3:1; 6:2), as did Paul (Acts 13:5; 14:1; 17:1).


"Taught": Mark frequently mentions Jesus' teaching ministry (2:13; 4:1-2; 6:2, 6, 34; 10:1; 11:17; 12:35; 14:49).


Capernaum was the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John.


Peter's home was on the outskirts of Capernaum on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. This "they" included Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Jesus. The "He" was Jesus. Jesus taught in the synagogue. Remember that this "Sabbath" is Saturday.


Mark 1:22 "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes."


"Authority": Jesus' authoritative teaching, as the spoken Word of God, was in sharp contrast to that of the scribes (experts in the Old Testament Scriptures), who based their authority largely on that of other rabbis. Jesus' direct, personal, and forceful teaching was so foreign to their experience that those who heard Him were amazed. (Titus 2:15).


Jesus astounds His listeners, for He teaches "as one that had authority." The surprise is not uniformly pleasant. Some were doubtless offended by His seeming effrontery.


The scribes had limited (head), knowledge of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Word. His message is a message of first hand knowledge. Jesus did not need to bring a faltering message. The scribes were uncertain and their message was a message of interpretation, not of actual fact.


This strong, straightforward, non-wavering message of Jesus astonished them, because Jesus is positive that His message is true. He is the Truth. (John chapter 1:1), tells us that Jesus is, in fact, the Word. His authority is unquestionable for He is God the Word.


John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."



Verses 23-24: The spirit voices his displeasure at being meddled with by the One he recognizes as God's "Holy One."


Mark 1:23 "And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,"


"Man ... cried out": Satan and his demon hosts opposed Jesus' work throughout His ministry, culminating in the cross. Jesus always triumphed over their futile efforts (Col. 2:15), convincingly demonstrating His ultimate victory by His resurrection.


"Unclean spirit": I.e., morally impure. The term is used interchangeably in the New Testament with "demon" (see note on 5:2).


Mark 1:24 "Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God."


"What have we to do with thee": Or, possibly "Why do you interfere with us?" The demon was acutely aware that he and Jesus belonged to two radically different kingdoms, and thus had nothing in common. That the demon used the plural pronoun "we" indicates he spoke for all the demons.


"The Holy One of God" (Psalm 16:10; Dan. 9:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 4:27; Rev. 3:7).
Amazingly, the demon affirmed Jesus' sinlessness and deity, truths which many in Israel denied, and still deny.


We see that this man was possessed of demons. This is a very good Scripture here to prove just who demons really are. My own personal belief about demons is that they are the third of the angels who followed Lucifer when he was thrown out of heaven.


Angels are ministering spirits. The angels who remained on God's team, minister good. The fallen angels who followed Lucifer are evil, and they minister evil. As Lucifer's name was changed to Satan, these angels became demons.


In the Scripture above, these demons recognized Jesus. If my opinion of who they are is true, they would have known Jesus (the Word), in heaven. It would be natural for them to not only know who He was, but also for them to fear what He might do to them. The fallen angels know that their fate is eternity in hell.


They know that Jesus is the Judge who will determine where they go. So you see this is not ungrounded fear. (In verse 23), when the man cried out, it was actually these evil spirits that cried out. The demons knew Jesus as the Holy One of God.


We have discussed before how Jesus' name that He used at a specific time, was descriptive of the work that He was doing at the time. Such as Jesus, Savior; Christ, Anointed One. This "Holy One of God" is His relationship to the Father in heaven.


Mark 1:25 "And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him."


"Hold thy peace": Jesus wanted no testimony to the truth from the demonic realm to fuel charges that He was in league with Satan (3:22; Acts 16:16-18).


Jesus commands the spirit to "come out" of the victim. He does not "rebuke" the man, but his oppressor. Jesus issues the same command, "Hold thy peace," to the storm (in 4:39).


We will see that Jesus was speaking to this evil spirit in the man and not to the man. Jesus is the Lord over all. Jesus is even the Lord over this evil spirit, and this evil spirit had to obey the voice of Jesus. When Jesus told this evil spirit, to hush it hushed. When Jesus told the evil spirit to come out of him, it had to obey Jesus, as we see in the next verse.


Mark 1:26 "And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him."


This unclean spirit did not want to give up this body. This unclean spirit tore him and cried with a loud voice, because the spirit was vacating a place he thought he had secured. The devil will not give up without a struggle, but is subject to Jesus. Our Bible says resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


We are no match for the devil ourselves, but the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus are more powerful than the devil. Just as in the verse above when the unclean spirit obeyed the command of Jesus, we can also, fight unclean spirits with the name of Jesus and the power of His blood.


Mark 1:27 "And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine [is] this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him."


"With authority" (see note on verse 22). Jesus had absolute authority in His actions as well as His words (Matt. 28:18).


You must remember that in the synagogue there was much formality and tradition. Really these scribes had been trained to go through a certain ritual, and they knew technically what was required of them; but they had no power within themselves.


You might say that I am being judgmental, but we have just seen that these evil spirits had no fear of the scribes. They just came right into the synagogue with the man. The amazing thing to them was the power and authority of Jesus' message.


Mark 1:28 "And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee."


"Fame" here is simply "report"; word about Jesus went out quickly in all directions. For some at least it is likely to have seemed "notoriety."


You can imagine how this would spread. These people coming to the synagogue had never seen anything like this before.



Verses 29-30: "Forthwith" and "anon" are stylistic variations for the same Greek word meaning "immediately."


Mark 1:29 "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John."


"The house of Simon and Andrew": Originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44), the two brothers had moved to Capernaum when Jesus established his headquarters there (see note on verse 21).


"James and John": Only Mark mentions their presence at the healing of Peter's mother-in-law.


Remember, earlier in this lesson that we mentioned that Peter's home was on the edge of town there at Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps they came back to rest for the night; we are not told in the Scriptures.


Mark 1:30 "But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her."


"Simon's wife's mother": Paul also affirmed that Peter was married (1 Cor. 9:5). That his mother-in-law was living with Peter and his wife may indicate that her husband was dead.


"A fever": That she was too ill to get out of bed, coupled with Luke's description of her fever as "high fever" (Luke 4:38), suggests her illness was serious, even life-threatening.


We see in this Scripture above that Simon, better known as Peter, was married. We also can see from this that his wife's mother was in the house with them. Someone told Jesus of the woman's fever.


Mark 1:31 "And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them."


Peter's mother-in-law probably fixed a meal. Peter's family is quickly and dramatically affected by his decision to follow Jesus. This whole incident reflects Peter's point of view.


Here we see that just one touch from Jesus' hand, and Peter's mother-in-law was made whole. This was not a partial healing, but a total recovery. In fact, she was so much better instantly that she forgot her illness and began to minister to them.


This is very similar to the woman who just touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed. Just one touch of His hand can do mighty miracles. This type of healing instantly would be so dramatic that no one could deny it. The word would spread fast.



Verses 32-34: Mark sketches a portrait of a spirited response to Jesus after "the sun did set:" Jews would not have ventured out until evening marked the close of the Sabbath. Jesus' ministry is to both physical and spiritual disorder.


Mark 1:32 "And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils."


"When the sun did set": Marking the close of the Sabbath and the easing of the restrictions associated with it. Specifically, rabbinic law prohibited carrying any burdens (such as stretchers), on the Sabbath.


"They brought unto him": The report of Jesus' healing of the demon-possessed man in the synagogue and Peter's mother-in-law created a sensation in Capernaum and aroused the hopes of other sufferers.


We see that the fame of Jesus had spread rapidly. By that evening a large group of sick and those possessed with devils had gathered to be healed. These that were brought were almost assuredly the ones whom the physicians had given up on.


When you are sick and there seems no hope, it is time to locate someone with great healing power, and that is just what these people did. Perhaps one reason they came late in the evening was so that they might not be seen by their neighbors.


Mark 1:33-34 "And all the city was gathered together at the door." "And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him."


"Suffered not the devils to speak" (see notes on verse 25; 3:11-12).


"Because they knew him": The demon's theology is absolutely orthodox (James 2:19); but because they know the truth, they reject it and God, who is its source.


It seems that these miracles that Jesus had done had spread like wildfire. The whole town knew about it and now gathered at the front door of Peter's house. Jesus came outside and healed all sorts of diseases and cast out many devils.


As we said earlier, these demons were subject to Jesus' commands. We see here again, evidence that these demons were the fallen angels, because they were told by Jesus to keep quiet because they knew Him.


Mark 1:35 "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."


Mark emphasizes that it was a great while before day. Showing that Jesus began each day of His earthly ministry with prayer is only the secondary intention of this verse. The primary aim is to show how Jesus made important decisions: by earnest, persistent prayer.


Here Jesus stands at the crossroads of decision: His first year of public preaching (verses 9-20), has borne little visible fruit. But His miracles of healing are drawing huge crowds (verses 31-32), and bringing Him recognition (verse 28).


So the question is whether He should continue to put the stress of His ministry on the preaching of the gospel for the healing of man's diseased soul, or place the stress of His work on the more popular performing of miracles for the healing of man's body. To make the proper choice, He seeks by prayer the Father's wisdom.


This should be a very good message to us. In the quiet of the very early morning, Jesus went to pray; not with others, but alone. We read, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10).


The most precious times with God is in the privacy of just you and God. Praying is fellowshipping with Him. Even Jesus prayed. We should see even more necessity to pray ourselves.


Mark 1:36 "And Simon and they that were with him followed after him."


"Simon and they that were with him": The first instance in the gospels of Peter's assuming of leadership. Those with Peter are not revealed, though Andrew, James and John were likely among them.


"Followed" is somewhat weak; they were at pains to track Jesus down in His retreat.



Verses 37-38: The disciples bring news of human need. "All men seek for thee," not to hear the gospel, but for viewing His miracles or to be healed physically. Perhaps even at that early hour, people were already gathering to see Jesus.


The decision Jesus has reached by prayer is to "go into the next towns," in order to "preach there also;" He has chosen to pursue the unpopular course and keep the emphasis of His work on preaching the gospel. Why? Because, He says, "therefore came I forth" from heaven: to preach. Jesus' response implicitly involves the disciples in their first mission tour.


Mark 1:37 "And when they had found him, they said unto him, All [men] seek for thee."


Finding Jesus after a diligent search (verse 36), Peter and the others excitedly implored Him to return to Capernaum and capitalize on the excitement generated by the previous night's healings.


We see by this that Jesus already had an overwhelming following. This following was not because of His message however, but so that they might receive something of Him.


Mark 1:38 "And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth."


We know that Jesus did heal and deliver people, but this was not His purpose in coming to the earth. Back in Capernaum there was a group wanting Him to minister to their bodily needs, but Jesus' purpose in coming was to save their souls.


Many times there are physical blessings from Jesus, but His most important role is to renew our spirit in Him. To save our souls from death is Jesus' purpose.


Mark 1:39 "And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils."


"Throughout all Galilee": Mark's terse statement summarizes a preaching tour that must have lasted for weeks, or even months (Matt. 4:23-24).


This summary statement characterizes the scope ("all Galilee") and activity (preaching, primarily; casting out demons, secondarily), of Jesus' ministry.



Verses 40-45: Mark relates one of Jesus' many healings during the Galilean ministry (summarized in verse 39). The leper's healing emphasizes Jesus' miraculous power over disease, since leprosy was one of the most dreaded disease of antiquity.


Mark 1:40 "And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean."


"Leper": Lepers were considered ceremonially unclean, and were outcasts from society (Lev. 13:11). While the Old Testament term for leprosy included other skin diseases, this man may have actually had true leprosy (Hanson's Disease), or else his cure would not have created such a sensation (verse 45).


The leper assumes a respectful, if plaintive, posture. His "beseeching" is not based on Jesus' ability but on His willingness.


"Leprosy" was a dreaded disease. These people were not even allowed to be near the rest of the community. This man was taking his life in his own hands to get to Jesus. The thing that would help him with Jesus was his great faith and humility.


He did not doubt that Jesus could heal him. He said to Jesus, "If you will, you can heal me". Sometimes sin is spoken of as spiritual leprosy. Jesus is the healer of physical or spiritual leprosy.


Mark 1:41 "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean."


"Compassion": Only Mark records Jesus' emotional reaction to the leper's desperate plight. The Greek word appears only in the synoptic gospels and (apart from parables) is used only in reference to Jesus.


"Touched him": Unlike rabbis, who avoided lepers lest they become ceremonially defiled, Jesus expressed His compassion with a physical gesture.


Jesus is "moved with compassion" to help. Mark's picture of Jesus is not of an unmoved problem-solver sweeping serenely and unemotionally from incident to incident (see Hebrews 4:15).


The love that Jesus has for each of us is so far beyond what we can even comprehend that it is easy to understand the love He showed to this man of such great faith. Just one touch of the Master's hand, and he was clean of leprosy, the most dreaded, incurable disease of that day.


Mark 1:42 "And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed."


This was not a gradual healing, but a sudden complete healing.


Mark 1:43 "And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;"


"Straitly charged" implies that Jesus was for some reason angry or irritated, as does the vivid "sent him away," the same verb (as in verse 12). Perhaps Jesus was indignant at the outrage of mankind's sickness and suffering, affronts to a loving God's power to redeem His creation from all that is tainted by the imperfect and ultimately evil.


Jesus sent the cleansed man away. Jesus told the man not to tell anyone of his healing, but the gratitude of the man (being brought back as it were from the dead), was too great. He told everyone he saw.


Mark 1:44 "And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."


"Say nothing to any man": The ensuing publicity would hinder Jesus' ability to minister (as in fact happened, verse 45), and divert attention away from His message (3:12; 5:43; 7:36; see note on Matt. 8:4).


"Shew thyself to the priest": The "priest" was the one on duty at the temple. Jesus commanded the healed leper to observe the Old Testament regulations concerning cleansed lepers (Lev. 14-32). Until the required offerings had been made, the man remained ceremonially unclean.


"A testimony unto them": The priest's acceptance of the man's offering would be public affirmation of his cure and cleansing.


Jesus had told him to show himself to the priest. The priest had to examine him and declare him clean before he could move freely among his people. The man was to give an offering suitable in the temple as the Law of Moses had specified.


This ceremony took place without the camp, and the offering was two living birds (clean), cedar wood, scarlet wool, hyssop, two he lambs, one ewe lamb, three tenth deals of flour mingled with oil, and one log of oil. To read more about this, look in the book of Leviticus.


Mark 1:45 "But he went out, and began to publish [it] much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter."


"Publish it much": Only Mark records the cleansed leper's disobedience, although Luke hints at it (Luke 5:15).


"No more openly enter into the city": The result of the leper's disobedience was that Jesus could no longer enter a city without being mobbed by those seeking to be cured of diseases. Jesus' ministry of teaching in that area thus came to a halt.


"Desert places": Jesus kept to the relatively uninhabited regions to allow the excitement over His cure of the leper to die down. Luke also notes that He used His time in the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16).


This incident of the cleansed leper justifies Jesus' decision to emphasize preaching instead of healing. The leper's disobeying Jesus' command to inform no one but the priest of his healing indicates that although he was cleansed physically, he remained un-cleansed inwardly (spiritually).


The healing of man's sin-infected soul is therefore far more important than the healing of his body. The people's enthusiasm over miracles hinders Jesus' freedom to preach, causing Him to remain in the "desert places".


We can easily see why Jesus did not want the man to spread the news of his cleansing of leprosy. Jesus, now, could have no privacy at all and especially in the city. Anyone who had an illness of any kind came to Him. He was overwhelmed by the masses of people surrounding Him, and He fled into the desert. Even in the desert they came to Him from every direction.


We know that Jesus healed so many, that if all the healings were written down there would not have been enough books in all the world to contain them.


Mark Chapter 1 Second Continued Questions


1. Who was the father of James?


2. Who was the brother of James?


3. What occupation did James have?


4. When the brothers left the ship and followed Jesus, who did they leave to help their father Zebedee?


5. What had Peter, Andrew, James, and John given up to follow Jesus?


6. What is promised to those who give up homes and families to follow Jesus?


7. What town did they go to, when they left the sea of Galilee?


8. What did Jesus do there?


9. What day of the week is Sabbath?


10. What type of knowledge did the scribes have?


11. How did they feel about Jesus' doctrine?


12. What type of message did Jesus bring?


13. In John chapter 1 verse 1, we see Jesus is in fact the _____.


14. Why did the man in the synagogue cry out?


15. Who was actually crying out?


16. What did they say?


17. Who did the demons call Jesus?


18. How did they know Him?


19. What does the author think demons are?


20. What was Lucifer's name changed to?


21. What does Jesus mean?


22. What does Christ mean?


23. What did Jesus say to the demon in the man?


24. What did the unclean spirit do to the man?


25. How can Christians successfully fight unclean spirits?


26. What effect did Jesus delivering the man have on the people?


27. What had the scribes been trained to do?


28. What amazed them about Jesus' message?


29. Where did Jesus go when He left the synagogue?


30. Who was sick with a fever?


31. How did Jesus handle the fever?


32. What effect did Jesus' touch have on the woman?


33. Why did Jesus tell the devils not to speak?


34. Where did Jesus pray?


35. When Simon found Jesus, what did he tell Him?


36. Jesus told Peter He came for what?


37. What did the leper say to Jesus?


38. How did Jesus answer him?


39. What did Jesus tell the leper to do after He cleansed him?


40. What book of the Bible tells a great deal about the various sacrifices?


41. Where did Jesus go to try to get away from the masses of people?





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Mark 2



Mark Chapter 2

Verses 1-12: Jesus continues to astound (and offend), by extraordinary works and claims.


Mark 2:1 "And again he entered into Capernaum after [some] days; and it was noised that he was in the house."


"He was in the house": This was likely Peter's home, where Jesus had taken up temporary residence (Matt. 4:13).


Jesus comes back into Capernaum from His desert outposts (1:45).


As we said in the previous lesson, Peter's home was on the outskirts of Capernaum. Jesus had fled to the wilderness to avoid the huge mobs of people. We see here, that Jesus had quietly come back into town, but someone saw Him return and now it was all over town that He was back.


Mark 2:2 "And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive [them], no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them."


"The word": The good news of the gospel, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, for the forgiveness of sins.


We can see that in just a very short time this house filled with people. In fact, so many people packed in this house to hear Jesus preach that not even one more person could squeeze in the front door. We know from the previous lesson, that Jesus' message was not what they were used to hearing. His message was of power and authority.


We know also, that Jesus' message was not of formality, because here we saw Him preaching in the home. The scribes went strictly by the formality of worship in the synagogue. They were hungry for this type of preaching, which was for all the people.


Mark 2:3 "And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four."


"Sick of the palsy": Since he was lying on a bed, the man's paralysis was severe, perhaps he was a quadriplegic.


Palsy is a progressive disease. It seems this man's palsy had gotten to an extreme case. He was unable to walk. Palsy has terrible shaking associated with it and is actually like a short circuit in the brain. Most people with palsy are able to walk, so this had to be someone who had an advanced disease, because it took four men to bring him.


Mark 2:4 "And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken [it] up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay."


"They uncovered the roof": Most homes in Israel had flat roofs used for relaxation in the cool of the day and for sleeping on hot nights. And there was usually an external stairway that extended to the roof. Often, as here, the roof was made of slabs of burnt or dried clay that were placed on supporting beams which stretched from wall to wall.


The builder then spread a uniform coat of fresh, wet clay over those slabs of hardened clay to serve as a seal against the rain. The paralytic's friends took him up to the top of such a house and dug out the top coat of clay, removing several of the slabs until they made enough room to lower him down into Jesus' presence.


We see here, that the crowd was so large; there was no way to get to Jesus through the crowd. I see great faith, not only of the man with the palsy, but with his friends who would not give up on getting to Jesus.


First of all, they had great love for their friend to go to this much trouble to get him to Jesus. Most of all, they had to believe strongly that if they could get him in Jesus' presence, he would be healed. It seems they broke open the roof of the house and let him down right in front of Jesus.


Mark 2:5 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."


"Jesus saw their faith": The aggressive, persistent effort of the paralytic's friends was visible evidence of their faith in Christ to heal.


"Son, thy sins be forgiven thee": Many Jews in that day believed that all disease and affliction was a direct result of one's sins. This paralytic may have believed that as well; thus he would have welcomed forgiveness of his sins before healing.


The Greek verb for "are forgiven" refers to sending or driving away (Psalm 103:12; Jer. 31:34; Mic. 7:19). Thus, Jesus dismissed the man's sin and freed him from the guilt of it (see the note on Matthew 9:2).


Touched by their obvious and active trust, Jesus acts. But instead of a physical healing alone, Jesus proclaims a remission of "sins".


Notice, Jesus recognized their faith first. Faith impresses Jesus. On many occasions, Jesus said your faith has made you whole. I do not believe that all disease is because of sin in a person's life, but I do believe some diseases are brought on ourselves because of sin in our lives.


The wrong type of sex brings all sorts of terrible diseases. I personally believe that Aids falls into that category. Not all people who acquire aids (but the majority), have committed sin causing their disease.


Some disease is associated with sin. Sin is a sickness itself. At any rate, we see here that in this particular case, this disease was because of sin in the man's life. Jesus went to the root cause of the disease and said thy sins be forgiven thee. We cannot assume from this that all palsy is brought on by sin.



Verses 6-7: "Scribes" were professional students and teachers of the Old Testament and Jewish tradition surrounding it. They also served as judges in the Jewish legal body, the Sanhedrin. They were influential men in society.


They take strong issue with Jesus' seeming presumptuousness, for it was common knowledge to students of the Old Testament that forgiving sin is God's prerogative alone. Jesus is implicitly making a claim to divinity, which to the Scribes ranks as blasphemy.


Mark 2:6 "But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,"


"The scribes" (see the note on Matthew 2:4; compare 1:22)


Mark 2:7 "Why doth this [man] thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?"


"This man ... blasphemies": The scribes were correct in saying that only God can forgive sins (Isa. 43:25), but incorrect in saying Jesus blasphemed. They refused to recognize Jesus' power as coming from God; much less that He Himself was God.


These scribes were not there to be of help in this ministry of Jesus. They were here to spy and criticize. (In verse 7 above), they showed just how little they really knew or believed about Jesus. Their first mistake was in believing that Jesus was just a man. Without realizing it, they made a true statement. God alone can forgive sins.


Jesus is God the Word caught up in the body of a man. This was the truth they failed to see. Many in our churches today cannot see Jesus as anything but man. They are like these scribes, doubting, because they put limits on Jesus.


Were Jesus just a man, the scribes would have been correct. Jesus, as we have said in all of these lessons, was God manifest in the flesh: Immanuel, God with us. God forgives sins anytime or anyplace, for anyone He wants to.


Mark 2:8 "And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?"


"In his spirit": This can also be translated, "by His spirit." This is not the Holy Spirit, but the omniscient mind of the Savior.


Jesus senses their indignation and addresses them directly, as in Mark He is inclined to do.


It seems that these scribes did not speak out openly against Jesus, but were just having evil thoughts. They were probably, afraid of the people too much to speak out openly. Just the fact that Jesus knew what they were thinking in their hearts should have told them that He was no mere man.


Jesus nearly always answered them with a question. He really was saying to them: if there were no good results, you would have room to complain. Judge whether it is right or wrong by the results.


Mark 2:9 "Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?"


"Whether is it easier ... ? It is much easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven you". No human can prove that such a thing occurred since it is invisible. Commanding a paralytic to walk would be more difficult to say convincingly. However, because the actions of the paralytic would immediately verify the effect of the command (see note on Matt. 9:5).


Modern English would drop the "whether".


This man sick of the palsy had been around for the scribes to minister to, and they had not been able to help him. Jesus, to me, was saying here, why complain about the manner it is done in, if it works?



Verses 10-11: "Son of man" is one of Jesus' favorite self-designations, used some 14 times in Mark. Scholars debate its exact meaning, some incredibly denying that Jesus applied the term to Himself. But such skepticism is surely misplaced. It seems to be a deliberately unclear title, one that could conjure up images of divine presence and might (Dan. 7:13-14). But which could at the same time give willful skeptics enough rope, so to speak, to hang themselves in the tortuous coils of their stubborn doubt.


By healing sickness in conjunction with forgiving sin, Jesus is not equating physical infirmity with spiritual depravity. Yet there is some ultimate connection, for sickness and death apparently invaded humanity through sin (See Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12).


Someday, by God's grace in Christ, sin, death, and all sickness will be vanquished. Jesus' exercise of divine forgiveness here and its immediate consequences are perhaps advance tokens of the wondrous boon of ultimate redemption. In Jesus, the sphere of God's restorative influence, His kingdom, is indeed at hand (1:15), and that with great power.


Mark 2:10 "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)


"But that ye may know": Jesus' power to heal the paralytic's physical infirmities proved the veracity of His claim and power to forgive sins.


"Son of man": Jesus used this term for Himself to emphasize His humiliation (see notes on 14:62; Matt. 8:20). It appears 14 times in Mark (verse 10, 28; 8:31, 38; 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33, 45; 13:26; 14:21, 41, 62).


Mark 2:11 "I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."


I believe here, that Jesus was saying to these scribes, you do not understand who I am. He called Himself, "Son of Man" because that was who they believed He was. "Son" is capitalized. Jesus' power was not diminished just because He was housed in the body of a man. His power is not just in heaven, but here on the earth as well.


Mark 2:12 "And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."


Here as previously (1:22, 28, 45; 2:7), Mark calls attention to the response Jesus provoked. The observers have never seen anything like this.


Just as the wind obeyed Jesus in Matthew, we see here, that this man obeyed the voice of Jesus and did just exactly what Jesus told him to do. He never doubted for a moment that he could do what Jesus told him to, and he did it.


You can imagine how amazed the people were. They had not seen miracles like this done by the scribes. This was something brand new. They realized that this was from God and they glorified Him.



Verses 13-22: Jesus returns to activity by the lake. Mark pictures a constant coming and going of crowds.


Mark 2:13 "And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them."


We see here, that when Jesus left the house and went back to the seaside, all these people followed Him; and He taught them. These people were anxious to hear what Jesus had to say, because He had answers to their problems. They had just witnessed a man healed of a long-time illness, and they realized Jesus had something these scribes did not have.


Mark 2:14 "And as he passed by, he saw Levi the [son] of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him."


"Levi the son of Alphaeus" (one of the 12), more commonly known as Matthew.


"Levi" is known also as Matthew, the tax collector (publican).


"Sitting at the receipt of custom": Matthew was a publican, a tax collector, a despised profession in Palestine because such men were viewed as traitors. Tax collectors were Jews who had bought tax franchises from the Roman government.


Any amount they collected over what Rome required they were allowed to keep. Thus, many tax collectors became wealthy at the expense of their own people (see notes on Matt. 5:46; 9:9).


"He arose and followed him": This simple action of Matthew signified his conversion. Because his response was so immediate, it is likely Matthew was already convicted of his sin and recognized his need of forgiveness.


This man would not have been someone the scribes would have chosen for Christian endeavors. As far as making money, this was a good job. Matthew gave up a lot of worldly income to follow Jesus. Matthew came without hesitation when Jesus called.


Mark 2:15 "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him."


"Sat at meat": This can also be translated, "reclining at table," as common posture for eating when guests were present. According to (Luke 5:29), this was a feast that Matthew gave in Jesus' honor.


"Many publicans": There were two categories of tax collectors:


(1) gabbai collected general taxes on land and property, and on income, referred to as poll or registration taxes;


(2) mokhes collected a wide variety of use taxes, like our import duties, business license fees, and toll fees. There were two categories of mokhes: great mokhes hired others to collect taxes for them; small mokhes did their own assessing and collecting.


Matthew was a small mokhe. It is likely representatives of both classes attended Matthew's feast. All of them were considered both religious and social outcasts.


"Sinners": A term the Jews used to describe people who had no respect for the Mosaic Law or rabbinic traditions, and were therefore the most vile and worthless of people.


"Sat also together': Literally "were reclining with "Jesus" willingness, to associate with tax collectors and sinners by sharing in the feast with them, deeply offended the scribes and Pharisees.


By now Jesus has attracted a number of devotees. But He has also managed to appeal to those whom most pious Jews of that time and place would have avoided.


The Hebrews were extremely careful who they associated with. They would not fellowship with people of the world and especially with tax collectors. Jesus had broken the pattern again. He was doing something in meeting with these tax collectors and sinners that the scribes would never do. Jesus held promise even for these people that the synagogue had rejected.



Verses 16-17: With some irony Jesus deflects the barb of His detractors, who first seek to stir up His own disciples against Him. For Jesus as well as for the Old Testament, no man is "righteous" in God's sight by virtue of his own goodness. The point is that Jesus seeks out those who, being in need, sense and own up to it. "Sinners" refers to common folk who in their religious practices were less scrupulous than the Pharisees, and often more responsive to Jesus than cultivated religious people.


Mark 2:16 "And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?"


"Scribes and Pharisees": This phrase indicates that not all scribes were Pharisees (regarding Scribes, see note on Matt. 2:4). Pharisees were a legalistic sect of Jews known for their strict devotion to the ceremonial law (see note on Matt. 3:7).


Even at this early stage of Jesus' ministry, these scribes and Pharisees knew that they were no match for Jesus. They came to the disciples and talked to them. In a sense, they were saying, don't you know that in our law it is forbidden to eat with people like this? They asked the disciples why He was doing this sinful thing.


Mark 2:17 "When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."


"I came not to call the righteous": In the parallel passage (Luke 5:32), sinners are called "to repentance." The repentant person, the one who recognizes he is a sinner and who turn from his sin, is the object of Jesus' call. The person who is sinful but thinks he is righteous refuses to acknowledge his need to repent of his sin (see notes on Matt. 9:12-13; John 9:39-41).


We all know that everyone has need of Jesus as Savior. I believe that Jesus in speaking to these self-righteous people was telling them that He didn't come to help those who did not want His help. Jesus came to help whosoever will. These scribes and Pharisees would not accept His help.


He was telling them, if you are already perfect, you don't need My help. Jesus came to save the lost. A person must realize he needs help, before they will receive help.


Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"


You can easily see from this Scripture above in Romans, that He was speaking to them this way because of their self-righteousness.


Mark Chapter 2 Questions


1. As soon as Jesus went back to Capernaum and entered the house, what happened?


2. Why had Jesus gone to the wilderness?


3. What was said that makes us know there was no more room in the house?


4. After all these people gathered, what did Jesus do?


5. Why had so many come to hear Him preach?


6. Who brought the man sick of palsy to Jesus?


7. What did they do when they could not get him in the door?


8. What kind of disease is palsy?


9. What do we see in these four men who would not give up, until they got the man sick of palsy to Jesus?


10. "When Jesus saw their _________________, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."


11. Why did this man have palsy?


12. What did these scribes say Jesus spoke?


13. What truth did they speak unknowingly?


14. Why had the scribes come to the house?


15. What did the scribes call Jesus that is the same mistake many church goers make today?


16. How did Jesus know what they thought?


17. What could Jesus have said and gotten the same results?


18. Why did Jesus forgive his sins, instead of just saying be healed?


19. Why did Jesus call Himself, Son of man?


20. What did the man sick of the palsy do?


21. How did this affect the people?


22. Who did they praise for this?


23. When Jesus left the house and went to the seaside, what did the people do?


24. What did Jesus go to the seaside to do?


25. Who did Jesus see as He passed the place of tax collecting?


26. What is this man's other name?


27. Who was this man the son of?


28. What two other books tell of Matthew's call?


29. Who were with Jesus that the scribes and Pharisees did not approve of?


30. Who did the scribes and Pharisees complain to about Jesus' behavior?


31. When Jesus heard their complaints, what did He say to them?


32. In Romans 3:23, we see what?


33. What was Jesus telling these scribes and Pharisees that they were?




Mark Chapter 2 Continued

Verses 18-22: This is evidently a further incident, not directly connected in time with (verses 13-17). Pharisees fasted twice weekly (Luke 18:12).


Mark 2:18 "And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?"


"Disciples of John": Those followers of John the Baptist who did not transfer their allegiance to Jesus (John 3:30; Acts 19:1-7). At this time John was in prison (Matt. 4:12). Their question indicates they were observing the Pharisaic traditions (Matt. 9:14).


The Pharisees" (see note on verse 16). The association of John's disciples with the Pharisees indicates that both groups were disturbed about the problem raised by Jesus' association with tax collectors and sinners (verse 15).


"Fast": The twice-a-week fast was a major expression of Orthodox Judaism during Jesus' day (Luke 18:9-14). Yet, the Old Testament prescribed only one fast, and that on the Day of Atonement (verse 16:29, 31).


(In Luke 18:12), we see a self-righteous Pharisee bragging that he fasts twice a week. Possibly, to make others look on him as more righteous than he really was.


Luke 18:12 "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."


Jesus warned about this type of fasting. Jesus told us when we fast to wash our faces and not let the world know when we fast, but to fast unto God. Possibly the reason John's followers were fasting was because John was in jail. It appears to me, that these Pharisees were jealous that Jesus' disciples were not fasting.


Mark 2:19 "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast."


"As they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast": In Jesus' illustration, the "attendants of the bridegroom", were the friends the bridegroom selected to carry out the festivities. That certainly was not a time to fast, which was usually associated with mourning or times of great spiritual need.


Jesus' point was that the ritual practiced by John's disciples and the Pharisees was out of touch with reality. There was no reason for Jesus' followers to mourn and fast while enjoying the unique reality that He was with them.


People fast when they are in desperate need of having a prayer answered. While Jesus was with them, there was no desperate need of an answer to prayer. This verse is also prophetic. Jesus is the bridegroom of the bride of Christ (which we Christians are).


I say again, there is no need to fast when everything is going good. While Jesus was with them, He took care of all their needs, and there was no need to fast.


Mark 2:20 "But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days."


"Taken away from them": This refers to a sudden removal or being snatched away violently, an obvious reference to Jesus' capture and crucifixion.


"Then shall they fast": An appropriate time for mourning was to be at the crucifixion of Jesus.


Jesus foresees the "days" when His disciples will "fast." That time will be when He has returned to heaven. Fasting is practiced during a time of grief, not joy. As a bridegroom's friends rejoice while he is with them (verse 19), and grieve when he is "taken away from them". So Jesus' disciples rejoice while He is among them, but will fast after His ascension into heaven (see Acts 13:2-3; 14:23).


All who study the Bible know that when Jesus was taken by the authorities, the disciples ran. They suddenly forgot all the times Jesus had told them that this very thing would happen. He told them He would be crucified and then rise from the grave on the third day. Then they would need to fast and pray, because Jesus had been taken away.


Instead of fasting and praying, they went back to their old jobs and old ways of life.



Verses 21-22: Jesus offered two parables to illustrate that His new and internal gospel of repentance from and forgiveness of sin could not be connected to or contained in the old and external traditions of self-righteousness and ritual (see note on Matt. 9:17).


Mark 2:21 "No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse."


We know that this statement is very true. If we are patching an old garment, we should cut a patch of something equally worn so that the tear and the patch wear together. It would be a waste of new material also, to put it in something worn out.


Mark 2:22 "And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles."


"Bottles" are wineskins, the "old" ones figuratively representing Judaism and the "new" ones, Christianity. Old wineskins lose their elasticity and would be "burst" open by the fermentation of "new wine" put into them. The point: the old faith of Judaism and the new faith of Christianity cannot be mixed, nor can the practices or traditions (e.g., the time of fasting), of Judaism be forced on Christianity.


The literal message here needs very little explanation. The fermenting of the new wine could cause old containers to give way. Probably, these were not glass bottles, but bottles made of skins.


I believe the real message that the Lord would have us receive here though is: The people who were caught up in the law would not accept this new message of grace. We see this even in our day. Those who have always looked at the literal message will not even try to see the spiritual message. New converts can be taught easily to see the spiritual message.



Verses 23-28: Jesus astounds by defying then-current Sabbath practice.


Mark 2:23 "And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn."


"Corn fields": The roads in first-century Israel were primarily major arteries; so once travelers left those main roads they walked along wide paths that bordered and traversed pastures and grain-fields.


"On the Sabbath day": "Sabbath" transliterates a Hebrew word that refers to a ceasing of activity or rest. In honor of the day when God rested from His creation of the world (Gen. 2:3), the Lord declared the seventh day of the week to be a special time of rest and remembrance for His people, which He incorporated into the Ten Commandments.


But hundreds of years of rabbinical teaching had added numerous unbearable and arbitrary restrictions to God's original requirement, one of which forbade any travel beyond 3,000 feet of one's home. (Num. 35:5; Jos. 3:4).


"Pluck the ears of corn": Travelers who did not take enough food for their journey were permitted by Mosaic Law to pick enough grain to satisfy their hunger (Deut. 23:24-25; see note on Matt. 12:2).


We see here, that they were on the move. Perhaps, they had not been eating and they saw this fresh, ripe corn. They did not stop to cook this, so they just shucked it and cleaned the corn silks off as they walked and ate these juicy kernels. There is a little more detailed account of this same thing in Luke.


Luke 6:1, "And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands."


The spiritual message that we must get from this is: The Word (food), is not always prepared for us. We have to do a little work digging (rubbing), the Word out before we can digest it.


Mark 2:24 "And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?"


"On the Sabbath that which is not lawful": Rabbinical tradition had interpreted the rubbing of grain in the hands (Luke 6:1), as a form of threshing and had forbidden it. Reaping for profit on the Sabbath was forbidden by Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:21).


Actually, the Pharisees' charge was itself sinful since they were holding their tradition on a par with God's Word (see notes on Matt. 15:2-9).


This reminds me so much of some of our churches today. Some churches have their own laws that you have to stick to, or you are just not allowed to be in that body.


Every church has its Pharisees: caught up so in the "don'ts" that it is very difficult to get anything going. These Pharisees pointed to the law and said you can't do this; you are breaking the Mosaic Law. They didn't even realize that Jesus was the law maker.


Mark 2:25 "And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him?"


"He said unto them, Have ye never read": Jesus' sarcasm pointed out the main fault of the Pharisees, who claimed to be experts and guardians of scripture, yet were ignorant of what it actually taught (Rom. 2:17-24).


"What David did": David and his companions were fleeing for their lives from Saul when they arrived at Nob, where the tabernacle was located at that time. Because they were hungry, they asked for food (1 Sam. 21:1-6).


Jesus here said, don't you even know what is in your own book of law? You profess to know everything about the book of law, and yet, you do not know this simple thing. The story of David going to the temple when he was running from Saul and getting five loaves of shewbread for him and his men is found (in First Samuel chapter 21).


These Pharisees did not realize that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.


Mark 2:26 "How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?"


"In the days of Abiathar the high priest": The phrase "in the days" can mean "during the lifetime." According to (1 Sam. 21:1), Ahimelech was the priest who gave the bread to David. Abiathar was Ahimelech's son, who later was the High-priest during David's reign.


Since Ahimelech died shortly after this incident (1 Sam. 22:19-20), it is likely that Mark simply added this designation to identify the well-known companion of David who later became the High-Priest along with Zadok (2 Sam. 15:35).


"The shewbread": Twelve loaves of unleavened bread (representing the twelve tribes of Israel), were placed on the table in the sanctuary and at the end of the week replaced with fresh ones. The old loaves were to be eaten only by the priests.


While it was not normally lawful for David and his companions to eat this consecrated bread, neither did God want them to starve, so nowhere does Scripture condemn them for eating (see note on Matt. 12:4).


Helping David caused problems for this priest with Saul, and he later fled and joined David in exile. This shewbread was the bread in the holy place on the table always before the Lord. This bread was sprinkled with incense when brought into the holy place and was eaten by the priests only. The new bread was brought each Sabbath to replace the old which was eaten.


This eating of the shewbread had sustained David in his time of need, and this is just what the disciples had done as well, eaten to sustain themselves.



Verses 27-28: Jesus' reasoning is that divine institutions on earth are to have a God-honoring, noble, and liberating function. Sabbath laws had for some degenerated into a mockery of God's intent. Jesus, "the Son of man" and "Lord ... of the Sabbath," having power to forgive sin, can also teach rightly regarding proper observance of the Jewish Sabbath. Jesus here touches a raw nerve, as the next incident shows.


Mark 2:27 "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"


"The Sabbath was made for man": God instituted the Sabbath to benefit man by giving him a day to rest from his labors and to be a blessing to him. The Pharisees turned it into a burden and made man a slave to their myriad of man-made regulations.


Man must cease labor one day a week to give his body a time to restore itself. If a man fails to rest one day in seven, he soon becomes sick and not able to go. When we stay too busy, we have a tendency to forget about God. On this day of rest from daily labor, we can tend to the needs of our souls. It gives us time to think about other things, besides just making a living.


We remember that there were exceptions made for necessity in the law. God allowed a man to free his animal, if he got in trouble on the Sabbath. This just shows that God is concerned about the needs of mankind more than He is interested in us dogmatically obeying the law.


Mark 2:28 "Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."


"Lord also of the Sabbath": Jesus claimed He was greater than the Sabbath, and thus was God. Based on that authority, Jesus could in fact reject the Pharisaic regulations concerning the Sabbath and restore God's original intention for Sabbath observance to be a blessing not a burden.


The Son of man is Lord of everything and everyone. We have mentioned before that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.


Philippians 2:10-11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


No further explanation is necessary. He is Lord of everything.


Mark Chapter 2 Continued Questions


1. Whose disciples who fasted came and asked why Jesus' disciples didn't fast?


2. What describes the attitude of the Pharisees?


3. When we fast, who are we to tell?


4. What did Jesus call Himself in verse 19?


5. When do people fast?


6. When will Jesus' disciples fast?


7. What did Jesus' disciples do when the authorities took Jesus?


8. What had they forgotten?


9. Why would a man not put a new piece of cloth in an old garment?


10. Why would you not put new wine in old bottles?


11. What is the spiritual message in the statement above?


12. Those who have always looked at the literal message in the Word will seldom see the ____________ _____________.


13. Who is easy to teach the spiritual message?


14. What did the disciples do, as they walked through the cornfield?


15. What day was it?


16. What does Luke 6:1 tell us about this story that was not in Mark?


17. What is the spiritual meaning of this?


18. Who complained about the disciples doing this on the Sabbath?


19. What are the Pharisees in the church doing today?


20. What Old Testament personality did Jesus remind them of?


21. What had he done that could have been judged a sin?


22. What happened to the priest that helped David?


23. What was the shewbread sprinkled with?


24. Who was the Sabbath made for?


25. Who is the Lord of Sabbath?





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Mark 3



Mark Chapter 3

Verses 1-6: Jesus' power continues to be manifest, this time causing strong negative reaction. This is the last of the 5 conflict episodes which began (in 2:1; 2:1-11; 13-17; 18-22; 23-28), and as such it gives a sense of climax to the growing antagonism between Jesus and the Jewish leaders.


In this encounter, Jesus gave the Pharisees a living illustration of scriptural Sabbath observance and His sovereign authority over both man and the Sabbath.


Mark 3:1 "And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand."


"Synagogue": The Jews' local places of assembly and worship (see notes on 1:21).


"Withered hand": This describes a condition of paralysis or deformity from an accident, a disease, or a congenital defect.


Jesus was critical of certain aspects of the Jewish religion of His time, but He remained faithful in weekly synagogue attendance.


(In Luke 6: 6), we read that this withered hand, was the man's right hand and it probably kept him from making a living for himself and his family. It seems that Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath when He was near enough to attend.


Mark 3:2 "And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse him."


"Accuse:" The Pharisees were not open to learning from Jesus, but only looked for an opportunity to charge Him with a violation of the Sabbath, and accusation they could bring before the Sanhedrin.


Sabbath regulations were extraordinarily detailed and often legalistic. Sabbath issues become a major battle ground for Jesus and His detractors.


We see here, that the scribes and Pharisees were following Jesus around so that they might find Him doing something that they could complain about. The Sabbath day was their favorite time, because anything that could be thought of as labor on that day was against the Mosaic Law.


Perhaps their jealousy of His ability to heal and deliver the oppressed drove them to this. At any rate, they watched His every move so that they could find fault.


Mark 3:3 "And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth."


Jesus would not let these scribes intimidate Him. When He saw the man in need, He boldly told him to come to Him. It made no difference that these scribes were looking on.


Mark 3:4 "And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace."


Jesus countered the Pharisees with a question that elevated the issue at hand from a legal to a moral problem.


"Is it lawful": A reference to the Mosaic Law. Jesus was forcing the Pharisees to examine their tradition regarding the Sabbath to see if it was consistent with God's Old Testament law.


"To do good ... evil ... save ... kill": Christ used a device common in the Middle East, He framed the issue in terms of clear-cut extremes. The obvious implication is that failure to do good or save a life was wrong and not in keeping with God's original intention for the Sabbath (see notes on 2:27; Matt. 12:10).


"But they held their peace": The Pharisees refused to answer Jesus' question, and by so doing implied that their Sabbath views and practices were false.


Based on the Old Testament alone, the answer would obviously be "to do good," even on the Sabbath. But religious tradition had added greatly to the Old Testament, in essence setting the Scripture aside for the sake of human rules (see 7:7).


Jesus did not wait for them to say something. He asked them a question that they could not answer. There was no way to criticize what He was doing when He put it this way. If they answered at all, they would have to agree that it was good to do good and to save life.


He only gave them two choices. So that they would not agree with what He was doing, they just didn't answer at all.


Mark 3:5 "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."


"Anger": Definite displeasure with human sin reveals a healthy, moral nature. Jesus' reaction was consistent with His divine nature and proved that He is the righteous Son of God. This king of holy indignation with sinful attitudes and practices was to be more fully demonstrated when Jesus cleansed the temple (11:15-18; Matt. 2:12; Luke 19:45-48).


"The hardness of their hearts": This phrase refers to an inability to understand because of a rebellious attitude (Psalm 95:8; Heb. 3:8, 15). The Pharisees' hearts were becoming more and more obstinate and unresponsive to the truth (16:14; Rom. 9:18).


Jesus again expresses strong displeasure (see 1:43.) But along with a certain anger comes "being grieved," connoting not censure but compassion.


We see here, that Jesus had no patience with those who were constantly finding fault with those who were trying to do good. He could look right into their hearts, and He didn't like what He saw. Their hearts were so hardened that they did not have compassion on those who could not help themselves.


Jesus was grieved so deeply that the people of the church (who should be seeking to do good), were just like the world and didn't care for the needy around them. He openly defied those cold hearted scribes and Pharisees and healed the man's hand right in front of them, Sabbath or not.


Notice that Jesus told the man to do something: to extend his hand. As an act of faith, he had to extend his hand showing that he believed it would be restored. Faith is important in receiving healing.


Mark 3:6 "And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him."


"The Pharisees ... took counsel": They absolutely refused to be persuaded by anything Jesus said and did (John 3:19), but instead were determined to kill Him. The Greek word for "conspiring" includes the notion of carrying out a decision already made, the Pharisees were simply discussing how to implement theirs.


"Herodians": This secular political party, which took its name from Herod Antipas and was strong in its support for Rome, opposed the Pharisees on nearly every issue. But were willing to join forces with them because both desperately wanted to destroy Jesus (see note on Matt. 22:16).


The "Pharisees" were in Jesus' time the most influential Jewish sect. Some, like Nicodemus in (John 3), gave Jesus a hearing. But many, perhaps most, were more zealous for their somewhat arbitrary rules than for the spirit of the Old Testament and for a personal relationship to God.


Subservience to a man-made code of ethics worked a spiritually deadly result. The Pharisees appear to have been at the vanguard of attempts to discredit Jesus.


They are joined here by the Herodians. This group, much smaller than the Pharisees, tended toward political opportunism. They would have perceived Jesus as a threat to the status quo of Roman rule, which benefited them.


It seems these Herodians and Pharisees (who had been enemies in the past), had now joined forces to oppose Jesus together. Jesus really did no physical labor when he healed this man with the withered hand. He spoke, and this man was restored anew.


Now, these jealous church leaders of that day were looking for some way to stop Jesus, because He was showing the weakness in their ministry.


Mark 3:7 "But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea,"


We see here, that Jesus had been away from Capernaum at an interior city. The Herodians were more prominent in the interior where Herod's headquarters were. The word had spread about Jesus' miracles, and this multitude had gathered from many miles around. Jesus had returned again to the sea of Galilee where, you remember, Peter had a home.


Mark 3:8 "And from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and [from] beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him."


In spite of His conflicts with the Pharisees, Jesus remained very popular with the ordinary people. Mark is the only gospel writer who at this point in Jesus' ministry noted that the masses came from all parts of Palestine to see and hear Him.


"Idumea": An area southeast of Judea mentioned only here in the New Testament and populated by many Edomites (originally descendants of Esau). By this time, it had become mostly Jewish in population and was considered a part of Judea.


"Beyond Jordan": The region east of the Jordan River, also called Perea, and ruled by Herod Antipas. Its population contained a large number of Jews.


"Tyre and Sidon": Two Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean coast, north of Galilee. Phoenicia as a whole was often designated by these cities (Jer. 47:4; Joel 3:4; Matt. 11:21; Acts 12:20).


I really believe the reason these two paragraphs were separated was to show that a multitude came from Galilee and Judea, and another multitude came from Tyre, and Sidon and, Jerusalem and all those cities listed in verse eight.


Mark 3:9 "And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him."


We see here, that there were so many people that Jesus had a small boat to stand by in readiness in the chance that these people would press on Him so greatly that it would overwhelm Him. He could minister from the boat if necessary.


Mark 3:10 "For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues."


"Plaques": Literally "a whip, a lash," sometimes translated "plagues," or "scourges." This metaphorically describes various painful, agonizing, physical ailments and illnesses.


We have discussed before how just touching Jesus' garment could heal as it did the woman with the issue of blood. Virtue went out from Jesus to the person healed each time. You can easily see how this could be so tiring, even for the Son of God.


Mark 3:11 "And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God."


"Unclean spirits": This refers to demons (see note on 1:23; Luke 4:41).


"Saw him": The tense of the Greek verb means there were many times when demons looked at Jesus and contemplated the truth of His character and identity.


"Thou art the Son of God" (1:24). The demons unhesitatingly affirmed the uniqueness of Jesus' nature, which Mark saw as clear proof of Jesus' deity.


We also have mentioned before, that the reason these unclean demon spirits recognized Jesus, was because they had been in heaven with Jesus before they made the terrible mistake of following Lucifer. They had been angels; but when they decided to follow Lucifer, they became demons (evil spirits). Notice that even evil spirits are subject to Jesus, and must bow.


Mark 3:12 "And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known."


"They should not make him known": Jesus always rebuked demons for their testimonies about Him. He wanted His teaching and actions, not the impure words of demons, to proclaim who He was (see note on 1:25; Acts 16:16-18).


Jesus seeks to keep His messianic identity somewhat hidden. (See 1:34, 44). This was not totally possible, nor always desirable (John 4:26). But it seems to have been Jesus' general policy not to prejudice the masses unduly in His favor, as easy as this would have been.


He sought the earnest commitment of true seekers for the living God, not merely hangers-on attaching themselves to a new and popular leader.


We see here, that Jesus did not want these people to follow Him because of the miracles or even because of these spirits telling them who He is, He wanted the message of grace to win them.


Mark 3:13 "And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth [unto him] whom he would: and they came unto him."


"Calleth unto him whom he would": The Greek verb "summoned" stresses that Jesus acted in His own sovereign interest when He chose the 12 disciples (John 15:16).


Jesus removed Himself from the masses of curiosity seekers and just called the ones to Him in the mountain whom He would. Unless the Holy Spirit draws the person, they will never come to God. It is God's will, however, that all of us come. In this case, He was calling the disciples.



Verses 14-15: The "twelve" doubtless represent in some new form the nation Israel with its 12 tribes. They have three functions: to be with Him (See Acts 1:21; 4:13), to be sent out to preach, and to share Jesus' uncanny mastery over physical and spiritual disorder.


Mark 3:14 "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,"


"Ordained twelve": Christ, by an explicit act of His will, formed a distinct group of 12 men who were among His followers (see note on Matt. 10:1). This new group constituted the foundation of His church (Eph. 2:20).


Mark 3:15 "And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:"


"Have power": This word is sometimes rendered "authority". Along with the main task of preaching, Jesus gave the 12 the right to expel demons (Luke 9:1).


This "ordained" carries much more power than what we think of as ordaining today. This means empowers to preach, heal and cast out devils. These men had not been in school training. This is a little like Jeremiah's call to minister. Jeremiah, as these 12 apostles, was not trained by the world to take over his job. Jesus touched them and prayed over each of them, and His virtue flowed into these disciples.


They were really just an extension of Him. They preached in His name, they healed in His name; they cast out demons in His name. The power was in His name. Just as God touched Jeremiah's lips and put the words in Jeremiah's mouth, Jesus touched the disciples and empowered them to minister.



Verses 16-19: A list of the 12 (see notes on Matt 10:2-4).


Mark 3:16 "And Simon he surnamed Peter;"


"Peter": From this point on (except in 14:37), Mark uses this name for Simon, though this is not when the designation was first given (John 1:42). Nor does it mark the complete replacement of the name Simon (Acts 15:14).


The name means "stone," and describes Peter's character and activities, namely his position as a foundation rock in the building of the church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:20).


Mark 3:17 "And James the [son] of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:"


"Sons of thunder": Mark defines the Aramaic term "Boanerges" for his Gentile readers. This name for the two brothers probably referred to their intense, outspoken personalities (compare 9:38; Luke 9:54).


Mark 3:18 "And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite,"


"Thaddeus": The only name that is not the same in all the New Testament lists of the 12 (Matt. 10:24; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). Luke and Acts call him "Judas the son of James," and John 14:22 refers to him as "Judas (not Iscariot)."


Mark 3:19 "And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into a house."


"Iscariot": This Hebrew term means "man of Kerioth," as in Kerioth-hezron, south of Hebron (Joshua 15:25).


We see here the chosen twelve. "Peter" means a rock. The Lord giving James and John this name "Boanerges" indicated that Jesus knew they both had the zeal and power to fulfill the great work He had for them to do. John, my favorite penman, was very bold in announcing Jesus as the Word and God (in John 1:1):


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."


This was also, the same John who was banished to the Isle of Patmos for speaking out so boldly for Christ. So many people wonder why Jesus chose Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew someone had to betray Him. He was obedient to the will of the Father even in choosing Judas as a disciple.


Mark Chapter 3 Questions


1. Where did Jesus encounter the man with the withered hand?


2. Which hand was withered?


3. Why is this important?


4. Who watched Jesus constantly?


5. Why were they watching this closely?


6. What was, probably, their problem?


7. What were the first two words Jesus said to the man?


8. What question did Jesus ask the scribes that they could not answer without trapping themselves?


9. What feeling did Jesus have toward these scribes?


10. Why was Jesus' heart grieved?


11. What did the man with the withered hand have to do to be restored?


12. What one word shows what we must have to be healed?


13. These Pharisees joined in with their unusual enemies against Jesus. Who were they?


14. Where did Jesus withdraw to?


15. Where did the multitudes come from to throng Jesus?


16. What did Jesus tell the disciples to do to insure Him from being thronged?


17. Why did they want to touch Him?


18. What did the unclean spirits do when they saw Jesus?


19. How did they know Him?


20. What did Jesus tell these evil spirits to do?


21. When Jesus went to the mountain, who came to Him?


22. How many did Jesus ordain?


23. What does the word "ordain" really mean here?


24. What was Jesus ordaining them to do?


25. How were they able to do all these things God had called them to do?


26. What other name did He give Simon?


27. What does it mean?


28. The name Boanerges that He gave James and John showed what about their personalities?


29. Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve?


30. Which is your favorite disciple? Explain.




Mark Chapter 3 Continued

Verses 20-35: Mark writes of three incidents of opposition to Jesus: among friends, scribes and family.


In (verses 20-21), Jesus' popular appeal continues unabated. But acquaintances seek to detain Him, having decided that He is mentally unsound. They are apparently unsuccessful, and quite mistaken.


Mark 3:20 "And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread."


"Cometh together again": This refers to Jesus' return to Capernaum (2:1).


We see here, that the magnitude of the ministry was such and the needs of the people were so great that Jesus would not stop to eat or to rest His body.


Mark 3:21 "And when his friends heard [of it], they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself."


"When his friends heard": In Greek, this expression was used in various ways to describe someone's friends or close associates. In the strictest sense, it meant family, which is probably the best understanding here.


"Lay hold on him": Mark used this same term elsewhere to mean the arrest of a person (6:17; 12:12; 14:1, 44, 46, 51). Jesus' relatives evidently heard the report of verse 20 and came to Capernaum to restrain Him from His many activities and bring Him under their care and control, all supposedly for His own good.


"He is beside himself": Jesus' family could only explain His unconventional lifestyle, with its willingness for others always to impose on Him, by saying He was irrational or had lost His mind.


These were well-meaning family and friends. They believed because Jesus was working so very hard and not taking time for eating, that He had driven Himself too far and was not thinking right. They tried to force Him to rest.


Preachers know this feeling as well. Well-meaning family and friends will get concerned about you and try to stop you from doing something that you know you must do. God will fill you with all the strength you need to fulfill the job He has chosen for you to do.


The enemies of the work are many times close friends and family. Just as Jesus went on without their approval, that is what we must do too.



Verses 22-30: Scribes (see 2:6-7), make a long journey to assess Jesus' work. Their verdict is negative.


Mark 3:22 "And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils."


"Scribes": Jewish scholars, also called lawyers, (mostly Pharisees), who were experts on the law and its application (see note on Matt. 2:4).


"Beelzebub" is a synonym for Satan.


These scribes (ministers), of that day realized that Jesus was able to cast out demons, and they were not able to cast them out. They were grasping for some kind of answer why He was able to cast out demons. They did not understand it, so they criticized. They even accused Jesus of being of the devil.


Mark 3:23 "And he called them [unto him], and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?"


"Parables": Jesus answered the scribes by making an analogy between well known facts and the truths He expounded (see note on 13:3).


Notice above, even though they were criticizing Jesus, they still came when He told them to. This speaking in parables was so only His followers would understand what He was saying. Not only how can Satan cast out Satan, but why would Satan cast out Satan?


This was probably, the most ridiculous statement they had made up until now. Notice that Jesus did not deny that Satan existed. He just said that Satan and Jesus were on opposite sides.


Mark 3:24-25 "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."


This was all saying the very same thing. Divide and conquer is just a simple way of saying this. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan are opposites. If Satan started throwing his own evil spirits out of his victims, they would no longer be victims. We can easily see that even Satan would not be so dumb.


This house divided is along the same line, but we see it so much in our society today. If mother and dad are not in agreement, they are headed for divorce and the tearing up of the home. Mother and dad should stand as one united, and then they two could withstand the onslaught of the devil. One can put a thousand to flight and two together can put ten thousand to flight.


Deuteronomy 32:30 "How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?"


You see, together we stand; divided, we fall.


Mark 3:26 "And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end."


"He cannot stand": An expression used only in Mark which refers to Satan's ultimate doom as head of the demonic world system (see notes on Rev. 20:1-10).


This was kind of like committing suicide. If He was against Himself, who was for Him?


Mark 3:27 "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house."


"Enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods": One must be stronger than Satan in order to enter his domain ("strong man's house"), bind him (restrain his action), and free ("plunder"), people ("his property"), from his control. Only Jesus had such power over the devil (Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14-15).


The two things that Satan is the most afraid of are the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus. This is what defeated him at the cross. It is with the Spirit of God, in the name of Jesus, and through the power of His shed blood that we cast out demons.



Verses 28-30: "Verily" translates the Greek amen. This manner of speaking has the effect of solemnifying Jesus' words by implicitly invoking God's sanction of them. Jesus thereby claims to be God's very spokesman.


"Said" (or, "they kept saying,"; verse 30), denotes repetition, showing the minds of men who should have known better being tragically closed to God's presence in Jesus. The sin Jesus warns against consists in a deliberate and psychologically irrevocable spurning of God's redeeming and cleansing power, going as far as to see in Jesus, the incarnation of a demon.


Profaning even God's name is a deadly business (Exodus 20:7). But unforgivable, says Jesus, is the callousness of heart that leads to such debased spiritual sensitivity that God's Word and deed through Jesus, can be trodden so ruthlessly underfoot. Such a perverse heart cuts itself off from saving grace. There can be no reconciliation. God gives the guilty party over to that ruler whom the man has willfully chosen to elevate above the Son of God.


Mark 3:28 "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:"


"Verily I say unto you": Mark's first use of this expression, which occurs throughout the gospels, was employed as a formula that always introduced truthful and authoritative words from Jesus (6:11; 8:12; 9:1, 41; 10:15, 29; 11:23; 12:43; 13:30; 14:9, 18, 25, 30).


(Verses 28-29), are probably the most controversial two verses in the entire Bible. Many people believe that they have already sinned this unforgivable sin against the Holy Ghost. I know people who believe that because they have cursed and had the Lord's name attached to the curse words, that they have committed the unforgivable sin.


Some believe because of the place this is located in the Scriptures that these scribes and Pharisees committed this sin when they said that the miracles Jesus was doing was from Satan. There are others who believe to deny that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is for our day is an unforgivable sin. I personally believe none of the above.


I believe (verse 28), is true when it says ALL sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men. That is a separate statement from verse 29. My own personal belief is that the sin can only be committed at death. This Holy Ghost is the Spirit Jesus sends as a comforter to us to teach and help us. When we reject Jesus Christ as our Savior and die in that state, we have totally rejected the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).


Mark 3:29 "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:"


"He that shall blaspheme ... hath never forgiveness": Whenever someone deliberately and disrespectfully slanders the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in pointing to the Lordship and redemption of Jesus Christ, he completely negates and forfeits any possibility of present or future forgiveness of sins (see note on Matt. 12:31), because he has wholly rejected the only basis of God's salvation.


I believe this total rejection of Jesus and the Holy Ghost is what this blasphemy is. I believe as long as there is breath in your body, and you use that breath to ask Jesus to forgive you and send the Holy Ghost, He will. We are all in danger of eternal damnation until we repent and receive Jesus in our hearts.


Mark 3:30 "Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."


These men had totally rejected Jesus and unless they repented, this will be their fate. Even Paul said these terrible things for a time, until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.



Verses 31-32: Like His friends (verses 20-21), His family wants to temper Jesus' by now quite controversial operations with some demands or advice.


Mark 3:31-32 "There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him." "And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee."


"His brethren and his mother": Jesus' earthy family (see notes on verse 21; Matt. 12:46).



Verses 33-35: Mutual obedience to God comprises a tie that binds more closely than mere bloodlines.


Mark 3:33-35 "And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?" "And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."


Jesus made a decisive and comprehensive statement on true Christian discipleship. Such discipleship involves a spiritual relationship that transcends the physical family and is open to all who are empowered by the Spirit of God to come to Christ in repentance and faith and enabled to live a life of obedience to God's Word.


We see this whole scene was set up so that Jesus might teach us about the family of God. All believers in Jesus Christ are sisters and brothers in the family of God. Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father, but we also are children of the Father through adoption. We have been grafted in to the tree. Jesus is our elder brother.


We are members of the family because of our faith in Jesus Christ. We have been purchased with a price and have been presented to the Father by Jesus Christ our Savior.


Romans: 8:14-17: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."


Our family, through blood line here on this earth, is what Mary and Jesus' half-brothers were to Him. Jesus was explaining that the eternal family (your sisters and brothers in Christ), are the true family, the family of God.


Mark Chapter 3 Continued Questions


1. There was such a multitude they could not ______ ___________.


2. Why did Jesus' friends and family try to lay hold on Him?


3. What were they trying to force Him to do?


4. What lesson can we modern preachers learn from this?


5. Who did the scribes that came from Jerusalem say He had?


6. How did they say He cast out devils?


7. What question did Jesus ask them when He called them to Him?


8. Why did He speak in parables?


9. What was the most ridiculous statement these scribes had made?


10. What happens if a kingdom is divided against itself?


11. What can we relate this "house divided" to in our society today?


12. In Deuteronomy 32:30, we find that one can put ___ ___________ to flight and two can put _____ _____________ to flight.


13. What would happen to Satan if he were divided?


14. How is the only way a man can enter into a strong man's house?


15. What are the two things we, Christians, must use to come against Satan and his demons?


16. In verse 28, which sins will be forgiven?


17. In verse 29, what is the exception?


18. What is the most controversial issue in the Bible?


19. Name two beliefs (other than what the author believes) that are thought to be the sin against the Holy Ghost.


20. What did Jesus send the Holy Ghost to believers as?


21. What does the author believe is the sin against the Holy Ghost?


22. Who was a famous penman of the Bible who rejected Jesus and the Holy Ghost until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus?


23. Who came to see Jesus and called for Him to come outside to see them?


24. What question did Jesus ask the people concerning this?


25. Who is the family of God made up of?


26. What was the purpose in Jesus' mother and brethren coming to see Him?


27. In Romans 8:14, we read that who are the sons of God?


28. What do we call the Father when we have been adopted?


29. Verse 17 of Romans, chapter 8 tells us that we are joint ______________with Jesus.





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Mark 4



Mark Chapter 4

Verses 1-34: Jesus extends His influence by His teaching.


In (verses 1-20), is the parable of the sower. A "parable is a brief story that makes a comparison. It typically uses an illustration from everyday life to bring out a spiritual truth.


Mark 4:1 "And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land."


"Sat": The typical rabbinical position for teaching; and more practically, Jesus may have sat because of the rocking of the boat in the water.


Once before, Jesus had called for a ship to come so that He could get away from the multitude of people on shore. This multitude was so great that He was to get into a ship and cast out just a little way to minister. There are a number of reasons why this is good. One reason is that the voice carries better across water, and Jesus' voice would be magnified with the water, so this huge group could hear.


Mark 4:2 "And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,"


"Parables": A common method of teaching in Judaism, which Jesus employed to conceal the truth from unbelievers while explaining it to His disciples (verse 11; see note on Matt. 13:3).


"Doctrine" refers here to the act of teaching, as well as to the content.


We see here, that this doctrine was of Jesus. Jesus was teaching in parables so that people could not receive His message in their minds but through their spirits. The Holy Spirit teaches the Christians all truths.



Verses 3-8: This parable depicts the teaching of the gospel throughout the world and the various responses of people to it. Some will reject it; some will accept it for a brief time but then fall away; yet some will believe and will lead others to believe.


Mark 4:3 "Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:"


"Hearken" means give me your full attention. "Behold" here, was telling those in attendance (and us, as well), to see with our inner man. He in essence was saying, "You must look beyond what I am saying literally and look into the spiritual to understand what I am about to tell you".


Notice also, the simplicity of this message. These people were all familiar with growing things and could easily relate to someone sowing seed.


Mark 4:4 "And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up."


"By the way side": Either a road near a field's edge or a path that traversed a field, both of which were hard surfaces due to constant foot traffic.


Jesus is the great sower of the seed (Word of God). Not all who hear this Word will receive it. This is an explanation by Jesus about the different way the world and its people receive the Word of God. The sower is the same in all cases (Jesus). The seed (the Word of God), is the same in all cases.


It is in the way it is received that is different. Jesus Himself would come back and explain in detail what this parable meant, and it will help us in other parables to look for the hidden meaning. Not all who hear the gospel receive it. Satan is depicted as the fowl of the air. Satan has come to steal and destroy the Word.


Mark 4:5 "And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:"


"Stony ground": Beds of solid rock, usually limestone, lying under the surface of good soil. They are a little too deep for the plow to reach, and too shallow to allow a plant to reach water and develop a decent root system in the small amount of soil that covers them.


Mark 4:6 "But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away."


All of us who have been in church for any length of time have seen the type of person who is indicated above. An evangelist comes through town, and he is so thrilled with the message he goes down front and makes big commitments to God.


In a few days when his friends have laughed at him and he runs into hardships, he falls by the wayside. On fire for God for a few days, but his fire went out.


Mark 4:7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit."


"Thorns": Tough, thistle-bearing weeds that use up the available space, light, and water which good plants need.


These are people who are trying to keep one foot in the world and one in church. They still lust for the things of the world while claiming to be Christians.


Mark 4:8 "And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred."


"Increased ... some a hundred": An average ration of harvested grain to what had been sown was 8 to 1, with a 10 to 1 ratio considered exceptional. The yields Jesus refers to are like an unbelievable harvest.


We see here, Christians who receive the truth and live daily upright lives. These Christians are in for all of eternity. Troubles and lust of worldly goods will not turn their heads. They will follow Jesus whatever the cost. These are fruit bearers, messengers who tell others of Jesus and add to God's kingdom to the best of their ability.


Some of them just get a few saved, but some of them get hundreds saved. Perhaps, the different amounts have to do with where they are located and how many they have opportunity to witness to.


Mark 4:9 "And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."


"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear": On the surface, this is a call for the listener to be attentive and discern the meaning of His analogy. Yet more than human understanding is necessary to interpret the parable, only those who have been redeemed will have the true meaning explained to them by the divine Teacher.


Jesus was telling them here, to open the ears of their understanding; the inner ears. He was saying, receive these words inside of you and think about it until you understand. These messages in parables are not for the world to understand, but are to be understood within us from the teachings of the Holy Spirit.


Mark 4:10 "And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable."


The twelve do not grasp Jesus' meaning. Mark does not glorify the Twelve; they often lack understanding or are out of step with Jesus. This is part of what gives Mark its ring of genuineness, since a story embellished by the later church would surely paint more complimentary portraits of the apostles.


One thing we need to realize here, is that the disciples at this time, had not been filled with the Holy Spirit. You remember what happened to them on the day of Pentecost. Some of them had not been with Jesus very long, and perhaps, were not even really familiar with the books of the law.


We know that there were more than just 12 disciples. There were 70, and by the time of Pentecost, there were 120. These 12 were the closest to Jesus and were actually the foundation of Jesus' outreach ministry.


Mark 4:11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:"


"Mystery ... parables": A "mystery" in the New Testament refers to something previously hidden and unknown but revealed in the New Testament (see notes on 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:4-6).


In context, the subject of the mystery is the kingdom of heaven (see note on Matt. 3:2), which Jesus communicates in the form of parables. Thus, the mystery is revealed to those who believe, yet it remains concealed to those who reject Christ and His gospel (see note on Matt. 13:11).


"But unto them that are without": Those who are not followers of Christ.


In the New Testament, a "mystery" is not a decipherable puzzle but a profound spiritual truth, which God is just now revealing to whomever He chooses. The Twelve are evidently regarded as being receptive to the deeper meaning or application of the parable just related. In this sense the parable has a positive aim: to reveal a mystery of God's working.


On the other hand, the parable obscures its meaning to those who are outside, who evidently lack the spiritual responsiveness for Jesus to divulge His story's full import.


The secrets of God are just revealed to the believers. Those that seek will find. The Bible is written in such a manner that just casual reading does not reveal the great mysteries of God. You can read the same Scripture 20 times, and each time God will reveal just a little bit more to you.


I have spent many years studying the Bible and even in doing these lessons, I have seen things that I never saw before. I believe the Lord reveals as much as you can handle at the time. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. God does not want us to accept Him with our minds. He wants our hearts. He wants us to have faith in things we cannot see with the physical eye.



Verses 12-20: Jesus interprets the parable. The four soils represent four kinds of people who hear the gospel.


(1) Unresponsive people, "they by the way side," fail to respond to the seed or "work" (gospel) sown, so "Satan" quickly removes it lest they be saved (Luke 8:12).


(2) Impulsive people, the "stony ground," are those who "immediately receive" (verse 16), the gospel, but not counting the cost, "have no root" (spiritual reality), "in themselves" (verse 17). They believe for a while (Luke 8:13), but soon are "offended" (verse 17; defect from the truth), because of "persecution". Their rejection of the gospel is as speedy as their reception of it.


(3) Preoccupied people, those "among thorns," allow legitimate matters ("cares of this world"), and illegitimate matters ("deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things"), to take priority over the gospel, and


(4) Some people, "good ground, hear" and "receive" (take to heart), the gospel, which bears the fruits of faith, obedience, and fidelity in them.


Mark 4:12 "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them."


"That seeing" (see note on Matt. 13:13). Unlike Matthew, which specifically quotes (Isa. 6:9-10), Mark quotes Jesus as giving the substance of what Isaiah wrote in that text.


"They may see, and not perceive": The implication is that unbelievers do not want to turn from sin (see notes on Matt. 13:3, 13).


You see, if everyone could fully understand the Scriptures, many would repent and come to God because it is the practical thing to do, and not because they love God. This is not what the Lord wants. He wants to be our Savior, but He also wants to be Lord of our lives. He must be the center of everything, or He will not be anything.


Religion of the mind is lukewarm religion. Jesus said He will spew us out of His mouth if we are lukewarm. We must be on fire for God to please Him.


Mark 4:13 "And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? And how then will ye know all parables?"


"All parables": Understanding the parable of the sower was to be key in the disciple's ability to discern the meaning of Jesus' other parables of the kingdom (verses 21-34).


This is a very good question. The Bible itself, has hidden meanings throughout. It is the diligent student who does not mind digging who finds the treasures in the Word.



Verses 14-20: Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower, who is in fact Jesus Himself (Matt. 13:37), and anyone who proclaims the gospel.


Mark 4:14 "The sower soweth the word."


"The word": (Luke 8:11), says it is the "word of God," and (Matt. 13:19), calls it the "word of the kingdom." It is the salvation gospel (see note on Matt. 13:19).


Mark 4:15 "And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts."


We see above again, that the Word of God never varies. It goes out for all to hear. The difference in the results comes about by those who hear the Word. We see here, in the first instance where the fowls eat it up. This message is never received. The message goes out, but the person is too calloused by things of the world to even receive it.


Mark 4:16 "And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;"


"Receive it with gladness": An enthusiastic, emotional, yet superficial response to the gospel that does not take into account the cost involved.


In the second instance above, the stony ground indicated a shallow person. He received the Word and may even come forward for salvation, but the very first sign of any problems, he drops out.


Mark 4:17 "And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."


"Have no root": Because the person's heart is hard, like the rocky ground (see note on verse 5), the gospel never takes root in the individual's soul and never transforms his life, there is only a temporary, surface change.


"Affliction or persecution": Not the routine difficulties and trouble of life, but specifically the suffering, trials and persecutions which result from one's association with God's Word.


"Are offended": The Greek word also means "to cause offense," from which comes the English word "scandalize." All those meanings are appropriate since the superficial believer is offended, stumbles, and falls away when his faith is put to the test (John 8:31; 1 John 2:19).


Mark 4:18 "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,"


In the third instance, the thorns indicate to me, that this Word sown goes into an area where there are many worldly people. In fact, many of our churches fall into that category today. This person, instead of coming out of all this worldliness, gets caught up in it and importance in the community.


Mark 4:19 "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."


"Cares of this world": Literally "the distractions of the age." A preoccupation with the temporal issues of this present age blinds a person to any serious consideration of the gospel (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16).


"Deceitfulness of riches": Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal, spiritual concerns (1 Tim. 6:9-10).


These things become more important than studying the Word. This person is finally overcome with lust for these worldly things. None of these people above produce any extra members for God's kingdom. They bear no fruit at all.


Mark 4:20 "And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive [it], and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."


"Hear ... receive ... bring forth fruit": Three Greek present participles mark continuing action. Believers, in contrast to unbelievers, hear God's Word because God allows them to hear it. They "accept" it, they understand and obey it because God opens their mind and heart and transforms their lives. The result is that they produce spiritual fruit.


We can easily see that this fourth person is what we all need to be. We not only receive the Word for ourselves, but go out and share it with others and lead them into full knowledge of God and His salvation.


Some of us may not come in contact with many people, and we may not produce but 30. Others who have an opportunity to witness to large groups may get a hundred saved. The important thing is to bring as many into the kingdom as you possibly can. Be a fruit bearer for God.


Mark Chapter 4 Questions


1. Why did Jesus enter into a ship to speak to the people?


2. What help is the water to the voice?


3. How did Jesus teach them?


4. Why did Jesus use this manner of teaching?


5. Who teaches the Christian all truth?


6. What does hearken mean?


7. What was Jesus saying with the word, "Behold", here?


8. Why did Jesus speak to them about sowing seed?


9. What happened to the seed in the first parable?


10. Who do the fowls symbolize?


11. What does the seed symbolize?


12. Who is the sower?


13. In the second example, where did the seed fall?


14. Why did it spring up immediately?


15. Why did it wither away?


16. Where did the third seed fall?


17. What happened to this seed?


18. In verse 8, the seed fell where?


19. What was the difference in the results?


20. What type of person does this represent?


21. What did Jesus tell them to do in verse 9?


22. Messages in parables are for who to understand?


23. When did the disciples ask Jesus what the parables meant?


24. Who is it given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God?


25. What has the author discovered about reading the Bible?


26. If God does not want our minds, what does He want?


27. Is it a different message that brings different results?


28. Which one of these four are you?




Mark Chapter 4 Continued

Verses 21-23: Here is another practical illustration.


"Candle" refers to a small lamp. Jesus' point (in verses 21 and 22), seems to be that God's in-breaking kingdom, which it is Jesus' task to reveal in God's time, must for now be partially hidden. But the time will come when it is gloriously revealed.


Mark 4:21 "And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?"


"Candle": This refers to a very small clay bowl made with a spout to hold a wick and containing a few ounces of oil that served as the fuel.


"A candlestick": In common homes, this was simply a shelf protruding from the wall. Wealthier homes might have separate, ornate stands (Rev. 1:12).


Jesus was just making an example of how foolish it is to hide the Light of the world. This lamp symbolizes the divine Truth that is caught up in the person of Jesus Christ. A candlestick is to give light. Covering the very thing that produces light would be very foolish.


Christians are the bearers of the Light of Jesus to the lost world. We must shine forth, not cover the Light the Lord has given us.


Mark 4:22 "For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad."


"Nothing hid ... manifested": The purpose in keeping something hidden is so that one day it can be revealed. Jesus' teaching was never intended to be just for inner circle of followers. It would be the responsibility of the disciples to communicate the gospel of the kingdom to the world at large (Matt. 28:19-20).


Much was hidden before Jesus came. The way into the Holy of Holies was opened when Jesus died on the cross, and the curtain was torn from the top to the bottom. This tells us that Jesus has opened the way to God the Father for us.


The Scriptures are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit of God. The hidden things of God are revealed through Jesus Christ.


Mark 4:23 "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."


Again, He was speaking of the understanding of man being opened. This was speaking of listening carefully and understanding.



Verses 24-25: This may be paraphrased: "Give careful attention to what you hear. For according to the proportion of study given God's Word, a corresponding amount of knowledge will be given you, and generously multiplied at that."


The point is that God's truth, instead of being divinely hidden from man (verses 21-22), will be understood in proportion to one's attention to and study of it.


Mark 4:24 "And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given."


"With what measure ye mete": The spiritual results which the disciples realized were to be based on the amount of effort they put forth; they would reap as they had sown.


"Shall more be given": The one who has learned spiritual truth and applied it diligently will receive even more truth to faithfully apply.


More than ever before, it is very important what you listen to. The brain is like a computer, and everything that goes into the brain is recorded. We must filter out all the dirty movies, the rock music with its suggestive lyrics, and even much conversation of the general public; because it is spiced with cursing.


The information that we receive into our brains can be built upon, so we must make sure that it is absolute truth. The more we receive the truth, the more we build upon it. The Bible says that we must seek to find. It is amazing how much extra knowledge we can acquire from just one extra hour in the Bible.


If we desire to learn the truths in the Bible, the Holy Spirit of God will teach us. Whatever you do, study and memorize as many Scriptures as you can. We see here, that if we preach (mete), what we do know, God will fill us with more and more that we can pass on. It never ends. He just fills us over and over again.


Mark 4:25 "For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath."


This is just saying that the knowledge God has given you must be used. If you never recollect a Scripture, pretty soon you couldn't remember it even if you tried. If you use it frequently, then you will add more and more to it all the time.



Verses 26-29: The point of this parable is that God causes the gospel to bear fruit and His kingdom to grow. Just how He does these things we do not fully understand.


This parable is recorded only by Mark and complements the parable of the sower by explaining in more depth the results of spiritual growth accomplished in good soil.


Mark 4:26 "And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;"


"Kingdom of God" (see note on 1:15).


Remember the seed was the Word of God. If we scatter that Word out, we may not see the results right now, but on harvest day there will be those who have received that Word and are counted in the kingdom, because of that Word that was spread.


Mark 4:27 "And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how."


Many times, we do not know that we have said something about the Lord that has influenced their lives. We don't always know that the Lord is working in someone's life when He is. By the foolishness of preaching, men are saved. This means foolish to the world.


Two or three different people may think they have ministered to a person to no avail; but when you least expect it, he comes into the kingdom. We know not how, but it is part of God's plan; just like the seed in the verse above.


Mark 4:28-29 "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." "But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."


We see in verse 28 and 29 above, the life of an individual Christian, and also the growth of a church. A person, when he first receives the Word of God (seed), is not a full grown Christian. In the meantime, we must patiently await and grow until harvest.


"Putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come": When the grain is ripe, the sower of the seed must harvest the crop. There are two possible interpretations of this unexplained parable. It could be referring to the entire scope of the kingdom, from the time Jesus sowed the gospel message until the final harvest in the future.


His disciples would continue the work of presenting the gospel that would eventually yield a harvest. The better interpretation pictures the gospel working in lives. After the gospel is presented, the Word of God works in the individual heart, sometimes slowly, until the time when God reaps the harvest in that individual and saves him.


Verses 30-32: The central truth here is: Although God's work in Jesus currently is very small, apparently insignificant, and making little visible headway, His kingdom will grow eventually worldwide and have global impact.


Mark 4:30 "And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?"


The physical heaven has no comparison here on this earth. Heaven far surpasses anything on this earth. This perhaps, could be speaking of the kingdom of God's people.


Even while we are on the earth, we Christians make up the kingdom of God on the earth. We are His kingdom here. It is very peculiar how the Christian population grows. One gets saved, and then that one draws several more; and then the first thing you know, there are millions of Christians.


Mark 4:31 "[It is] like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:"


"A grain of mustard seed": A reference to the common black mustard plant. The leaves were used as a vegetable and the seed as a condiment. It also had medicinal benefits.


"Is less than": The mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds in existence, but it was in comparison to all the other seeds the Jews sowed in Israel.


When you stop and think about it, it is amazing how one Jesus Christ about 2,000 years ago started what has grown into literally millions of Christians today. The seed that was planted was the Word of God, Jesus Christ. God's church started first with Jesus Christ, then the twelve, and look what it has grown into today.


Mark 4:32 "But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it."


"Fowls of the air": While not a tree in the truest sense of the word, the mustard shrub has been known to grown as large as 15 feet high and to have the properties of a tree, such as having branches large enough for birds to nest in.


The tree represents the sphere of salvation, which would grow so large that it would provide shelter, protection, and benefit to people (see note on Matt. 13:32). Even unbelievers have been blessed by association with the gospel and the power of God in salvation. Christians have been a benediction to the world (see note on 1 Cor. 7:14).


Every country has been touched by this Word. In South America, the mustard tree grows so big that a man on horseback can ride under the branches. This is really minor however, to the true meaning of this Scripture about the humble beginning of the church of Jesus Christ, and how it has grown into millions of believers.



Verses 33-34: This is a summary statement. Jesus' indirect method of teaching created interest and summoned to decision, while yet leaving time to reflect and decide. The parables are at once both a sort of judgment on the hearers' spiritual dullness and an expression of God's active willingness to enlighten and save.


This conclusion to Mark's account of Jesus' parables highlights Mark's recording only representative samples of all the parables Jesus taught.


Mark 4:33 "And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear [it]."


The multitudes were not yet ready for more direct truth about Jesus or the kingdom of God, so in grace, Jesus gave them just enough information to spark their curiosity.


Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."


"Without a parable spake he not unto them": On that particular day, Jesus spoke to the larger crowd only in parables. This method of teaching left unbelievers with riddles and kept them from being forced to believe or disbelieve Him, they could make no decision to follow Him since they did unto understand what He taught.


These parables, as we said before, were spoken so that the unbelieving world would not understand what He was saying. The only ones who did understand were the ones to whom He chose to reveal it. He explained every parable in detail to His disciples.



Verses 4:35 - 5:43: Here Jesus takes His disciples from the classroom to the laboratory. Having just taught that God's power will cause His kingdom to grow to worldwide proportion and influence (4:30-32). Jesus now performs four miracles that demonstrate this divine might. God's power is seen overcoming


(1) The danger of a storm (4:35-41);


(2) Demons in a victim possessed (5:1-20);


(3) Disease in a woman physically ravished (5:21-34); and


(4) The death of a little girl (5:35-43).


Verses 35-41: This account demonstrates Jesus' unlimited power over the natural world.


Jesus stills the storm. In the Old Testament, such power resides only in God (Psalms 65:7; 107:29).


Mark 4:35 "And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side."


"The same day", spoken of here, probably means the same day that He spoke these parables. They dismissed the multitude, and Jesus climbed into the little ship that He probably used to preach from before.


"Unto the other side": Jesus and His disciples were on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. To escape the crowds for a brief respite, Jesus wanted to go to the eastern shore, which had no large cities and therefore fewer people.


Mark 4:36-37 "And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships." "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full."


It is not unusual for a strong wind to come up suddenly on the Sea of Galilee. Many fishermen through the years have lost their lives because of the sea. All of these little ships were having problems. Many had followed Jesus into the sea in small boats.


"Great storm of wind": Wind is a common occurrence on that lake, about 690 feet below sea level and surrounded by hills. The Greek word can also mean "whirlwind." In this case, it was a storm so severe that it took on the properties of a hurricane (see note on Matt. 8:24). The disciples, used to being on the lake in the wind, thought this storm would drown them (verse 38).


Mark 4:38 "And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?"


"He ... was ... asleep": Jesus was so exhausted from a full day of healing and preaching, even that storm could not wake Him up (see note on Matt. 8:24).


You must remember that Jesus' flesh was of Mary. In the flesh, He got tired, and that was why He sent the multitude away and cast out into the sea to rest His body; and also that He might show that He is Lord of the sea, as well. Jesus knew no fear as these disciples did. Jesus was not concerned about the high waves for Himself.


Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."


"Peace, be still": Literally "be silent, be muzzled." Storms normally subside gradually, but when the Creator gave the order, the natural elements of this storm ceased immediately.


Jesus is Peace. He is the King of Peace. Jesus is in total authority over everything in this world. Land, sea, air, and under the earth, as well. When He speaks, it must obey.


Mark 4:40 "And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"


Jesus constantly questions in order to spur people to deeper trust (see 2:8, 19, 25-26; 3:4, 23, 33; 4:13, 21, 30).


Fear is not of God. Faith is the opposite of fear. Jesus scolded them for doubting. They should have known, if they had truly known Jesus, that no harm would come to them as long as Jesus was with them.


Mark 4:41 "And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"


"They feared exceedingly": This was not fear of being harmed by the storm, but a reverence for the supernatural power Jesus had just displayed. The only thing more terrifying than having a storm outside the boat was having God in the boat!


"What manner of man is this ... ?" This statement betrayed the disciples' wonder at the true identity of Jesus.


The fear must have been a mixture of reverential awe and real fright, it would be chillingly eerie to witness the instantaneous dissipation of a violent storm.


That is the secret. He is not a man at all. He is God the Word housed in the body of a man. I have used this Scripture so much, but it tells us that Jesus is Lord of all. (Philippians 2:10), tells us that Jesus is Lord of everything.


Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;"


Mark Chapter 4 Continued Questions


1. Where is the natural place to put a candle?


2. This Light symbolizes the divine truth that is caught up in _______________.


3. What is going to happen to things that are hidden?


4. When was the way opened for Christians to God the Father?


5. What does Jesus tell us to do with our ears?


6. What does this really mean?


7. How will measure be made to us?


8. What is our responsibility toward what goes in our brain?


9. What can you compare the brain to?


10. What will happen to those who have?


11. What did Jesus liken the kingdom of God to?


12. Can you explain in detail what makes a seed grow?


13. What is the seed symbolic of?


14. What kind of foolishness are men saved by?


15. The earth bringeth forth fruit of _____________________.


16. When is the harvest?


17. Who makes up the kingdom of God on earth?


18. What kind of seed is supposed to be the smallest?


19. What does it grow into?


20. What does it symbolize?


21. When Jesus had finished the parables, what did He do?


22. Was Jesus' ship the only ship that went into the sea?


23. What happened that frightened the disciples?


24. What was Jesus doing on the ship?


25. Why did Jesus need to rest?


26. When they awakened Jesus, what did He do?


27. What question did Jesus ask the disciples?


28. What is fear?


29. What surprised even the disciples about Jesus?


30. What is the secret of Jesus?





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Mark 5



Mark Chapter 5

Mark 5:1 "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes."


"The sea" is the Lake of Galilee, about 12-1/2 miles long by 7-1/2 miles wide.


This place of the "Gadarenes" is on the side of the Sea of Galilee across from Capernaum. The word Gadarenes most likely refers to the small town of Gersa (or Khersa, Kursi; see note on Matt. 8:28), which was located midway on the eastern shore.


"Country of" refers to the general region that included Gersa and was under the jurisdiction of the city of Gadara, which was located some 6 miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee.


Mark 5:2 "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,"


"A man with an unclean spirit": Mark mentions only one of the demon-possessed men, who was probably the more prominent of the two (Matt. 8:28). The "tombs", common dwelling places for the demented of that day, were burial chambers carved out of rock hillsides on the outskirts of town.


If the man and his possible companion were Jews, for who touching dead bodies was a great defilement, living in such an area was an added torment.


"Unclean spirit": This refers to the demon who was controlling the man. Such spirits in themselves were morally filthy and caused much harm for those whom they possessed (see notes on 1:32-34; Luke 4:33, 36; 7:21; 8:2).


Mark 5:3 "Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:"


"No man could bind him": Multiple negatives are used in the Greek text to emphasize the man's tremendous strength.


This country of the Gadarenes had a place of caves where they put those who were mentally deranged. This insane man was living in the caves used as entombment for the dead. This man was obviously possessed of an evil spirit so ferocious that it was impossible to chain him.


It appears that like most insane people, this man was not only harmful to others, but to himself as well. This man's malady, as many insane people of our day, was a spiritual problem. Sometime during his life unclean spirits had entered into him, and now, they were in total control of him.


This man really had no life. Being possessed of these evil spirits caused him to be totally alienated from society.


Mark 5:4 "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him."


"Fetters and chains": "Fetters" (probably metal or perhaps in part, cord or rope), were used to restrain the feet and "chains" were metal restraints for the rest of the body.


This so many times is true of the insane. Society tries to lock them up away from everyone else to keep them from harming others and themselves. There are no answers by man for curing this.


Mark 5:5 "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."


"Crying ... cutting himself with stones": "Crying" describes a continual unearthly scream uttered with intense emotion. The "stones" likely were rocks made of flint with sharp, jagged edges.


There really is no hope available for these people, aside from Jesus Christ. Usually, they wind up as suicide victims, because they can't live with others or themselves. These evil spirits that are called insanity actually torment the victim. Not all, but most insanity is actually being possessed by demons or evil spirits.


Mark 5:6 "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,"


Not "worshiped" in the full sense. The idea is that he knelt or prostrated himself before Jesus.


Mark 5:7 "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not."


"What have I to do with thee": A common expression of protest (see note on 1:24).


"Son of the most high God": The demons knew that Jesus was deity, the God-man. "Most High God" was an ancient title used by both Jews and Gentiles to identify the one, true and living God of Israel and distinguish Him from all false idol gods (Gen. 14:18-20; Num. 24:16; Deut. 32:8; Psalms 18:13; 21:7; Isa. 14:14; Dan. 3:26; Luke 1:32; Heb. 7:1).


"I adjure thee by God ... torment me not" (see note on 8:29). Mark adds "I implore you," which shows the demon tried to have Jesus soften the severity of his inevitable fate (James 2:19).


Probably this demoniac man had been watching the boat as it came across the water. The man ran to Jesus and fell down and worshipped Him. Even the demons bow at Jesus' feet. All are subject to Him. This voice that came from the man was the voice of these unclean spirits. They were demons (fallen angels).


They were fully aware that Jesus has power over them. You see again that they know who Jesus is. They do not want to be put in the lake of fire, which they know is their final home.


Mark 5:8 "For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit."


The Greek verb is in the imperfect tense, he was saying, as though the demoniac had interrupted our Lord even while the words were in the act of being uttered.


"You unclean spirit": It is noticeable that our Lord first speaks as if the men were oppressed by a single demon only, and that it is in the answer of the man himself that we learn that their name was Legion. On the man's use of the word "Legion" (see Note on Matthew 8:29).


Mark 5:9 "And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many."


"What is thy name": Most likely, Jesus asked this in view of the demon's appeal not to be tormented. However, He did not need to know the demon's name in order to expel him. Rather, Jesus posted the question to bring the reality and complexity of this case into the open.


"Legion" would mean simply a vast number. A legion was a Roman army unit consisting of as many as six thousand soldiers. Such a name denotes that the man was controlled by an extremely large number of militant evil spirits, a truth reiterated by the expression "for we are many."


Jesus just spoke, not to the man, but to the unclean spirit in the man. And tells him to come out of the man. I personally believe that the reason Jesus asked him what his name was is for our benefit.


Another reason that I believe He asked his name was so the magnitude of this miracle can be told. Many times a person that is demon possessed will have many demons.


Mark 5:10 "And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country."


"He besought him": The demon understood that Jesus had all power over him and addressed Him with an intense desire that his request be granted.


"Not send them away out of the country" (see note on verse 1). The demons wanted to remain in the same area where they had been exercising their evil powers.


This is a strange thing about demons. They do not like to leave the family or the area where they are cast out. I suppose they feel that other members of the family might have a similar weakness and will allow them into them. These unclean spirits do not have bodies; they try to find a body that will be willing for them to enter, so that they may use the body as a dwelling place.


Mark 5:11 "Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding."


"Swine": Pigs were unclean animals to the Jews, so the people tending this herd were either Gentiles or Jews unconcerned about the law (see note on Matt. 8:30).


Mark 5:12 "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them."


Notice here a few things about these devils or unclean spirits.


(1) They were not in control, even though there were many of them.


(2) They had to ask Jesus' permission to go into the swine.


(3) They preferred people to indwell, but their second choice was animals.


Mark 5:13 "And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea."


"Jesus gave them leave": According to His sovereign purposes Jesus allowed the demons to enter the pigs and destroy them, the text offers no other explanation (Deut. 29:29; Rom. 9:20). By doing this, Jesus gave the man a graphic, visible and powerful lesson on the immensity of the evil from which he had been delivered.


You can easily see why the man was so violent with 2,000 of these terrible spirits in him.


Mark 5:14 "And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done."


You can imagine how the story would spread. These men had lost a great herd of swine.


Mark 5:15 "And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid."


"Sitting": The man's restful condition was a strong contrast with his former restless, agitated state.


"In his right mind": He was no longer under the frenzied, screaming control of the demons.


"Possessed with the devil" and "had the legion" refers to this one man having been the victim of multiple-demon possession.


"Afraid:" the same response the Twelve had in (4:41).


This fear that came upon these men was because the power of God had come among them, and they did not know what to do. Here, they saw the man who just an hour earlier was insane, and he was totally restored to his sanity and was worshipping Jesus. They had never seen anything like this before. People fear what they do not understand.


Mark 5:16 "And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine."


"Those ... told ... concerning the swine": "Those" may refer to both the 12 and the men who tended the pigs. They wanted people to know what had happened to the man and the pigs, and the relationship between the two events.


"Pray" here means "request" or "implore." "Coasts" means "region." The local citizens asked Jesus to leave their region, out of fear of suffering further financial losses, though His presence might have brought them additional blessings and their sick more healings.


Mark 5:17 "And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts."


"Pray him to depart out of their coasts": The residents of the region became frightened and resentful toward Jesus because of what had happened. They may have been concerned about the disruption of their normal routine and the loss of property, and they wanted Jesus and His powers to leave the area so no more such financial losses would occur.


More compelling however, was the reality that they were ungodly people frightened by Christ's display of spiritual power (see note on Matt. 8:34).


We see here, not men who were humbly seeking to repent before the Lord. These men wanted Jesus to leave their area fearing that Jesus would cause them more loss of their worldly goods. They had to be aware that this great power is of God, but perhaps their fear was worsened by their knowledge that they were not godly men.


Mark 5:18-19 "And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him." "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."


"Tell them ... the Lord hath done": Jesus was referring to Himself as God who controlled both the natural and the super-natural worlds (Luke 8:39).


Mark 5:20 "And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all [men] did marvel."


"Decapolis" was the area southeast of the Sea of Galilee, containing many Gentile settlers. This was a league of 10 Greek-influenced (Hellenized), cities east of the Jordan River (see note on Matt. 4:25).


Jesus seems to have been more willing to make His deeds and identity known in a non-Jewish context. (See also John 4:4-26). In the Capernaum area by contrast, He felt the need to maintain a lower profile (1:34, 44; 3:12). The man tells what Jesus has done, although Jesus told Him to speak of "the Lord," the God of Israel (verse 19).


The folks at home knew just how badly possessed of demons this man had been. They were his neighbors and friends. There had been a miracle, and these people could not deny it. It was only up to the man to tell them who did it and how He did it. They knew it was done.


Here we see in effect, a person giving his testimony to those who know just how bad it had been. Now they would be more receptive of Jesus. There would be no question who He is and that the power of Almighty God brought this miracle about.


Mark Chapter 5 Questions


1. What country did Jesus go to on the other side of the sea?


2. Who met Jesus immediately after He got out of the ship?


3. Where was the man's dwelling place?


4. This man's problem was so great they could not restrain him even with __________________.


5. What really had happened to the man?


6. Who would a person like this harm?


7. How did the man try to destroy himself?


8. What is insanity, usually?


9. What did the man do when he saw Jesus?


10. The unclean spirit in the man called Jesus what?


11. What did he ask Jesus not to do?


12. What did Jesus say to the unclean spirits?


13. What was the name of the demons?


14. Why did these demons not want to leave the country?


15. The devils asked to be cast into what animals?


16. Jesus gave these evil spirits what permission?


17. How many animals were there?


18. What did the keepers of the swine do?


19. What condition was the freed man in when the men of the city saw him with Jesus?


20. What request did the man make to Jesus?


21. What did Jesus answer him?


22. What did the men of the city ask Jesus to do?


23. What witnessed to the home folks more than what the man said?


24. What two things could the man tell the people that they could not readily see?




Mark Chapter 5 Continued

Mark 5:21 "And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea."


"Unto the other side": Jesus and the disciples returned to the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.


We assume that this was Capernaum, because it was across the sea. This is on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, as we said before. Probably, the people were aware that Jesus would return here and were awaiting Him. At any rate, it didn't take long for a crowd to gather.


Mark 5:22 "And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,"


The synagogue officials were those who presided over the elders of local synagogues. Those elder groups, made up of lay officials, were in charge of arranging the services and overseeing other synagogue affairs.


A synagogue ruler was a layman who helped oversee and plan the synagogue services, and also saw to the care of the building. Jairus may have had previous contact with Jesus, who attended synagogue regularly.


We see here, one of the elders of the church came to Jesus. "Jairus" means "he will illuminate". This was a very difficult thing for someone from the Jewish synagogue to do. He humbled himself to Jesus to save his daughter's life. The same account in Matthew says she was even now dead. The account in Luke said she lay dying.


At any rate, her condition was hopeless unless Jesus intervened. The love of this parent overcame all the fear of his friends' laughter. Jairus had seen the miracles in the synagogue and he knew that just one touch from the hand of Jesus did miracles. He wanted his daughter to live and he had come to Jesus as a last resort.


Mark 5:23 "And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: [I pray thee], come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live."


The laying on of hands was commonly associated with healing.


Mark 5:24 "And [Jesus] went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him."


"Thronged" stresses that people were physically being pushed up against Jesus (see verse 31).


We see here, that the instant Jesus stepped out into the street, the people surrounded Him. The word had traveled far and wide that Jesus was healing and doing all of these miracles.


Mark 5:25 "And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,"


"Issue of blood": Denotes a chronic internal bleeding, perhaps from a tumor or other disease (see note on Matt. 9:20).


Mark 5:26 "And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,"


"Suffered many things ... many physicians": In New Testament times, it was a common practice in difficult medical cases for people to consult many different doctors and receive a variety of treatments.


The supposed cures were often conflicting, abusive and many times made the ailment worse, not better. Luke the physician (in Luke 8:43), suggested the woman was not helped because her condition was incurable.


This same account of this woman's illness in Luke said that she had spent all of her money trying to find a cure for this hemorrhaging. This had been going on twelve years and she had given up on help from the physicians. Her only hope was Jesus.


Mark 5:27-28 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment." "For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole."


"If I may touch but his clothes": The woman's faith in Jesus' healing powers was so great that she believed even indirect contact with Him through His garments (see note on Matt. 9:20), would be enough to produce a cure.


Popular belief had it that a person's dignity and power extend to what he wears.


She felt unworthy for Him to touch her since she was a Gentile woman; but she felt if she might just touch His garment, she would be healed. Her faith was great. Her faith had brought her, in her weakened condition, to be in this crowd that she might touch His garment.


Perhaps the delay was so Jairus' daughter would be dead, and Jesus would show His power to resurrect the dead.


Mark 5:29 "And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague."


"Fountain of her blood": The source of her bleeding, with the analogy being to the origin of a spring.


The instant she touched Him, she was healed. She was expecting healing and she received it when it came.


Mark 5:30 "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?"


"Virtue had gone out of him": Christ's "power", His inherent ability to minster and work supernaturally, proceeded from Him under the conscious control of His sovereign will.


"Who touched my clothes?" Jesus asked this question, not out of ignorance, but so He might draw the woman out of the crowd and allow her to praise God for what had happened.


Jesus is immediately aware that God has exercised His power "(virtue)," through Jesus. The woman's faith has been rewarded.


Jesus knew that healing virtue had gone out of Him. He asked who had received healing. You know there were masses around Him who wanted to be healed. We might ask ourselves why God chose her to heal. It was because of her great faith. Faith pleases God. Jesus felt the healing power of God surge out of Him.


This is so interesting, because so many touched Jesus physically; they were pressed all around Him. Only one touched into His healing power. Her touch was a touch of faith, knowing within herself that one touch would make her whole. Healing is a spiritual gift, but many times it comes with a physical touch of the hand. This touch was the act of faith that it took to activate the miracle.


Mark 5:31 "And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?"


The disciples express impatience or annoyance, perhaps resenting Jesus' delay at a critical time for Jairus' daughter.


We see that Jesus wanted her to publicly proclaim this miracle. She felt as if maybe Jesus would not have bothered with her if she had asked, and she had received this blessing kind of without permission. She was not aware that Jesus would heal or save whosoever will.


Mark 5:32-33 "And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing." "But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth."


The woman would be fearful of a rebuke, since her bleeding rendered her "unclean" according to Jewish law. She ought not to have been mixing in the crowd, nor reaching out purposely to touch a man.


That she owned up openly indicates that her interest lay not only in physical health: she wanted to be right with Jesus Himself. Her faith, not the grasp of her hand, brought restoration to her.


This reminds me of the Scripture (in Romans 10:9). We not only must receive Jesus in our hearts, but confession with the mouth is made unto salvation. She must proclaim this miracle to keep it. Confession is good for the soul, and she had done just that here.


Mark 5:34 "And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."


"Thy faith hath made thee whole": Jesus' public statement concerning the woman's faith (expressed in verses 28, 33), and its results.


The form of the Greek verb translated "has made you whole", indicates that her healing was complete. It is the same Greek word often translated "to save" (see note on Matt. 9:22), and is the normal New Testament word for saving from sin, which strongly suggests that the women's faith also led to spiritual salvation.


We see here again, that the woman's great faith was what attained her healing for her. The King of Peace spoke peace to her. It appears that this sickness she had, had been a judgment from God (plague). At any rate, she was forgiven and freed from the plague.


Mark 5:35 "While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?"


Obviously, Jesus has intentionally let the time pass in which He might have preserved the girl's life.


In the midst of Jesus' ministering to the woman with the issue of blood, we see the men come to tell Jesus that Jarius' daughter was dead. There must be an impossibility before there can be a miracle. Here they tell Jarius, don't bother Jesus any further, your daughter is dead.


Mark 5:36 "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe."


"Believe," literally: "Keep on believing." The verb is a command for present, continuous action urging Jairus to maintain the faith he had initially demonstrated in coming to Jesus. Christ knew there was no other proper response to Jairus' helpless situation and He was confident of faith's outcome (Luke 8:50).


We see again, that Jairus was a high official in the synagogue. Jesus reminded him not to doubt, but believe. This was asking a very difficult thing in the sense that in the flesh she was dead. The Spirit can quicken the dead however.


Mark 5:37 "And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James."


"Peter, and James and John" were also chosen to witness the Transfiguration (9:2).


This is the first time Mark gives special status to these 3 disciples. Scripture never explains why these men were sometimes allowed to witness things that the other disciples were excluded from (9:2; 14:33), but the trio did constitute an inner circle within the 12. Even the Greek grammar implies this inner grouping by placing their 3 names under one definite article.


Here again, we see these three chosen out for special things. If Jesus had favorites, these three were them. These three were about to see in action that Jesus had power over death.


Mark 5:38 "And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly."


Professional mourners would be already singing dirges and raising a stir.


"Wept and wailed": In that culture, a sure sign that a death had occurred. Because burial followed soon after death, it was the people's only opportunity to mourn publicly. The wailing was especially loud and mostly from paid mourners (see note on Matt 9:23).


The mourning had already begun. Jesus saw all of this crying and commotion in the house.


Mark 5:39 "And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth."


"Is not dead, but sleepeth": With this figurative expression, Jesus meant that the girl was not dead in the normal sense, because her condition was temporary and would be reversed (see note on Matt. 9:24; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:13-14).


The girl was in fact dead (verse 35). But Jesus knows her death will be reversed.


We learned, in another account, that this girl was about 12 years old. Jesus was actually telling these people that breathing life into this child again was nothing for Him. He is life.


Mark 5:40 "And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying."


"Laughed him to scorn": This could more literally be translated, "laughing at him" or "were laughing in His face." They understood Jesus' words literally and thought they were absurd, so "laughing" most likely refers to repeated bursts of laughter aimed at humiliating the Lord.


This reaction, although shallow and irreverent, indicates the people were convinced of the irreversible nature of the girl's death and underscores the reality of the miracle Jesus was about to do.


"Put them all out": This was an emphatic, forceful expulsion which showed Christ's authority and was done because the disbelieving mourners had disqualified themselves from witnessing the girl's resurrection.


Then He took Peter, James, John and the parents to the bed where the young girl was lying.


Mark 5:41 "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."


"Talitha cumi": Mark is the only gospel writer who recorded Jesus' original Aramaic words. "Talitha" is a feminine form of "lamb," or "youth." "Cumi" is an imperative meaning "arise." As in other such instances, Jesus addressed the person of the one being raised, not just the dead body (Luke 7:14; John 11:43).


We see here, the power of life flowing through Jesus' hand to this child. The power of life and death is in Jesus' hands. Eternal life and death is in His hands as well.


Mark 5:42 "And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was [of the age] of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment."


Telling her age tells us that this girl was not a baby, but fully old enough to walk. You can imagine how surprised they were when this supposedly dead girl arose and walked.


Mark 5:43 "And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat."


"No man should know it": Knowledge of the miracle could not be completely withheld, but Christ did not want news of it to spread until after He had left the area, because He knew such news might cause His many Jewish opponents in Galilee to seek Him out and kill Him prematurely.


He also wanted to be known for bringing the gospel, not as simply a miracle-worker. Jesus was no doubt concerned that the girl and her parents not be made the center of undue curiosity and sensationalism.


The crowd would eventually know, of course, that the girl had been raised from the dead. Jesus wants the fact to be concealed for the time being, giving Him time to depart and avoid ostentatious acclaim.


Also, the parents will still be able to keep the details of the resuscitation secret from the scornful unbelievers outside the door. Jesus' custom all along was to make Himself known to earnest seekers, but to conceal His true identity from skeptics.


In another gospel, they were instructed to give her meat. They were not to spread the word. However It would be hard to conceal since so many were there mourning her death and now she was alive.


Just as on resurrection day when all who are in their graves shall hear His voice and come forth, these rejoicing parents had seen their daughter hear His voice and come forth. It will be next to impossible not to tell this wonderful story.


Mark Chapter 5 Continued Questions


1. Where did Jesus go when He left the demoniac man?


2. Who was the ruler of the synagogue who came to Jesus?


3. What show of emotion did he show to Jesus?


4. What was his need?


5. What does Jairus mean?


6. How bad was the little girl?


7. Why did he come to Jesus for help?


8. What happened when Jesus entered the street to go to Jairus' house?


9. How long had the woman had the issue of blood?


10. What had she previously done to get help?


11. What had she said within herself would heal her?


12. When she touched Him, what did Jesus feel?


13. What happened to the woman?


14. What question did Jesus ask that the disciples thought was strange?


15. When was she healed?


16. The woman, fearing and trembling, did what?


17. What made the woman whole?


18. What is a plague?


19. Why did they tell Jairus not to trouble the Master?


20. What two things did Jesus tell Jairus to do?


21. Which three disciples did Jesus allow to go with Him to Jairus' house?


22. What did Jesus do with the onlookers, besides the three disciples and the parents?


23. What did Jesus tell them about the damsel?


24. What did Jesus do to the damsel to revive her?


25. What specific words did He say?


26. What happened?


27. How old was the little girl?


28. The power of life and death is in whose hands?


29. What further words did Jesus tell the parents about the girl, 2 things?





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Mark 6



Mark Chapter 6

Verses 1-6: Here begins Jesus' final extended ministry to His native area. His rejection there sets the stage for the mission beginning (in verse 7).


Mark 6:1 "And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him."


"His own country" is doubtless Nazareth (1:9, 24).


"His disciples": This was not a private, family visit for Jesus, but a time for ministry.


We see here, that even though He had not been readily accepted by His family and friends at Nazareth, Jesus came back here from time to time to try to minister. His family in the flesh still lived in Nazareth. Now all of the disciples had joined Jesus, Peter, James, and John who were present at Jairus' house.


Mark 6:2 "And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?"


"Sabbath" (see note on 2:23). This implies that no public teaching was done until the Sabbath.


"Teach in the synagogue" (see note on 1:21).


"Astonished": The same word as used in (1:22; see note there). However, here the people's initial reaction gave way to skepticism and a critical attitude toward Jesus.


We have mentioned before that whenever Jesus was near a synagogue on Sabbath, He always preached and taught. Here at Nazareth, all of the people think of Him as just a man like them, because they saw Him grow up in the house of Mary and Joseph. They could not visualize Him as God manifest in the flesh, because they knew Him too well.


I can see a little jealousy in the statement "from whence hath this man these things". You see, a prophet is without honor in his own home town. They surely could not believe these miracles which they had been hearing about were done by this fellow they knew so well.


Mark 6:3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."


"Carpenter": The people of Nazareth still thought of Jesus as one who carried on his father's trade (Matt. 13:55), as a craftsman who worked in wood and other hard materials (e.g., stones, bricks). The common earthly position of Jesus and His family caused the townspeople to stumble, they refused to see Him as higher than themselves and found it impossible to accept Him as the Son of God and Messiah.


"Son of Mary": Only here is Jesus called this. The normal Jewish practice was to identify a son by his father's (Joseph's), name. Perhaps that was not done here because Joseph was already dead.


Or because Christ's audience was recalling the rumors concerning Jesus' illegitimate birth (John 8:41; 9:29), a man was called the son of his mother if his father was unknown, and were purposely insulting Him with this title as a reference to illegitimacy.


"Brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and of Simon" (see note on Matt. 12:46). These were actual half-brothers of Jesus. "James" was later the leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12), and wrote the epistle of James. "Judas" (Hebrew name "Judah"), wrote the epistle of Jude. Nothing more is known of the other two.


"His sisters": Actual half-sisters whose names are never given in the New Testament. Nothing is known of them, not even if they became believers as the other family members did.


"They were offended at him": The English term "scandalize" comes from the Greek verb translated "were offended," which essentially means "to stumble," or "become ensnared," and fall into a sin (see note on 4:7).


The residents of Nazareth were deeply offended at Jesus' posturing Himself as some great teacher because of His ordinary background, His limited formal education, and His lack of an officially-sanctioned religious position.


Here they were saying, "Who does He think He is? This is the carpenter who worked right here with us." Again, they were saying, how could Jesus be anyone special? They knew His family.


Mark 6:4 "But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."


(See note on Matt. 13:57). Jesus called Himself a prophet, in accord with one of His roles (verse 15; 8:28; Matt. 21:11, 46; Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 6:14; 7:40; 9:17).


"Own house": His own family (John 7:5; Acts 1:14).


Not only Jesus had trouble with this, but every minister who ever lived. The problem is that the family and friends see you grow up around them.


Mark 6:5 "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them]."


"He could there do no mighty work" (Matt. 13:58). This is not to suggest that His power was somehow diminished by their unbelief. It may suggest that because of their unbelief people were not coming to Him for healing or miracles the way they did in Capernaum and Jerusalem.


Or more importantly, it may signify that Christ limited His ministry both as an act of mercy, so that the exposure to greater light would not result in a worse hardening that would only subject them to greater condemnation, and a judgment on their unbelief. He had the power to do more miracles, but not the will, because they rejected Him. Miracles belonged among those who were ready to believe.


The point is not that Jesus was suddenly lacking in ability to do miracles, He does perform a few. Rather He finds contempt and hardness of heart, which are the antitheses of receptivity and faith. Under such circumstances, further disclosure of God's presence in His Messiah is denied.


Mark 6:6 "And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching."


"He marveled because of their unbelief": "Marveled" means Jesus was completely astonished and amazed at Nazareth's reaction to Him, His teaching, and His miracles. He was not surprised at the fact of the people's unbelief, but at how they could reject Him while claiming to know all about Him. Faith should have been the response in that town in Galilee, the region where Christ did so many miracles and so much teaching.


"Round about the villages": The outcome of Jesus' visit to Nazareth was that He left there and made a teaching tour of other places in Galilee, concluding near where He started (Matt. 9:35).


Only here does Mark speak of Jesus as having "marveled." Resistance to Him is tragically astounding.


God will not force Himself upon anyone. Our free will gets involved in anything we receive from God. Nearly every time someone was healed, Jesus would say, "Your faith has made you whole." Without faith, very little healing went on. He taught in their villages, and they could take it or leave it.



Verses 7-13: "The twelve" are sent out. From (here to 9:50), Jesus and His followers will minister in a wide area well north of Jerusalem.


Mark 6:7 "And he called [unto him] the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;"


"The twelve" (see notes on 3:16-19; Matt. 10:2-4). The 12 disciples were by then a divinely-commissioned, recognized group.


"Send them forth": The form of the Greek verb indicates that Jesus individually commissioned each pair to go out as His representatives.


"Two by two": This was a prudent practice (Eccl. 4:9-12), employed by Jewish alms collectors, by John the Baptist (Luke 7:19), by Jesus on other occasions (11:1; 14:3; Luke 10:1), and by the early church (Acts 13:2-3; 15:39-41; 19:22). The practice gave the disciples mutual help and encouragement and met the legal requirement for an authentic testimony (Deut. 19:15).


"Unclean spirits" (see notes on 1:23; 5:2).


This was the sending forth of the disciples to minister. Notice Jesus sent them by two's. There is ten times the power with two as with one. The important strength they needed was power to overcome Satan and his demons, and we see that Jesus endowed them with power over all evil spirits.


Mark 6:8 "And commanded them that they should take nothing for [their] journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in [their] purse:"


"Staff": The walking stick, a universal companion of travelers in those days, which also provided potential protection from criminals and wild animals.


"Scrip" is a knapsack of some sort. "Purse" is a belt.


They were not to carry things with them to live on. They were to be dressed simply and go by two's.


Mark 6:9 "But [be] shod with sandals; and not put on two coats."


"Shod with sandals": Ordinary footwear consisting of leather or wood soles bound on by straps around the ankle and instep. "Sandals" were necessary protection for the feet in view of the hot, rough terrain of Palestine.


"Not put on two coats": "Tunics" were standard garments of clothing. Men of comparative wealth would wear two, but Jesus wanted the disciples to identify with common people and travel with just minimum clothing.


Jesus' commands make His disciples totally dependent on God. No bread, no bag, not even a coin or second "coat" (tunic), to ward off the night chill - all was calculated to make their initial preaching tour an exercise in radical faith.


Mark 6:10 "And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place."


The disciples were to carefully select where they stayed (Matt. 10:11), but once there, the sole focus was to be on ministry. Contentment with their first host and his accommodations would be a testimony to others while the disciples ministered (1 Tim. 6:6).


Mark 6:11 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."


"Shake off the dust": A symbolic act that signified complete renunciation of further fellowship with those who rejected them (see note on Matt. 10:14). When the disciples made this gesture, it would show that the people had rejected Jesus and the gospel, and were hence rejected by the disciples and by the Lord.


We see that when the disciples entered into a city, they were to pick out a family and move into their home and stay there as long as they were ministering in that city. If the city did not receive the good news of the gospel, they were to shake the filth of the city (dust) off of their feet.


Sodom and Gomorrah were two evil cities destroyed by the Lord in Genesis because of their homosexual activities. We are familiar with the fire and brimstone that fell and destroyed them. Any city which rejected Jesus was in for a similar fate, as we saw in the above verse.



Verses 12-13: "Preacher ... cast out many devils" (compare verse 7). They were heralds of the gospel and had repeated success in expelling evil spirits from people. This demonstrated Christ's power over the supernatural world and confirmed His claim to being God.


Mark 6:12 "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."


"Repent" (see notes on 1:15; Matt. 3:2).


The message is that of Jesus Himself (1:15).


The most important message of any preacher or church is repent. It is wonderful to be healed and wonderful to be freed of demons; but if you don't repent and be saved, it is all for naught. The salvation for mankind is first and foremost, and then his physical well-being.


Mark 6:13 "And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed [them]."


"Anointed ... many that were sick': In Jesus' day olive oil was often used medicinally (Luke 10:34). But here it represented the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and was used symbolically in relation to supernatural healing (Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:1-6; Matt. 25:2-4; Revelation 1:4, 12).


As a well-known healing agent, the oil was an appropriate, tangible medium the people could identify with as the disciples ministered to the sick among them.


Verses 14-29: This parenthetical section on "Herod" is inserted for the following reasons:


(1) It elaborates on "John" the Baptist's sudden disappearance from the public scene (briefly mentioned in 1:14), and his death.


(2) The Baptist's martyrdom foreshadows one sort of persecution awaiting Jesus and many of His servants.


(3) The Baptist's loss of ministry is one reason Jesus dispatches the Twelve in their mission (in verses 7-13).


(4) It shows Jesus' fame to be so widespread that it reaches Herod's court.


(5) It reveals the world's blindness to Jesus: while many hold Him in high regard, identifying Him as "Elijah," a "prophet,." Or as the Baptist, they do not esteem Him highly enough; they fail to recognize Him as God's Son.


Mark 6:14 "And king Herod heard [of him]; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him."


"King Herod heard" (see note on Matt. 14:1). The context indicates Herod heard some exciting news centering on Jesus and resulting from the disciples' recent preaching and miracle working in Galilee.


"John the Baptist": The forerunner of Christ (see notes on 1:4-7; Matt. 3:1, 4, 6).


"Herod heard", perhaps due to the disciples' preaching.


The "Him" here was Jesus, and because Herod had John beheaded, he believed Jesus was John resurrected. Herod was afraid of John the Baptist while he was alive, but he was more afraid now that he felt he was risen again. Herodias and Herod were living in adultery in John's views, and this statement was why they had him beheaded.


Mark 6:15 "Others said, That it is Elijah. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets."


"It is Elijah": This identification of Jesus, which probably had been discussed repeatedly among the Jews, was based on the Jewish expectation that the prophet Elijah would return prior to Messiah's coming (see notes on Mal. 4:5; Matt. 11:14; Luke 1:17).


"A prophet, or as one of the prophets": Some saw Jesus as the fulfillment of (Deut. 18:15), the messianic prophecy that looked to the One who, like Moses, would lead His people.


Others were willing to identify Jesus only as a great prophet, or one who was resuming the suspended line of Old Testament prophets. These and the other opinions, although misplaced, show that the people still thought Jesus was special or somehow supernatural.


This was the answer Peter gave Jesus, when Jesus asked him who people said that He was. This Jesus Christ was a man of such unusual characteristics that everyone was giving their opinion of who He was. The Jews were looking for Elijah, so they thought this might be him.


Some of these very names are the names put on Him today. Some believe He was a man, a prophet, or a teacher. But Peter had the answer when he said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". Immanuel, means God with us. God caught up in the body of man.


Mark 6:16 "But when Herod heard [thereof], he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead."


"John ... he is risen": By this excited, guilt-laden confession, Herod showed that he could not forget the evil he had done in beheading John the Baptist and that his conscience had led him to the eerie fear that John was back from the dead (Matt. 14:1-2; Luke 9:7-9).


You see, Herod's conscience had gotten the best of him, and he just knew this was John who had risen from the grave and was here to take revenge on him for the terrible death he inflicted on John by cutting off his head.



Verses 17-29: Mark gives background for readers who might not be aware of the details behind Herod's and John's relationship, and John's eventual fate.


Mark 6:17 "For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her."


"John ... bound him in prison": Herod kept him fettered while imprisoned, probably at Machaerus, near the northeast shore of the Dead Sea. Herod's intention was to protect John from the plots of Herodias (verse 20).


"Herodias": Herod's niece, the daughter of his half-brother Aristobulus.


"Philip": Herod Philip II, another half-brother to Herod Antipas (the Herod in this passage). Therefore, Philip was also an uncle to Herodias (see note on Matt. 14:3).


Mark 6:18 "For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife."


"John had said ... it is not lawful": The tense of the Greek verb and Mark's wording imply that John had repeatedly rebuked Herod Antipas in private confrontation that his marriage to Herodias was contrary to Mosaic law (see note on Matt. 14:3; Matt. 3:7-10).


Mark 6:19-20 "Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:" "For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and a holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly."


We can see from this, that Herod had great admiration for John. He actually feared John. Possibly, Herod would have repented and been converted, had it not been for Herodias.


"He did many things": This indicates that Herod's interaction with John left him in great internal conflict, a moral struggle between his lust for Herodias and the prodding of his guilty conscience.


Mark 6:21 "And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief [estates] of Galilee;"


"Lords": This term may also be translated "nobles," or "great ones." These were men who held high civil offices under Herod.


"High captains": High-ranking military officials (Greek chiliarchs), who each commanded 1,000 men.


"Chief estates of Galilee": The key social leaders of the region.


Mark 6:22 "And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give [it] thee."


"Daughter of the said Herodias": Salome, her daughter by Philip (see note on Matt. 14:6).


"Danced": Refers to a solo dance with highly suggestive hand and body movements, comparable to a modern striptease. It was unusual and almost unprecedented that Salome would have performed in this way before Herod's guests (Est. 1:11-12).


Mark 6:23 "And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give [it] thee, unto the half of my kingdom."


"Unto the half of my kingdom": This was an exaggeration designed to enhance his previous statement of generosity. As a Roman tetrarch, Herod actually had no "kingdom" to give.


Mark 6:24-25 "And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist." "And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist."


The use of a "charger" perhaps indicates Herodias's warped humor on that festive day when she could get even with her husband and be rid of John


Mark 6:26 "And the king was exceeding sorry; [yet] for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her."


"For his oath's sake": Herod, as a monarch, felt bound because oaths were considered sacred and unbreakable (see notes on Matt. 5:34; 14:9).


Mark 6:27 "And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,"


"Executioner": Originally meant spy or scout, but came to describe a staff member of a Roman tribune. They served as couriers and bodyguards as well as executioners. Herod had adopted the custom of surrounding himself with such men.


Mark 6:28 "And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother."


It is really not hard to understand why Herod would feel guilty. Not only did he have John the Baptist killed, but for no reason at all; just to save face with his friends. This Herodias was even more evil than Herod.


Loose promises can get a person in a terrible situation, and that was exactly what happened to Herod. There was no way to take it back, it was done, and Herod would have to live with his conscience. We dealt with this more fully in the 14th chapter of Matthew. You may desire to read more about it there.


Mark 6:29 "And when his disciples heard [of it], they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb."


These disciples (in verse 29), were John the Baptist's disciples that buried him in a tomb. Jesus' disciples that He had sent out came back and reported all the healings, deliverances, and preaching they had done. Whether John's death prompted an early return or not, the Scriptures do not say. This had to have stirred them up somewhat, however.



Verses 30-56: Jesus' influence broadens through additional miracles.


Mark 6:30 "And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught."


The "apostles" (here used, most likely, in a nontechnical sense, meaning "ones sent out" or "emissaries"), report to Jesus.


Mark Chapter 6 Questions


1. What was meant by Jesus' own country?


2. Why did Jesus come back several times to His own land to minister?


3. When did Jesus begin to teach in the synagogue?


4. What effect did this have on the local people?


5. Why did the people of Nazareth treat Him as if He is just a man?


6. The statement "from whence hath this man these things" showed they were what?


7. In verse 3, who do they call Jesus?


8. Where is a prophet without honor?


9. What did their unbelief keep Him from doing?


10. What were the only two things He did?


11. What is involved in everything we receive from God?


12. Who did Jesus send out two by two?


13. What power did Jesus give them?


14. What were they to take with them to live on?


15. Where were they to live?


16. What if the city didn't accept them?


17. What did these disciples preach?


18. What is the most important message for preachers even today?


19. Why had King Herod heard of Him?


20. Who did Herod think Jesus was?


21. Who did most believe Jesus was?


22. Who did Peter say He was?


23. Herod believed John the Baptist had ________ __________ ______ _____ ________.


24. What terrible thing had Herod done to John?


25. If Herod was afraid of John, why did he carry out this hideous crime against him?


26. Who came for John the Baptist's body?


27. When Jesus' apostles gathered to Him, what did they report?




Mark Chapter 6 Continued

Verses 31-32: Jesus recognizes their need for a break.


Mark 6:31 "And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."


"Ye yourselves": Jesus' invitation for a retreat into the desert was restricted to the 12. He knew they needed rest and privacy after their tiring ministry expedition and the continuing press of the people.


We see from this, that even ministers of God should find a time and go aside and rest. These disciples had been out ministering from village to village and this terrible thing with John the Baptist had just happened, as well. This was supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation.


Mark 6:32 "And they departed into a desert place by ship privately."


"They departed ... by ship privately": The disciples obeyed Jesus' proposal, departing from His headquarters in Capernaum using the same boat as in 5:2.


Mark 6:33 "And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him."


"Ran afoot": The direction (toward the northeast shore of the lake) and speed of the boat, along with the immediate lack of other available boats, caused the crowd to follow by land.


"Came together unto him": Contained only in Mark's account, this does not necessarily mean everyone arrived before the boat, because the land distance was probably 8 miles, twice as far as the 4 miles the boat had to travel.


Rather, those young and eager in the crowd were able to outrun both the rest and the boat (probably because it encountered no wind or a contrary wind) and actually arrive at the shore before the boat (Matt. 14:13-14, Luke 9:11; John 6:3, 5).


We see, here, that the fame of Jesus had spread so widely that even in this hiding place the multitude had found Him and gathered to Him.


Mark 6:34 "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."


"Moved with compassion": See note on Matt. 9:36.


"Sheep not having a shepherd": An Old Testament picture (Num. 27:17; 1 King 22:17; 2 Chron. 18:16; Ezek. 34:5) used to describe the people as helpless and starving, lacking in spiritual guidance and protection, and exposed to the perils of sin and spiritual destruction.


Even though Jesus was headed to the desert to rest and recuperate with the disciples, His heart was still moved by these people with such great needs. The scribes really could not have been called shepherds, because the good and welfare of the sheep was not their purpose.


Jesus was never too busy to help them, and He is never too busy to help us in our needs. Jesus is the great Shepherd. His concern is for His sheep.


This next part of Mark, right here, is so important that this same miracle is told in all four of the gospels. This really made an indelible picture in the minds of those who saw it. Now we will get into the story of the five loaves of bread and the two fishes.


Mark 6:35-36 "And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time [is] far passed:" "Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat."


Jesus had probably set the scene for this whole thing so that He could show this great miracle to the people and to the disciples. He knew it was a desert place. He had ministered late; so there would be no chance to go for food, and the people would be very hungry, as well.


The disciples had not yet learned that no situation was impossible to Jesus. The disciples could only think of the physical, so they suggested that Jesus send them away into the country round about to buy food.


Mark 6:37 "He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?"


"Two hundred pennyworth": (Denarii) A single denarius (see note on Matt. 22:19) was equivalent to a day's pay for the day laborer (Matt. 20:2). "Two hundred" would therefore equal 7 month's wages and be quite beyond the disciples' (or any average person's) means.


The Roman denarius, a silver coin used in Palestine. A "pennyworth" amounted to the wage for one day of a rural worker's labor.


Jesus, just matter of factly said, feed them. This "two hundred penny" was actually the wages of a man for 200 days, so it truly was a large amount of money. This crowd was so large, even this large amount might not even be enough.


Mark 6:38 "He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes."


"Loaves": Literally "bread-cakes" or "rolls."


Jesus already knew how much there was, but asked them to make a point. Their answer was five loaves. The number five, as we have said before, means "grace". This people would be fed by the grace of God.


Mark 6:39 "And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass."


"Green grass": This detail indicates it was the spring rainy season, before the hot summer would have turned the grass dry and brown.


Mark 6:40 "And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties."


"In ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties": A symmetrical seating arrangement, possibly 50 semi-circles of 100 people each, with the semi-circles one behind the other in ranks. Such an arrangement was familiar to the Jews during their festivals, and it made food distribution more convenient.


In the Matthew account, it seems that just the men were numbered. A rank here is, possibly, "one hundred".


Mark 6:41 "And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave [them] to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all."


"Looked up to heaven": A typical prayer posture for Jesus (7:34; Luke 24:35; John 11:41; 17:1). Heaven was universally regarded as the Father's dwelling place (Matt. 6:9).


Judaism forbade taking food without thanking God.


Mark 6:42 "And they did all eat, and were filled."


"All eat and were filled": The hunger of everyone in the crowd was completely satisfied (John 6:11).


Jesus prayed over this food as He breaks it and distributed it. This reminds me so much of the widow who fed Elijah during the famine.


1 Kings 17:9-16 tells the story. Verse 14 pretty well tells how the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil kept replenishing itself, even though there was just enough meal and oil for one meal when they started going to the cupboard the first time. Each time they went back; God had placed enough for another meal, and this went on until the famine was over.


1 Kings 17:14 "For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day [that] the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth."


You see, in both instances, God multiplied the food until all the need was met.


Mark 6:43 "And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes."


"Twelve baskets full": The "baskets," apparently the same ones used to bring the food, were small wicker containers like the ones the Jews used to carry food.


Mark 6:44 "And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men."


Five thousand would be an immense crowd, towns like Capernaum and Bethsaida numbering perhaps only two to three thousand inhabitants. But they were all filled, and there was an excess of food remaining - and the number does not include women and children.


This means that there were actually over 10,000 people who ate counting the women and children. Whether the twelve baskets had something to do with the twelve disciples, I know not. We see from the amount of leftovers that all of these people were full with extra left over.


We might, also, realize from this that Jesus is the Bread of Life, and whosoever will can partake. There is always enough for more.



Verses 45-52: In the wake of the miraculous feeding, Jesus performs yet other wonders, namely walking on the lake and stilling a gale.


Mark 6:45 "And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people."


"The ship": See note on verse 32.


"Bethsaida": A town on the west side of the Sea of Galilee and south of Capernaum (Matt. 11:21).


We see from this, that the Lord had sent them out on the sea so that He could show them another type of miracle. They could learn more of His nature, and they could learn to have stronger faith in Him.


Mark 6:46 "And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray."


"A mountain": The entire east side of the Sea of Galilee is mountainous with steep slopes leading up to a plateau. Upon one of the slopes was a good place to pray, away from the crowd (John 6:15).


We see from this, the necessity to get alone and talk to God. God wants us to have time alone with Him when there is no one there, but Him and you. In the hurry up life we live in, most people will just not take time to pray alone. This prayer is the most effective, because God knows you are praying just for His benefit (no one else hears).


If the Lord Jesus needed to pray, think how badly we need to pray.


Mark 6:47 "And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land."


"Midst of the sea": Normally in traveling across the northern end of the lake they would have been within one or two miles of shore. But on that occasion, the wind had carried the boat several miles south, closer to the center of the lake (Matt. 14:24).


The scene was set for the great miracle. Jesus would show them and us (who are on the great sea of life struggling to make it), that our strength is not in ourselves, but in Him. They were paddling their hearts out trying to make it to the other side. We are struggling with the trials (sea) of this life trying to somehow make it to the other side (heaven).


Mark 6:48 "And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them."


The "fourth watch" was from 3 to 6 a.m.


"Walking upon the sea": The verb's tense depicts a steady progress, unhindered by the waves.


"Would have passed by them": The more literal rendering "desired to come alongside of," indicates Jesus' intention here. He wanted to test the disciples' faith, so He deliberately changed course and came parallel to the boat to see if they would recognize Him and His supernatural powers and invite Him aboard.


We see a very stressful situation; they were rowing as hard as they could, but the west wind was blowing so hard that they were making no headway at all. This fourth watch is the darkest of the night, just before the dawn. This, too, has great significance; because in our darkest hour, the Lord will come to our rescue.


Mark 6:49 "But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:"


"Spirit" here means an apparition or a ghost. A ghost or an apparition or imaginary creature. The Greek term gives us the English "phantom." Because of the impossibility of such an act and their fatigue and fear in the stormy conditions, the 12, even though each one saw Him, did not at first believe the figure was actually Jesus.


They cried out for His help. This is exactly when the Lord will help us, as well. He will help us when we realize that we need Him and cannot do it by ourselves. We know that they had never seen a person walking on the water before. It frightened them.


Mark 6:50 "For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid."


"Be of good cheer": This command; always linked in the gospels to a situation of fear and apprehension (10:49; Matt. 9:2, 22; 14:27; Luke 8:48; John 16:33; Acts 23:11), urged the disciples to have a continuing attitude of courage.


"It is I": Literally "I AM". This statement clearly identified the figure as the Lord Jesus, not some phantom. It also echoed the Old Testament self-revelation of God (Exodus 3:14).


"Troubled" speaks of abject terror. Spirits of the night were thought to portend disaster.


He immediately told them not to fear. We studied in Matthew how at this same occasion, Peter walked on the water. He tells us, "Fear not, I am with thee even unto the end of the earth".


Mark 6:51 "And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."


See the disciples' earlier response (4:41).


Just as in this ship tossed by the sea, we will find when we are tossed by the sea of life and we ask Jesus to come aboard, it brings peace. A troubled life needs Jesus to step in and bring the peace which passes understanding.


Mark 6:52 "For they considered not [the miracle] of the loaves: for their heart was hardened."


"They considered not ... the loaves": An explanation of the disciples' overwhelming astonishment at what had just happened. Because they misunderstood the real significance of that afternoon's miracle, they could not grasp Jesus' supernatural character as displayed in His power over the lake.


"Their heart was hardened": 8:17. The disciples' minds were impenetrable, so that they could not perceive what Christ was saying (4:11-12). This phrase conveys or alludes to rebellion, not just ignorance (see note on 3:5).


The disciples' terror and confusion were rooted in not perceiving the true significance of Jesus' words and deeds. They were unable to grasp that He was the divine Son of God, the Lord incarnate.


It is amazing, to me, that these disciples so quickly had forgotten about the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. We, today in our church forget so fast the miracles; and we tend to say, "Jesus, what have you done for me in the last five minutes?"



Verses 53-56: This scene summarizes Jesus' wondrous and compassionate activity.


Mark 6:53 "And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore."


They had wanted to land at Bethsaida (verse 45), but the wind blew them off course.


Gennesaret means a "fertile garden". This was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. See note on Matt. 14:34.


Mark 6:54 "And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,"


By this time, Jesus had gained fame throughout the region.


When Jesus got off the boat, the people already knew Him.


Mark 6:55 "And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was."


It seems that His fame had already spread throughout this region; and now that He was here, people ran quickly and brought everyone who was sick or crippled to Him. They believed that even if they could touch His garment, they would be healed; and that was just what happened.


Mark 6:56 "And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole."


Open spaces, usually just inside city walls or near city centers where people congregated for various business and social purposes. Here the term might indicate its original meaning of any place where people generally assembled. The people brought the sick to such locations because Jesus was more likely to pass by.


"Border of his garment": See note on 5:28.


Their faith was activated as they touched His garment, and He healed everyone who believed strong enough to reach out to Him. Their faith touched Him, and He healed them. All we must do is reach out to Jesus and believe, and He will help us, too.


Mark Chapter 6 Continued Questions


1. In verse 31, what can we learn about ministers of God?


2. When Jesus went to this desert place, what did the people do?


3. When Jesus saw the multitude, how did He feel toward them?


4. What did He see them as?


5. Why were the scribes not called shepherds?


6. Who is the great Shepherd?


7. What two things did the disciples tell Jesus was the condition of the people before the miracle of the bread and fishes?


8. How much money did the disciples have altogether?


9. How many days work was this amount?


10. How much food did they find among the people?


11. The number five is symbolic of what?


12. Why was the green grass mentioned?


13. How were the people grouped?


14. What did Jesus do before He distributed the food?


15. Who, in I Kings, saw the food miraculously multiplied?


16. How many men were fed?


17. How much food was left over?


18. Where did Jesus send the disciples after the miracle feed?


19. Why had Jesus sent them away?


20. Where did Jesus go and why?


21. Why is a prayer, when you are alone with God, so effective?


22. What does this ship in the midst of the sea symbolize in our lives?


23. When is the fourth watch of the night?


24. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think?


25. When they were frightened, what two things did Jesus tell them?


26. When Jesus got into the ship, what happened?


27. What had the disciples forgotten?


28. What does Gennesaret mean?


29. What happened when Jesus and the disciples got to the shore?


30. Who did Jesus heal?





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Mark 7



Mark Chapter 7

Mark 7:1 "Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem."


"Pharisees ... came from Jerusalem": This delegation of leading representatives of Judaism came from Jerusalem probably at the request of the Galilean Pharisees.


"Scribes" (see notes on 3:22; Matt. 2:4).


Jerusalem was to Judaism what Rome is to Roman Catholicism. Officials from the city of Zion were sent out to monitor the activities of this miracle-worker in Palestine's hinterland (see also 3:22).


These scribes and Pharisees were actually spies sent from Jerusalem to find fault with whatever Jesus was doing. They were jealous of Jesus, because He had power in His ministry; and they were afraid that the people would follow Him, instead of coming to the temple.


Verse 2, here, shows that they were just trying to pick up any little thing they could, and make a big issue of it.


Mark 7:2 "And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault."


"Unwashen": The disciples of Jesus were being accused of eating with hands that had not been ceremonially cleansed, and thus had not been separated from the defilement associated with their having touched anything profane.


This had to do with all the ceremonial washings of the Hebrews. This really had nothing to do with physical cleanliness.


Mark 7:3 "For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash [their] hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders."


"Wash": This washing had nothing to do with cleaning dirty hands but with a ceremonial rinsing. The ceremony involved someone pouring water out of a jar onto another's hands, whose fingers must be pointing up.


As long as the water dripped off at the wrist, the person could proceed to the next step. He then had water poured over both hands with the fingers pointing down. Then each hand was to be rubbed with the fist of the other hand.


"Tradition of the elders": This body of extrabiblical laws and interpretations of Scripture had, in actuality, supplanted Scripture as the highest religious authority in Judaism (see note on Matt. 15:2).


Certain unwritten traditions had come to be regarded as equal in authority to the Old Testament itself.


It seems that this teaching of washing or rubbing hands together was a tradition and not a law, even though it was included in the Talmud. The "Talmud" is a body of Hebrew civil and canon laws based on the Torah of Moses. The Torah is the first five books of the Old Testament.


Mark 7:4 "And [when they come] from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, [as] the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables."


See note on 6:56.


These Jews were so class conscious, that they felt they needed to wash off the uncleanness of the lower class people they had touched. They were over-concerned about washing the physical and not aware at all of the need to clean up inside.



Verses 5-6: The concern was not with dirty hands, but with how Jesus' disciples were ignoring Jewish tradition and thereby becoming ceremonially unclean.


Mark 7:5 "Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?"


"Why, walk not thy disciples ... ?" The Pharisees and scribes went to the disciples' Master for an explanation of the disciples' allegedly disgraceful conduct. In reality they were accusing Jesus of teaching His disciples to disobey the traditions of the elders.


"Unwashen hands" (see note on verse 3).


Notice here, that they said tradition. It reminds me so much of doctrine. Really, what I call knit-picking. They were majoring on things that were not even God's teachings: not sin in their lives, but formality.


Mark 7:6 "He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me."


"Hath Isaiah prophesied" (Isaiah 29:13), is quoted almost word for word from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (LXX). Isaiah's prophecy perfectly fit the actions of the Pharisees and scribes (See note on Isa. 29:13).


"Hypocrites": Spiritual phonies (see note on Matt. 6:2). They followed the traditions of men because such teaching required only mechanical and thoughtless conformity without a pure heart.


Hypocrites is a strong word, it means they were pretending to be following the Lord, when what they were really doing was pleasing their flesh. This is a good description of what many Christians are doing today. On the one hand, they claim to be Christians, but they are living to please the flesh.


Mark 7:7 "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men."


"Howbeit" means "nevertheless".


This sort of Christianity is surface. It is not from the heart. He told them that their doctrines were what served their own desires and really had nothing to do with the wishes of God. Even church doctrines should not be based on one or two Scriptures, but should be taken from Jesus' own Words (written in red in the Bible), and from a balanced look at the entire Bible.



Verses 8-9: Years of tradition, Jesus is saying, had brought some Jewish religious practices into conflict with the far older commands of the Old Testament. Too many were substituting modern religious custom for divinely revealed truth.


Mark 7:8 "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."


"Commandment of God ... Tradition of men": Jesus first accused them of abandoning all the commandments contained in God's Word. Then He charged them with substituting God's standard with a humanly designed standard (see note on Matt. 15:2).


Here we see a direct reprimand from Jesus toward these believers in name only. Tradition has nothing to do with real worship.


Mark 7:9 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."


The tradition of men and the commandments of God are two different things.


Mark 7:10 "For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:"


"Moses said": Quoted from (Exodus 20:12; the fifth commandment), and (Exodus 21:17). Both refer specifically to the duty of honoring one's parents, which includes treating them with respect, love, reverence, dignity, and assisting them financially. The second quotation indicates how seriously God regards this obligation.


Verses 11-12: Jews could evade responsibility to parents by declaring their substance "Corban," "devoted to God." Religious leaders evidently condoned this clear circumventing of both the letter and the intent of the Old Testament.


Mark 7:11 "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, [It is] Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [he shall be free]."


"Corban": A Hebrew term meaning, "given to God." It refers to any gift or sacrifice of money or goods an individual vowed to dedicate specifically to God. As a result of such dedication, the money or goods could be used only for sacred purposes.


Mark 7:12-13 "And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;" "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."


"None effect through your tradition": "Invalidating" means "to deprive of authority" or "to cancel." The "tradition" in question allowed any individual to call all his possessions "Corban" (see note on verse 11). If a son became angry with his parents, he could declare his money and property "Corban."


Since Scripture teaches that any vow made to God could not be violated (Num. 30:2), his possessions could not be used for anything but service to God and not as a resource of financial assistance for his parents.


But Jesus condemned this practice by showing that the Pharisees and scribes were guilty of canceling out God's Word (and His command to honor one's parents), through their tradition.


Jesus' quarrel was not with God's word, but with human misuse of it.


Jesus gave one specific Commandment that Moses gave the people from God that they had twisted around for their own convenience. This was not the only thing they had changed, but it was just an example of the many things they had changed to suit themselves.


We see in our day people getting away from the teachings in the Bible by saying, "That was for a long time ago, not our day." Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The truth never changes.


One of the worst things happening today is the tearing down of the home and marriage. With God, there are no alternate lifestyles. He ordained one woman for one man, marrying and building a family. Anything else is not God's will.


I too, just gave one example of a society on a down hill run to hell. There are many compromises God will not tolerate. Just because everyone else (tradition), is doing something, doesn't make it right.


Mark 7:14 "And when he had called all the people [unto him], he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one [of you], and understand:"


It is God's will that we all hear and understand. Some people reject the message that Jesus has for us. That is why it says, "Hearing, they will not hear". They must receive the message inside of them for them to truly understand and receive Jesus and His teachings.


Mark 7:15 "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man."


Jesus was speaking, here, of eating and drinking really not defiling you. This whole statement was to tell them that the things that were in a man's heart which bring words out of his mouth is really what tells what he really is. Nasty words stemming from an evil heart defile a man. The mouth is an instrument of life or death.


In Romans 10:9-10, you can easily see that what you say is terribly important to salvation.


Mark 7:16 "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."


This verse does not occur in the best manuscripts.


This is that ear of understanding. Everyone has ears that hang on the side of their head, but the ears Jesus was speaking of are ears to the heart.


Mark 7:17 "And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable."


You see, Jesus spoke in parables, so that the lost world who had no love for God could not understand. The Holy Spirit has to open our understanding for us to truly understand. Jesus would teach the disciples while He was with them.



Verses 18-19: Once again Jesus challenges His disciples with searching questions.


Mark 7:18 "And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, [it] cannot defile him;"


"Defile him": See note on verse 2.


Jesus almost scoldingly says, "Don't you understand this very simple thing".


Mark 7:19 "Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?"


Since food is merely physical, no one who eats it will defile his heart or inner person, which is spiritual. Physical pollution, no matter how corrupt, cannot cause spiritual or moral pollution. Neither can external ceremonies and rituals cleanse a person spiritually.


By overturning the tradition of hand washing, Jesus in effect removed the restrictions regarding dietary laws. This comment by Mark had the advantage of hindsight as he looked back on the event, and was no doubt influenced by Peters' own experience in Joppa (See note on Acts 10:15).


Jesus had already taught them that no food was unclean, if prayer was said before they ate it. Food just passes through the body and goes out in the draught, so that could not possibly hurt anyone. The bitter thoughts that originate in the heart and are spoken out the mouth destroy people


Mark 7:20 "And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man."


"That which cometh out of the man": A person's defiled heart is expressed in both what he says and what he does (see note on Matt. 15:11; 12:34-37).


"Defileth" (see note on verse 2).


Many apparently thought that the food itself forbidden by parts of the Old Testament (see Lev. chapter 11), rendered the eater unclean. Jesus is not challenging the accuracy of the Old Testament. He is pointing out that what one produces from, not what he takes into himself, is the essence of human sin.


In context, Jesus is pointing out the futility of seeking spiritual salvation by means of ritual observances, like dietary laws, which are incapable of purifying the heart (i.e., the moral life). A clean heart is something different from a properly cared-for digestive tract.


Mark 7:21-22 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders," "Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:"


"Fornications": Literally illicit sexual activity.


"Lasciviousness": Literally unrestrained, shameless behavior.


The heart of man is what he is. We will find as these Bible studies go on, that the heart is either desperately wicked or pure. There are no other ways. In a heart that is wicked, all of these sins that Jesus mentioned stem from this wicked heart.


We have said throughout all of these Bible studies that man is a spirit. He lives in a body, and he has a soul. The spirit of man wants him to live for God, and his flesh lusts after the evils of the world. Man, or mankind, is a free moral agent and can choose to be evil, or choose to follow God. The will of man will follow either the spirit or the flesh. It will not, and cannot do both.


Mark 7:23 "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."


The sins mentioned (in verse 21 and 22), above, are the call of the flesh. A person who has turned himself over to the lusts of the flesh will do these sins. The heart of the evil man obeys the flesh. This was what Jesus was saying here.


Mark Chapter 7 Questions


1. Where had the scribes and Pharisees of verse 1 come from?


2. Who were they really?


3. What picky little thing did they say the disciples did that was wrong?


4. Washing the hands over and over done by the Jews was not a law, but ____________ of the _________.


5. Where is this included?


6. What besides hands did they wash as part of the ceremony?


7. What question did these scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus about the disciples?


8. They were majoring on things that were not even God's teachings. They were _____________.


9. What had Isaiah said about these hypocrites?


10. Where in Isaiah is this found?


11. Jesus was really telling them that their doctrines were to serve what?


12. What should church doctrines be based upon?


13. Jesus said laying aside the commandments of God that hold the ____________ of ______.


14. What had Moses taught them to do?


15. How had they twisted this to satisfy their own needs?


16. What is Corban?


17. How do people of our day get away from the teaching of the Bible?


18. What is God's plan for man and woman?


19. In verse 14, what plea was Jesus making to the people?


20. What defiles a man?


21. What did He mean by "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear..."?


22. What did the disciples ask Jesus?


23. In verse 18, Jesus scolded them for what?


24. What destroys people?


25. Name five or more sins which proceed from the heart?


26. What two opposite ways can the heart be?


27. What part of man wants to live for God?


28. What part of man wants to live in sin?


29. What controls which way the man goes?


30. The heart of an evil man obeys what?




Mark Chapter 7 Continued

Verses 7:24 - 8:26: Jesus cares for and corrects various people.


Mark 7:24 "And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into a house, and would have no man know [it]: but he could not be hid."


"Tyre" (see note on 3:8).


"Would have no man know it": Jesus did not seek a public ministry in the area. It is likely He wanted time to rest from the pressure of the Jewish leaders and an opportunity to further prepare the disciples for His coming crucifixion and their ministry.


Jesus and the disciples seek the privacy that has already eluded them twice (6:32-33, 53-54).


This was immediately after He had explained to the disciples about the wicked heart. The "He" here is Jesus. He left Galilee for a short time. Tyre was the capital of Phoenicia near Judea. This appears to be when Jesus had left the Jews and had gone to the Gentiles.


He possibly went to a friend's home to rest for just a little bit, and perhaps, He thought the scribes and Pharisees would not follow Him there. His fame had already spread here as well, and there would be no way for Him to get away where no one knew Him.


Mark 7:25 "For a [certain] woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:"


"Unclean spirit": A demon (see note on 1:23; Matt. 15:22).


The woman's behavior indicates both reverence and desperation.


This woman was not a Jew. She loved her daughter more than she feared being run off. Most mothers would have been terribly concerned about a daughter with an unclean spirit. This woman humbled herself by falling at the feet of Jesus.


Mark 7:26 "The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter."


"Greek": A non-Jew in both her language and religion (see note on Rom. 1:14).


"Syrophenician": The region of Phoenicia at that time was part of the province of Syria. (Matthew 15:22), adds that she was a descendant of the Canaanites.


This is one of Jesus' few known dealings with a Gentile. The woman is from Phoenicia.


We see from this, that this was a Gentile; a Syrophenician. She knew what she wanted: Jesus to cast out this devil from her daughter.


Mark 7:27 "But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] unto the dogs."


"First": The illustration Jesus gave was in essence a test of the woman's faith. Jesus' "first" responsibility was to preach the gospel to the children of Israel (Rom. 1:16; 15:8). But that also implied there would come a time when Gentiles would be the recipients of God's blessings.


"The children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs": "The children's bread" refers to God's blessings offered to the Jews. This picture indicates that the "dogs" (Gentiles), had a place in the household of God, but not the prominent one (see note on Matt. 15:26).


"Dogs": This reference is to dogs that were kept as pets. Jesus was referring to the Gentiles, but He did not use the derisive term the Jews usually employed for them that described mangy, vicious mongrels.


Jesus' reply is not a cruel dismissal but a test of the woman's resolve, persistence, and faith.


"Children" would be either Israel (See Matt. 15:24), or the disciples. If the latter, Jesus is saying "Can you not leave us in peace? The disciples are weary."


"Dogs" is literally "doggies," household pets that would spend mealtimes beneath the table.


Jesus was speaking to her about coming to the Jews first. He didn't come out and say no, but He told her that He was to take care of the Jews first. Every non-Jew was thought of by the Jews as a dog at the time of this writing. He was just saying, "I can't neglect the chosen children to help those away from God".


Mark 7:28 "And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs."


"Yes, Lord": Indicative of the woman's humble faith and worshipful attitude. She knew she was sinful and undeserving of any of God's blessing. Her response was characterized by a complete absence of pride and self-reliance, which Jesus answered by granting her request (verses 29-30).


The woman responds with insight into Jesus' patient grace. She turns His own words back on Him.


This was a very wise woman. She did not argue with Him, she in fact agreed. Then she admitted to being unworthy. She was humble. She was willing to take the crumbs that fell from the table, knowing that even this would be the most powerful food she had ever eaten.


She was saying: "Lord, in the face of all the wonderful miracles, this is just a crumb compared to that". Her humbleness and faith won Him over. In another Scripture He said, "Woman your great faith". Here we see Jesus moved by this.


Mark 7:29 "And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter."


Her reply was evidence of the quality of her faith.


This Scripture tells us so much. First, that one person can stand in for another to be prayed for. The one being prayed for does not have to be there. We see here also, that devils dwell within people and sometimes must be cast out.


The Scripture nowhere says that the daughter prayed. You can pray for another's deliverance. There need not be any great lapse of time, this was done immediately.


Mark 7:30 "And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed."


The devil had no choice, he had to leave. The daughter was free but exhausted and resting on the bed. The mother expected a miracle and got one. It was almost as if Jesus came there to do just this one miracle.


Mark 7:31 "And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis."


"Departing from the coasts of Tyre ... Sidon ...Sea of Galilee": Jesus traveled 20 miles north from Tyre and passed through Sidon, which was deep into Gentile territory. From there He went east, crossed the Jordan, and traveled south along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.


Peter's home was next to the Sea of Galilee. He went near there often. Whether to rest or because it was familiar territory, I cannot say. It seems He didn't go straight back but took a little side trip.


Mark 7:32 "And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him."


This person was not totally dumb but, because of the impediment in his speech, we know that he had been deaf for a long time and had what we call tongue tied.


Just one touch of Jesus' hand would make him whole. These people were aware of Jesus' ability to heal. His fame had spread throughout the land; and they knew for sure that if the Lord would touch him, he would be made whole and able to hear and speak clearly.


Mark 7:33 "And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;"


"Put his fingers into his ears": Because the man could not hear, Jesus used His own form of sign language to tell him that He was about to heal the man's deafness.


"And he spit and touched his tongue": Also a form of sign language in which Jesus offered the man hope for a restored speech.


This was a very dramatic healing. Jesus, in each instance, touched the problem area. This healing was not for the others, this was for this one individual. Jesus heals one at a time. He deals with us on an individual basis. In this, Jesus recognized where the problems were and dealt with the problems one at a time. This prepared the man to receive in both these areas.


Mark 7:34 "And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened."


"Ephphatha": An Aramaic word that Mark immediately defines.


The word for "sigh" appears also (in Romans 8:23 and 2 Cor. 5:2). It reflects Jesus' inner emotional and spiritual fervor as He beseeches God to undo this evil.


This "looking up to heaven" lets this man know where his help came from. Perhaps, the "sigh" was to let the man (and all who read of this in the years to come), know that Jesus truly had compassion for those who were suffering for any reason. He suffers with us.


We know that Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings and that everything in earth must bow to Him. He commanded these ears and tongue to be opened and not stammer.


Mark 7:35 "And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain."


"String" would be simply that which had inhibited his speech.


We see here, that whatever kept this person deaf and dumb had to obey the voice of Jesus, and this person was made whole.


Mark 7:36 "And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published [it];"


"Tell no man": Although Jesus ministered to Gentiles as the need arose, His intention was not to have a public ministry among them (see note on 1:44).


There was no possible way this man could keep it a secret that he was made totally whole. Suddenly he could hear the birds chirp and the rustling of the leaves when the wind blew. He could hear a baby cry or hear a mother sing a lullaby. His tongue was loosed as well, and you know he talked without stopping.


His praises of the God who did these wonderful things for him had to keep him talking constantly. Those who knew him before constantly asked how this all happened; and of course, he was so proud that he spread the word.


Mark 7:37 "And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."


Here we see the reaction of those who saw and heard of the wonderful miracle performed in someone they knew. Possibly, many of these people had been going to worship regularly, but had never seen anything like this before.


This one miracle here could cause thousands to flock to Jesus to bring their sick and deformed to be healed. There would certainly be no place for Him to go now where they had not already heard of Jesus' miracles.


Mark Chapter 7 Continued Questions


1. In verse 24, where did Jesus go?


2. Why did He go to this house?


3. What country was this near?


4. What faith background did these people have?


5. What was wrong with the woman's daughter that came to Jesus?


6. When the woman fell at Jesus' feet, what did it show her as?


7. What was the woman's nationality?


8. What did the woman want Jesus to do?


9. What did Jesus answer her at first?


10. What were non-Jews thought of at this time?


11. What humble remark did the woman make to Jesus calling herself a dog?


12. What caused Jesus to answer her prayers?


13. What did Jesus tell her that He had done for her daughter?


14. Does the person being delivered have to be there?


15. What condition did the mother find her daughter in?


16. Where did Jesus go by when he went back to the Sea of Galilee?


17. Who lived near the Sea?


18. What was wrong with the man brought to Jesus?


19. What did they want Jesus to do?


20. What two visible things did Jesus do before He prayed for him?


21. What expression did Jesus make when He looked toward heaven?


22. What does Ephphatha mean?


23. How soon was the man healed?


24. What did Jesus tell them not to do?


25. What did they do?


26. Name some things that he could hear that he had not heard before?


27. How was the astonishment of the people described?


28. What effect would all this fame have?





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Mark 8



Mark Chapter 8

Verses 1-9: Jesus again feeds a multitude. There are similarities with the account (in 6:44), but also important differences.


Mark 8:1 "In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples [unto him], and saith unto them,"


"Multitude being very great": Probably because of the widespread report of Jesus' healing of the deaf and mute man (7:36).


This seems like a repetition of the story (in chapter 6); but if you notice the details carefully, you will see this was two different occasions. We know this multitude was following the Lord, because of the man who was healed of deafness and had his tongue loosed so he could speak.


Mark 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:"


"I have compassion": Only here and in the parallel passage (Matt. 15:32), did Jesus use this word of Himself. When he fed the 5,000, Jesus expressed "compassion" for the people's lost spiritual condition (6:34). Here, He expressed "compassion" for the people's physical needs (Matt. 6:8, 32). Jesus could empathize with their hunger, having experienced it Himself (Matt. 4:2).


"Been with me three days": This reflects the crowd's eagerness to hear Jesus' teaching and experience His healings (Matt. 15:30). That they were with Him for that time before the miraculous feeding distinguishes this event from the earlier feeding of the 5,000. In which the crowd gathered, ate, and dispersed in one day (Matt. 14:14-15, 22-23).


We could take a lesson from these followers of Jesus. They had been with Him three days listening and learning and many receiving healing. They seemed to have no regard for food or welfare, as long as they could be with the Master. It appears they could have been fasting for three days and nights. They were possibly, afraid to leave, because they might miss a blessing.


Mark 8:3 "And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far."


"Diver" means "some".


The Lord Jesus we see, was impressed with such faithfulness and cared that they might faint along the way. It appears that the fame of Jesus was so widespread that many of these people had come from faraway places.


Mark 8:4 "And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these [men] with bread here in the wilderness?"


"Whence can a man satisfy these men with bread": Some find the disciples' question incredible in light of the earlier feeding of the 5,000. But it was consistent with their spiritual dullness and lack of understanding (14:21; 6:52).


"Here in the wilderness": The Decapolis (see note on 5:20), region was not as heavily populated as Galilee.


The disciples had still not grasped the miracle of the earlier feeding (6:52). They were unable to imagine what Jesus could do now.


The disciples forgot so quickly. This was another incident. This was not the first incident with the five loaves. Possibly, the point to be made here was that God always supplies our needs (not our wants), if we are His followers. Perhaps this questioning from the disciples was to drive home a point about just how great this miracle was.


The Lord is always caring for His followers, but each of us can look back and pinpoint a time when His care was more obvious than at other times. In the prayer the Lord Jesus taught the disciples it says "Give us this day our daily bread".


You see, the miracle provision is not for just one particular time, but is always available when we are totally concentrated upon the Lord. Perhaps, the mention of this type of miracle (so close to the same miracle a few lessons back), was to show God's continued concern for our necessities.


Mark 8:5 "And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven."


"Loaves": Flat cakes of bread which could easily be broken into smaller pieces.


It really doesn't matter how many they started with. The Lord could multiply even one into any amount He desired.


Mark 8:6 "And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before [them]; and they did set [them] before the people."


Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell of the 5,000 fed with the five loaves and two fishes. Matthew and Mark tell of the 4,000 fed. These are definitely two separate times. Several things were different in detail. In the first where the 5000 men were fed, started with five loaves of bread and two fishes and wound up with leftovers of twelve baskets full.


Mark 8:7 "And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before [them]."


Not only were the fishes few, but Mark stresses that they were also small.


Mark 8:8 "So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken [meat] that was left seven baskets."


"Seven baskets": Not the same baskets mentioned in the feeding of the 5,000 (6:43). Those were small baskets, commonly used by the Jewish people to hold one or two meals when traveling. The word here refers to large baskets (large enough to hold a man Acts 9:25), used by Gentiles. What was done with the leftover food is not mentioned. It was likely given back to the people to sustain them on their trip home, since the disciples evidently did not take it with them (verse 14).


Mark 8:9 "And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away."


"Four thousand: The number of the men only, not including the women and children (Matt. 15:38). This could indicate at least 16,000 people.


When the 4000 were fed, there were seven loaves and a few fishes and seven baskets full were left. We see that the Lord is not confined to one miracle of a kind. The amazing thing to me, is how quickly the disciples forgot.



Verses 10-13: Jesus declines to satisfy the demands for a "sign" (i.e., proof of His messiahship).


Mark 8:10 "And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha."


"Dalmanutha" This location is not mentioned in any secular literature and only mentioned here in the New Testament. The location is unknown, but clearly in the region near Magdala (Matt. 15:39, Magadan).


Recent archeological work in the area, when the water level of Galilee was at an all-time low; revealed several heretofore unknown anchorages. One small harbor has been found between Magadala and Capernaum which may be Dalmanutha.


Out of all of these disciples with Him, perhaps one had a boat standing by for just this use: when He finished ministering to the people. Many times He would go aside with the disciples. These were the times He taught the disciples about the things they did not understand.


Mark 8:11 "And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him."


"Pharisees" (see notes on 2:16; Matt. 3:7).


"Sign from heaven": The skeptical Pharisees demanded further miraculous proof of Jesus' messianic claims. Not content with the countless miracles He had performed on earth, they demanded some sort of astronomical miracle.


Having already given them more than enough proof, Jesus refused to accommodate their spiritual blindness. The supreme sign verifying His claim to be Son of God and Messiah was to be His resurrection (Matt. 12:39-40).


These Pharisees were evidently not interested in Jesus' message. They sought rather to satisfy their own curiosity, or perhaps to gather further evidence against Him on the supposition that His work was of demonic origin (3:22).


We see by this that the miracles Jesus had done throughout the land were still not proof enough for these Pharisees to make them believe He was the Son of God. Whatever He had done would not have been enough, no matter how great the miracle.


Mark 8:12 "And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation."


"Generation" refers to those Jews living at that time. "This generation" carries a derogatory sense because this particular generation of Jews has rejected Jesus as their Messiah; despite all the evidence provide them.


In (Matthew 16:4), they were not only called wicked, but adulterous, as well. It grieved Jesus deeply that they did not believe Him. There had already been signs enough. Jesus told them again that no other sign would be given.


Mark 8:13 "And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side."


"The other side": To the northeast shore, where Bethsaida was located (verse 22).


There was no need to stay there and argue with these people who would never believe, so He left.



Verses 14-21: Jesus challenges the "disciples" to deeper discernment. The disciples apparently failed to realize from the feeding of the "five thousand" (6:30-44), and from the feeding of the "four thousand" that Jesus can certainly provide for their needs.


Mark 8:14-15 "Now [the disciples] had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf." "And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and [of] the leaven of Herod."


"Charged" means "ordered" (see also 5:43; 7:36; 9:9).


"Leaven of the Pharisees and ... Herod": "Leven" in the New Testament is an illustration of influence (see note on Matt. 13:33), and most often symbolizes the evil influence of sin. The "leaven" of the Pharisees included both their false teaching (Matt. 16:12), and their hypocritical behavior (Luke 12:1); the "leaven of Herod Antipas was his immoral, corrupt conduct (6:17-29).


The Pharisees and the Herodians were allied against Christ (3:6).


Crossing by ship would take a good little while, and the disciples would, perhaps, become hungry in the crossing. There was no major food problem, however, because they would be able to get food on the other side. The Lord was not warning about food, but not to get involved in the false doctrine of the Pharisees.


Mark 8:16 "And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have no bread."


The disciples miss the point totally.


Can you believe that they could ever be concerned about lack of bread again when they had seen the miracle of the multiplied bread twice already?



Verses 17-21: Jesus is often portrayed as the gentle, patient Teacher. Here He barrages His followers with a battery of queries worthy of a prosecuting attorney.


Mark 8:17 "And when Jesus knew [it], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?"


"Why reason ye ... no bread?" Jesus' question rebuked the disciples for completely missing His point (see note on verse 15). He was concerned with spiritual truth, not mundane physical matters.


"Heart yet hardened": I.e., they were rebellious, spiritually insensitive, and unable to understand spiritual truth 3:5; 6:52).


This was actually a scold from Jesus. He knew what they were thinking. They were worried about feeding their own bodies. He said; will you ever realize that I will provide your needs?



Verses 18-21: Jesus' 5 questions further rebuked the disciples for their hardness of heart, and also reminded them of His ability to provide anything they might lack.


Mark 8:18-21 "Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?" "When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve." "And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven." "And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?"


If there ever was a doubt that Jesus miraculously fed two different groups, there should be no doubt after verses 19 and 20. This was a very good question He asked them in verse 21. It is almost unbelievable that they were there for both miracles and still did not believe that He would take care of their needs.


They had their eyes so fixed on their physical needs that they mistook the leaven of the Pharisees for bread that had yeast. The physical meaning of leaven is yeast, but the spiritual meaning is evil doctrine. The Pharisees had not been worried about the needs of the disciples up to this point. My question is; why did the disciples think these Pharisees would give them bread now?


We, like the disciples, must look for and understand the spiritual, and not be so concerned about the physical.


Mark Chapter 8 Questions


1. In verse 1, Jesus saw that the multitude was great and that they had no _________________.


2. Why was this multitude following Jesus?


3. How many days had they been there?


4. Why did Jesus not send them to their own homes?


5. What lesson can Christians today learn from this?


6. What impressed Jesus about these people?


7. What ridiculous question did the disciples ask Jesus?


8. If we are followers of the Lord Jesus, He will supply our ________not our __________.


9. How many loaves did they have?


10. What two things did Jesus do before passing the food to the disciples?


11. How many baskets of leftovers did they pick up?


12. How many were fed?


13. Which Gospels tell of feeding the 5000?


14. Which Gospels tell of feeding the 4000?


15. What was the same area as Dalmanutha?


16. How did Jesus get there?


17. Who came forth and began to question Jesus?


18. What did they want?


19. How did Jesus feel about this?


20. Did He grant their wish?


21. What were these Pharisees called besides wicked?


22. What had the disciples forgotten to take with them?


23. What did Jesus tell the disciples to beware of?


24. What is leaven in this Scripture?


25. What did the disciples reason among themselves?


26. What did Jesus say had happened to their hearts?


27. What question did Jesus ask that we might ask, also?


28. Why did they not understand?


29. What is the author's question about the bread?


30. What must we learn to concentrate more on?




Mark Chapter 8 Continued

Verses 22-26: This healing of a "blind man," where sight gradually improved until he; "saw" clearly; pictures the disciples' slow but progressive spiritual comprehension. Which climaxes (in verse 29), with their confession of Jesus as Messiah.


The second of Jesus' two miracles recorded only (in Mark 7:31-37). It is also the first of two healings of blind men recorded (in Mark 10:46-52).


Mark 8:22 "And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him."


"Bethsaida" :(see note on 6:45), for the other Bethsaida. This is Bethsaida-Julias, several miles north of the Sea of Galilee and east of the Jordan River.


Bethsaida means place of fish. This miracle was told about only in the book of Mark. It seems that many believed that Jesus must touch the person who had come for prayer for them to get a miracle. The blind man here, was brought by others to get help.


If we were to look at the spiritual side of blindness, surely a friend who wants us to come out of our spiritual darkness and see the Light (Jesus), would have to lead us to the Lord.


Mark 8:23 "And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought."


"Spit on his eyes": This action and Jesus' touching his eyes with His hands (verse 25), were apparently meant to reassure the blind man (who would naturally depend on his other senses, such as touch), that Jesus would heal his eyes (7:33; John 9:6).


Jesus took the blind man by the hand. We see here again, as we did with the deaf man, that Jesus was interested in him as an individual. He separated himself away from the crowds to give total attention to the needs of this one man.


Again, here we see Jesus made direct contact with the part of the man which needed healing. Probably this was so that this would build the man's faith up. Here we see Jesus asked the man if he could see.


Mark 8:24 "And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking."


This touch of the Lord's hand had brought healing. Now this man saw some light. Again, if we were looking at this from the spiritual, we would understand that our being born again and living brand new lives with Jesus requires another touch of the Lord's hand that we might see clearly.


This also brings to me an answer to the question, "Should I pray more than once for the same thing?" The answer is "Yes".


James 5:16 "Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."


Continue to pray and you will see wonderful results, as we do here in the next verses. The first time the man was looking as if through a glass darkly. His look was distorted, but let's see what a second touch brought.


Mark 8:25 "After that he put [his] hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly."


I really believe this second touch of Jesus was so that we would understand to keep praying and not give up if we don't get an immediate answer. He made him look up (give God the glory).


We are told in the Scriptures that there are different operations. Jesus was saying, "There are different ways of doing things with the same results". The Lord does it His way. We see when this man was obedient to the Lord, he was totally restored.


Mark 8:26 "And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell [it] to any in the town."


"Neither go into the town": Jesus led the blind man out of town before healing him (verse 23), probably to avoid publicity and the mob scene that would otherwise result. Unlike others in the past (1:45; 7:36), he apparently obeyed.


Jesus told the man this so that great multitudes of people would not follow Him just for His healing power. There was really no way to keep this type of miracle a secret though.



Verses 8:27 - 9:50: Jesus' influence expands through intimate self-disclosure. In (verses 27-33), we see the first prediction of Jesus' death (see 9:31; 10:33-34).


Mark 8:27 "And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?"


"Caesarea Philippi": A city about 25 miles north of Bethsaida near Mt. Hermon, not to be confused with the Caesarea located on the Mediterranean coast about 60 miles northwest of Jerusalem.


I really believe this question is of great importance today. Who do you say Jesus is? The answer you give can send you to heaven or hell (Romans 10:9-10). Jesus already knew what was being said, but again, He was making an important point.


Mark 8:28 "And they answered, John the Baptist: but some [say], Elijah; and others, One of the prophets."


"Elijah" (see notes on 6:15; Mal. 4:5; Matt. 11:14; Luke 1:17).


This is the very type of answer that many people are giving today. They call Jesus everything but God manifest in the flesh.


People are still trying to figure out with their mind who Jesus really is. Just the fact that He took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us makes people want to think of Him as mere man.


Mark 8:29 "And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ."


"But whom say ye that I am?" After they reported the prevailing erroneous views about Jesus (verse 28), He asked the disciples to give their own evaluation of who He was. The answer every person gives to this question will determine his or her eternal destiny.


"Thou are the Christ": Peter unhesitatingly replied on behalf of the 12 (Matt. 14:28; 15:15; 17:4; 19:27; 26:33; John 6:68; 13:36).


"Christ" means here the "Messiah," the Anointed One of God, the Redeemer prophesied in the Old Testament.


In (Matthew 16:16), we see the best answer of all given by Peter, "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."


Peter said a lot in this statement. He said You were born of a virgin because You are the Son of God. He was not a Christ, but THE Christ: The Anointed One of God. The entire subject of the Bible, Old and New Testament, is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.


All salvation is based on what you believe about Jesus. If you believe like Peter, you are saved; if you believe like the rest of the world, you are lost. Jesus is the Lamb of God, The Savior of the world.


Mark 8:30 "And he charged them that they should tell no man of him."


"Tell no man of him": Jesus' messianic mission cannot be understood apart from the cross, which the disciples did not yet understand (verses 31-33; 9:30-32).


For them to have proclaimed Jesus as Messiah at this point would have only furthered the misunderstanding that the Jewish people, desperate to be rid of the yoke of Rome, would seek to make Jesus king by force (John 6:15; 12:12-19).


There was nothing to be gained by this being told at this time. The Jews were looking for a king to rule them and get rid of the Romans. If they believed it, they would try to make Him rule like David.


The people who believed that He was God manifest in the flesh would doubt like Peter did when He was crucified. It was much easier to believe in His Godhead after He rose from the dead.



Verses 8:31 - 10:52: In this section, as they traveled to Jerusalem, Jesus prepared the disciples for His death.


Mark 8:31 "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and [of] the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."


"Son of man" (see note on 2:10).


"Must suffer many things": Jesus' sufferings and death were inevitable because they were divinely ordained (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28), though, humanly speaking, caused by His rejection from the Jewish leaders (see notes on 12:10; Isaiah 53:3; Matt. 21:42).


"Elders" (see note on 7:3).


"Chief priests": Members of the Sanhedrin and representatives of the four orders of ordinary priests (Luke 1:8).


"Scribes": Experts in the Old Testament law (see note on Matt. 2:4).


"After three days": In keeping with the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:40).


"Rise again": Jesus always mentioned His resurrection in connection with His death (9:31; 10:34; Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 9:22; 18:33), making it all the more incomprehensible that the disciples were so slow to understand.


Notice, when Jesus spoke of His death, He called Himself Son of man. He was fully God and at the same time was housed in the body of a man. His deity was from the Father and His humanity from Mary.


Many believe, and I am one of them, that the third day He arose; not after three days. His body was subject to death as yours and mine, but His Spirit is eternal. It did not die. He dismissed His Spirit from His body. His body was buried in the cave. On the third day, His Spirit re-entered His body and appeared to the women.


Mark 8:32 "And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him."


"Spake that saying openly": I.e., not in parables or allusions (John 16:29).


"Peter ... began to rebuke him": The disciples still could not comprehend a dying Messiah (see note on verse 30). Peter as usual (see note on verse 29), expressed the thoughts of the rest of the 12 (verse 33). His brash outburst expressed not only presumption and misunderstanding, but also deep love for Jesus.


In Jewish thought of that day there was no room for a doctrine of a suffering Messiah, to Peter, as to any other Jew, that would be a contradiction in terms.


Peter was thinking of Jesus taking over physically while He was here. Peter was thinking that Jesus would set up an earthly kingdom. Peter, who saw Him as the Lord, now was letting Satan use him to tempt the Lord with worldly fame.


Mark 8:33 "But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."


"Get thee behind me, Satan": In a startling turnaround, Peter, who had just been praised for being God's spokesman (Matt. 16:17-19), was then condemned as Satan's mouthpiece. Yet Jesus' sacrificial death was God's plan (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28), and whoever opposed it was, wittingly or not, advocating Satan's work.


The rebuke Jesus spoke (even though directed to Peter) was actually to Satan himself. Peter, in thinking of an earthly kingdom, let Satan use him.



Verses 8:34 - 9:1: Jesus teaches how to follow Him and why.


Mark 8:34 "And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."


"Deny himself": No one who is unwilling to deny himself can legitimately claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.


"Take up his cross": This reveals the extent of self-denial, to the point of death if necessary. The extent of desperation on the part of the penitent sinner who is aware he can't save himself reaches the place where nothing is held back (Matt. 19:21-22).


"And follow me" (see notes on 1:17; Matt. 10:38).


"The people", shows that this teaching is not limited to the present disciples, but extends to all who would serve Jesus.


We see here, that to be Christians (followers of Christ), we must put off the desires of our flesh and take on the will of God in our lives. Contrary to many teachings today, we see here that there is a cross to bear. If we are to follow Jesus, we too must crucify our flesh and live new lives of the spirit.


Mark 8:35 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."


"Shall lose his life ... shall save it": This paradoxical saying reveals an important spiritual truth: those who pursue a life of ease, comfort and acceptance by the world will not find eternal life. On the other hand, those who give up their lives (see note on verse 34), for the sake of Christ and the gospel will find it (John 12:25).


The flesh must die that the spirit may live. We must be willing for the flesh to die so that we may live with Christ.



Verses 36-37: "Soul": The real person, who will live forever in heaven or hell. To have all that the world has to offer yet not have Christ is to be eternally bankrupt; all the world's goods will not compensate for losing one's soul eternally (see note on Matt. 16:26).


Mark 8:36-37 "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" "Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"


All the riches in the world are nothing if you have to give up eternal life with Jesus to have it. Life on this earth is very short, and all the wealth of the world for this short life cannot even begin to compare with all of eternity in heaven with Jesus. Men or women should be willing to give up anything they need to, that will purchase life eternal for them.


Mark 8:38 "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."


"Ashamed of me and of my words": Those who reject the demands of discipleship prove themselves to be ashamed of Jesus Christ and the truth He taught, thus not redeemed from sin at all.


"Son of man" (see note on 2:10).


"When he cometh": Mark's first reference to Jesus' second coming, an event later described in detail in the Olivet Discourse (13:1-37).


Jesus makes a close connection between Himself and His words.


This just means if you deny Jesus now, He will deny you on judgment day. We must believe that Jesus is our Savior and tell the world. To be a Christian is to be a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Share Him with everyone.


Mark Chapter 8 Continued Questions


1. When Jesus was at Bethsaida, who did they bring to Him to heal?


2. What did they want Jesus to do to heal him?


3. What does Bethsaida mean?


4. Which of the gospels was this told in?


5. Where did Jesus take the blind man?


6. What physical thing did Jesus do to the blind man?


7. What did Jesus ask him?


8. What did the man see at first?


9. Should you pray more than once about something?


10. What do we learn about prayer in James 5:16?


11. Why did Jesus have the man to look up?


12. When was the blind man totally restored?


13. What did Jesus tell the man to do after He healed him?


14. At Caesarea Philippi, what did Jesus ask the disciples?


15. What three answers did they give?


16. In Romans 10:9-10, what do we learn about salvation?


17. Why do people want to believe Jesus was a mere man?


18. In verse 29, Jesus asked them what?


19. What did Peter answer?


20. What did Peter's statement tell us of Jesus' birth?


21. What is the subject of the entire Bible?


22. Salvation is based upon what?


23. What did Jesus begin to teach here to the disciples?


24. When Jesus spoke of His death, He called Himself what?


25. Jesus' deity was from the ________, and his humanity ____ _______ ________.


26. What was Peter's reaction to Jesus telling of his death?


27. When Jesus rebuked Peter, He was really rebuking __________.


28. If we follow Jesus, we must take up our _________ and follow Him.


29. The _________ must die for the __________ to live.


30. If we are ashamed of Jesus here, what will He do in heaven?


31. To be a Christian is what?





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Mark 9



Mark Chapter 9

Mark 9:1 "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."


"Verily I say unto you": A solemn statement appearing only in the gospels and always spoken by Jesus. It introduces topics of utmost significance (see note on 3:28).


"Not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom": The event Jesus had in mind has been variously interpreted as His resurrection and ascension, the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, the spread of Christianity, or the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.


The most accurate interpretation, however, is to connect Christ's promise with the Transfiguration in the context (verses 2-8), which provided a foretaste of His second coming glory. That all 3 synoptic gospels place this promise immediately before the Transfiguration supports this view, as does the fact that "kingdom" can refer to royal splendor.


Many believe that this statement just prior to the transfiguration was speaking of those (Peter, James, and John), who went with Jesus up the mountain and saw Jesus in all His glory. To many, this is a mystery.


Mark 9:2 "And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them."


"After six days": Matthew and Mark place the Transfiguration "six days" after Jesus' promise (verse 1). Luke, no doubt including the day the promise was made and the day of the Transfiguration itself, describes the interval as "some eight days" (Luke 9:28).


Six is significant here, showing Jesus' dealings with man had been completed and now He was ready to glorify God. Peter, James, and John were leaders among the disciples. These were loyal. He would allow these three to see His glory and to hear the Father say, "This is my beloved Son: hear him."


"Peter, and James, and John" (see note on 5:37). As the inner circle of Jesus' disciples, these 3 were sometimes allowed to witness events that the other disciples were not (14:33).


"A high mountain": Most likely Mt. Hermon (about 9,200 feet about sea level), the highest mountain in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi (8:27).


"Transfigured" means to be altered in form, that is, the transformation is outwardly visible. The same word is used (in Romans 12:2 and 2 Cor. 3:18).


From a Greek word meaning "to change" in form," or "to be transformed". In some inexplicable way, Jesus manifested some of His divine glory to the 3 disciples (2 Pet. 1:16).


The word transfigured means "to transform or to change". This happened high in the mountain away from the others. This was not for everyone to see.


Mark 9:3 "And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them."


"Shining, exceeding white": The divine glory emanating from Jesus made even his clothing radiate brilliant white light. Light is often associated with God's visible presence (Psalm 104:2; Dan. 7:9; 1 Tim. 6:16; Rev. 1:14; 21:23).


A "fuller" was one who laundered clothes.


This was a white so bright that it was difficult to see. No cleanser on earth could get it this white, because this white far surpassed any other white on earth. This was Jesus seen in His glory.


Mark 9:4 "And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."


"Elijah ... with Moses": Symbolic of the Prophets and the Law, the two great divisions of the Old Testament. The order, "Elijah," then "Moses," is unique to Mark (who reverses the order in verse 5).


"Talking with Jesus": The subject was His coming death (Luke 9:31).


We see here, Elijah as a representative of the prophets and Moses representing the law. This meeting with them on the mountain top seen by Peter, James, and John allowed these three to realize that Jesus truly was Messiah.


Moses died on the way to the Promised Land, and Elijah was carried away into heaven without benefit of the grave. So, we see here also, that these two show that Jesus is King over the quick and the dead. Elijah represented those who are alive in Christ, and Moses represented those who are dead in Christ.


Jesus was about to face the cruel death of the cross. This appearance showed that what the prophets could not bring in the way of salvation, and the law could not bring, the death on the cross would bring salvation to whosoever will.


Mark 9:5 "And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for