This week we will be looking in the third and fourth chapter of Mark. In these chapters, we start to see Jesus setting up for His great commission by the appointing of the twelve disciples, giving warnings about blasphemy, and explaining the how we should be as believers.
Mark Chapter 3
A Man with a Withered Hand (Mark 3:1-6)
Throughout the story of Jesus, you will always see that people will be questioning His authority and His mission, so it is no surprise that we start off chapter three of Mark with Jesus being watched to see if He could be accused of anything.
Side note: We get questioned everyday by the enemy for doing the good works of Christ. Kind of like Jesus, we have people watching our every move to be there right when we fall. Good news for us is that Christ is always there to pick us back up!! He is there to cast off the enemy and help keep our eyes on Him.
When Jesus hears the questions and accusations of blasphemy it says He was grieved at the hardening of their hearts in verse 5. Jesus was grieving for their souls.
He saw that the enemy was at work and was upset that He was being questioned, when all he was doing was trying to help. Ephesians 4:18 explains completely saying, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardened hearts.” The Message version explains it as that those with harden hearts are the way they are because they have refused God for so long they have lost sight of not only God, but also reality.
The Pharisees were so power driven that they hardened their hearts. They were seeking a power that they never really had, the power over man. Only God has that power. The Pharisees were looking for the bad in Jesus, while Jesus was looking for the good in all men. Can you see the difference?
A Great Crowd and The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:7-21)
Jesus again retreats to the sea with his disciples. He does this because so many people were flocking towards Him, maybe not for the complete right reasons but they were. Jesus had gained a group of followers due to His healing. He also encountered unclean spirits that He commanded to not speak.
Jesus had to step away from this at points throughout His commission due to a very big reason. What He was doing was dangerous. If word got around quickly of someone who called himself the “Son of God” was walking around commanding the unclean spirits and healing those in need His mission could have ended before it even began. As long as He continued to be on the move He could reach as many people as possible because those He left would spread the word for Him.
After being at sea, the story jumps to Jesus going up on the mountain to be is solitude. He then calls up his disciples to appoint them. In John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” This is important because it shows that the twelve men were not picked randomly, but they were picked out of all the others to help spread the Word of God.
The number twelve has a meaning, which is why it is important that Jesus appointed exactly twelve. The number twelve is a symbolism for the twelve tribes of Israel. The prophets talked about a restoration of the tribes of Jacob’s twelve sons, this can be read in Genesis 49.
Having the twelve come out of the way of the eyes of the public to be appointed shows the beginning of the restoration. Think about it. A revolution has never begun with the planning happening in front of the public. No, the planning happens in private to make sure everyone is prepared for what may come. This was what Jesus was doing.
After the appointing of the twelve the group went back to Jesus’ home. There was such a big crowd at Jesus’ house that the group could not even eat. When word got around the Jesus’ family they came and got Him because they thought He was out of His mind.
This is important for later on in chapter three. Jesus’ family knew the story of Jesus’ birth, and yet they were questioning Him as well. They came and seized Jesus from the crowd because they were embarrassed about what was going on.
I was blessed with an amazing family that has always supported me in what I do. I cannot even imagine doing something and my family come pull me away thinking I was crazy. Then again, I’m not Jesus, so if they did it probably would be for a really good reason!
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22-30)
Again, we see Jesus being questioned…except this time they are comparing Jesus to Satan. Unlike how I would have handled that situation, Jesus was very straight forward about what the differences between him and Satan are. The very first thing said is, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” Wow! Wait right there. Jesus literally just told all of them what He came to do. He came to defeat the enemy. The rest of the passage has Jesus explain more in depth about how Jesus came to the earth to defeat the enemy in his own house.
Jesus also gives a warning to those who speak against the Holy Spirit. In verse 29, Jesus explains that those who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness. This was Jesus warning them about what they were doing. Christ never wanted, or even wants, anyone to live without Him, but Jesus made it very clear what happens when someone chooses a life without Him.
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers (Mark 3:31-35)
Here is where the embarrassed family from verse 21 come into play. Jesus was sitting inside with a crowd of believers who were listening to everything He had to say. Mary and all of Jesus’ brothers were outside trying to get to Him. Jesus then says in verse 33, “Who are my mother and brothers?”
Remember how Jesus’ family in a way rejected Him? Here Jesus is making an example of that situation. Jesus counts all who follow Him and believe that He is the Son of God as His mother, brothers, and sisters. Here is when the example of community is shown. We are all family under the King. That being said… Jesus is willing to give up His family if they will not believe. He won’t force them to believe, but He will leave them behind.
Are we as willing to step aside from those who tempt you towards the things of the world, even if those people are your family or closest friends? We are supposed to surround ourselves with those who believe as we do. You shouldn’t forget about those people at all, however. This is where the beginning saying for the study comes into play. You don’t have to change the whole world, you just have to change your world.
Mark Chapter 4
The Parable of the Sower and the Meaning Behind It (Mark 4:1-20)
Jesus uses the parable of the sower to explain the different types of believers. He explains that the parable may not make sense to those who do not understand the purpose and mission. He uses the parables to paint a picture for those who do not completely understand; however, for the ones that do understand, there is a deeper meaning to the story.
To begin the sower is supposed to be those who spread the Word of God. This is where the saying about all you have to do is plant the seed and then wait for it to grow comes from. The seed is the truth of Christ. The growth part is whether someone grasp onto the truth and shape it to help spread the Word to others.
There are four different types of seeds. The seeds represent the types of believers:
- Seed on the path: This is someone who heard the message, but the enemy came in and took them into his grasp before they had a chance. The birds represent the enemy, and it shows just how fast the enemy can draw you in if you let him.
- Seed on rocky soil: This resembles someone who hears the word, gets really into it for a while, and then the flame burns out. Maybe not by choice, but something else grabs their attention and they forget what Christ has said.
- Seed in the thorns: The seed in the thorns symbolizes those who received the Word of God, but became worried of what the world would think. The thorns represent the things of the world that could make someone decide to either not believe or not admit to it.
- Seed in the good soil: This seed is the seed that the sower came from. This person heard the truth and grasped it for dear life. This person is the one who will take their seeds that they have received and start spreading it themselves.
Sometimes this can be hard to read, but which one are you?
It is important to know where you stand so that you can have a starting point of where you would like to be. I do not mind admitting that I use to be the seed on rocky soil. I had my moments where I believed, and I never stopped believing, but I also never really did anything to help further the kingdom of God. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started being the seed of good soil. Let me tell you, you can feel the difference and it is the best feeling in the world.
A Lamp Under the Basket (Mark 4:21-25)
Do you remember the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine” and how it talks about not hiding your light? This is what the parable about the light covered by a basket is about. Jesus uses the light as an example of the truth that should be spread to the earth through us. The light was never meant to be kept secret. It was meant to be shared with the world. How we listen to God and His calling for us will be shown later in Heaven.
This is how I see it. If everyone waited around for someone else to go out and tell the truth about our Lord, then we could potentially be waiting for a long time. At that point, no one would hear about how awesome our God is. So why wait for someone else to do it when you are just as capable to spread the Word of God with others!
The Parable of Seed Growing and the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:26-34)
These two parables explain the kingdom of God beautifully! The kingdom of God only grows as others talk and spread the word. In verse 32 it explains that the kingdom can grow through those who spread the word. It gives an example of the more people share the truth about God the larger the “plants” become and the more the world begins to change.
The main point for these two parables is: When we allow God to work inside of us, He begins to work through us.
Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)
The windstorm while Jesus and His disciples are at sea represents the craziness that the world and the enemy can throw at us during our life. As the disciples were running around worried and nervous about the storm, Jesus was actually sleeping. Jesus was at peace even though there was a storm outside. As the disciples became more afraid they woke up Jesus. Jesus then walked out and calmed the storm.
This can be us sometimes. We are all worried about what is going on in our lives that we forget the God is in control. Nothing will happen to us that God has not planned out, and that He cannot control with just a word from His mouth.
Jesus looked at the disciples and asked when they were going to get real faith in Him. They should have never been afraid of the boat sinking, or the storm taking control of the situation. Jesus was there and was in control, even while He was sleeping.
How many times have you tried to control a situation and it didn’t turn out right, but then when you gave it to God it all started to make sense? We all do it. It is a human flaw that we have. The real question is, do you let God take control of your situations or do you try to fight the storm alone?
Remember God never leaves our sides. When we feel like He isn’t there it isn’t because of Him not trying, it is us forgetting to reach out our hands to find him.
“God I pray that you will completely consume me so that I can go out and grow your kingdom. I pray that I never fear to shine my light for you, Lord. I pray that whoever I encounter will hear your words through me, and will go out to help make the change. Lord, shine through me. Let others see you through my actions. Amen.”