Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 3:21-4:34

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His family - Mark 3:21

Some of Jesus' own family members couldn't believe what they were seeing and hearing. Their only explanation was that he is out of his mind. He was insane.

Beelzabul - Mark 3:22

The scribes who came all the way to Galilee from Jerusalem had another explanation. Beelzebul was another name for Satan. It seems to have come from an ancient name for the Canaanite god Baal. The scribes couldn't deny Jesus' power so they tried to explain it away. They claimed that he did all these things by the power of Satan. Mark seems to have reported this incident between the two halves of the account of Jesus and his family to make the point that his family was no closer to understanding who he was than the hostile Jewish leadership.

Parables - Mark 3:23-25

The Greek word that is translated parables was used to denote a wide range of figures of speech, from short sayings to long stories. Here it refers to a pair of comparisons that Jesus made: a house and a kingdom. Jesus pointed out the foolishness of the claim of the scribes. It was senseless to say that Jesus was casting out demons because he was Satan himself.

Jesus is more powerful - Mark 3:27

Satan was indeed powerful. Jesus was more powerful. The only person who could accomplish the task of tying up the strong man was Jesus. Jesus then began to plunder Satan's house.

Truly - Mark 3:28

Truly is a word that Mark reported Jesus using 13 times to stress the importance or truth of what he was about to say.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit - Mark 3:29

Whoever blasphemes will never be forgiven for their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In this context Jesus focused on the sin of the scribes who claimed that he cast out demons by Satan's power. The scribes should have known better. They had seen God's power. They refused to believe. In fact, Jesus cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit. Their sin was knowing, deliberate, and grew out of an evil heart. For such sin there is no forgiveness.

Whoever does God's will - Mark 3:31-35

Mark mentioned Jesus' mother and brothers, but did not mention Joseph. Perhaps this means that Joseph was already dead by that time. Jesus' family made another attempt to get Jesus to come to his senses and come home with them. Jesus continued with his ministry to the family of God. Doing the will of God is the mark of the true member of Jesus' family. The will of God was Jesus' priority.

Parables of the Kingdom - Mark 4:1-34

Verses 11, 26, and 30 make it clear that the theme of this chapter is the kingdom of God. More specifically, these parables illustrate what the kingdom of God looks like in an environment of unbelief. The crowds were searching for a miracle worker. The Jewish leaders were calling him Satan. His family thought he had lost his mind. These parables are Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of God in the middle of that kind of misunderstanding and unbelief.

Crowd size - Mark 4:1

Again Mark emphasized the size of the crowd that Jesus was attracting.

Jesus' favorite teaching device - Mark 4:2

The word that is translated parables was used to denote a wide range of figures of speech, from short sayings to long stories. The parable seems to have been Jesus' favorite teaching device.

Results were very different - Mark 4:3-8

Ancient Palestine was one of the few places where farmers first scattered their seed and then plowed the earth. The result was that the seed fell on different kinds of soil and that's why the results were often very different.

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