Remarks on Mark 3:7-35

Mark 3:7‑35  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
JESUS was now made manifest in the holy grace and power of His ministry, the vanquisher of Satan, and—withal subject to God, superior to ordinances even as Son of man and the asserter of God's right to do good in an evil world. Much as man might like to profit for his own interests by His power and the mercy in which it was wielded, enmity to God in Him soon displayed itself. The self-righteous and the profane take counsel how to destroy Him.
But, His hour not being yet come, Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea, retiring from the hypocritical malice of His enemies, but unwearied on the errand of love on which He was sent. “And a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea, and from Jerusalem; and they about Tire and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did came unto him. And he spake to his disciples that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.” (Ver. 7-10.) After all, how little can man arrest the stream of blessing! Till God's time arrives to yield to the cross, the stream of testimony may be diverted, but it will flow to the eternal joy of the poor and needy who bow to Jesus. In the cross it overflowed. But the Lord, intent on the best blessings for man, provides against the over-pressure of a crowd too engrossed in the relief of bodily weakness and suffering; while He refuses the testimony of the unclean spirits, compelled to bow and own His glory. (Ver. 11, 12.) It was not for such to make Him known. He received not testimony from man as such, much less from demons. What was the value of any recognition of His person unless it were of God's own working by the Spirit?
Far, however, from hiding the light under a bushel, our Master now enters on a new and momentous step in the testimony of grace. “And He goeth up into a mountain, [for ministry has its source on high, and in nowise has its sanction from the multitude,] and calleth unto Him whom He would; and they came unto Him, and He ordained (or appointed) twelve that they might be with him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal diseases and to cast out devils (demons).” It was an act not only new and strange to man's eye, but in truth independent of Israel and man, and most significant in every point of view. The Lord separates Himself from men to God and summons in sovereign choice whom He would; and they came. And if He caused twelve to be with Him specially and to be sent by Him, it was, as in His own case, with marked prominence given to preaching, but with title and ability to heal diseases and expel demons; and even among the apostles there was a peculiar place assigned from the first to Simon, surnamed by Him Peter, and to the sons of Zebedee, whom He surnamed Boanerges, followed by the rest, though one of them, Andrew, was certainly among the first who saw and followed by Jesus, and was the means of bringing to Jesus his own brother Simon. But there are last who become first, and the Lord, who calls and orders all, alone is wise and worthy. What a testimony to the condition of men and things around! Men, the Jews, needed to be preached to; all was out of course. It was not a question of heathen only. It was in the midst of self-satisfied Israel that the lowly Son of God thus wrought.
On their coming home, a crowd again assembled so that they could not even eat bread. But His kinsmen felt the reproach of the world and went out, at the singular tidings to lay hold on Him as if He were out of His mind! They were ashamed of a relative, mad to their thinking, who virtually condemned all the world, especially in what He had just done. It was nature, always blind in divine things.
Not so merely, “the scribes which came down from Jerusalem and said, he hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the demons He casteth out demons.” They were filled and guided of the enemy, and knew well it was no case of a madman, but of a real power which cast out demons. This their malice attributed to Satan in their effort to explain, weaken, and defame what they could not deny. The energy which dealt with Satan, in mercy to man, was owned; but if they owned it to be of God, their religious importance, their occupation, their gain was gone. And the highest of occupations is proverbially the basest of trades; and trading in souls and truth or falsehood exposes men to Satan. And the fatal die was cast. And these proud teachers, setting up to be authorized of God to reject His Son, sunk into the merest slaves of Satan. How solemnly and with what unbroken calm the Lord deals with them! “And having called them unto Him, He said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 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. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation; because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” It was not only self-contradictory and attributing good to the evil one, but blasphemous; yea, it was to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit; and judgment, eternal judgment, is the sentence of His lips, “because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”
The concluding scene (ver. 31-35) is the grave and fitting sequel; for therein the Lord, in the bearing of a crowd that surrounded him, renounces as it were all natural ties, were they the nearest ones of His mother and His brethren, substituting His disciples, whosoever should do the will of God, in the place of that relationship to Him from which apostate Israel was falling.