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Mark Chapter Three


I. Content of the Chapter


Various Kinds of Men that the Bondservant the Savior Had Been Faced with

A.  The Pharisees that adhered to the indifferent attitude toward the sufferings of others (v.1-6);

B.  The people that pressed on Him (v.7-12);

C.  The twelve disciples that He had appointed (v.13-19);

D.  The Lord’s family members who said that He was out of mind (v.20-21);

E.  The scribes who blasphemed the Lord that He cast out demons by the ruler of the demons (v.22-30);

F.   The physical and spiritual family members (v.31-35);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 3:1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.

YLT: “And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was there a man having the hand withered,”

Meaning of Word: withered”: to desiccate, to shrivel, to dry up;

Literal Meaning:had a withered hand”, the word “withered” was in the perfect tense, indicating that that hand was not born withered, but was caused by injury or illness later.

Spiritual Meaning: “synagogue” symbolizes all the religions represented by the Judaism.

  “A man was there who had a withered hand”, “hand” stands for service. “Withered” denotes the lack of the vigor of life. It is like a picture, showing that though men in religion want to do something for God, they can actually do nothing for God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If our service (hand) is done according to reasons and doctrines rather than the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is “withered” service.

2)    If the assembly lacks the provision of life, there will be lack of the power of service. If the local assembly where you are lacks members of service (“a withered hand”), there must be something wrong in the provision of life. Therefore we should solve the problem from its root by ---- to supply more positive provisions.

3)    Christians should often pray in every place, lifting up pious hands (1Tim. 2:8). However, if one’s spiritual life is weak, he must lack prayers or even can not or will not pray.


Mark. 3:2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

YLT: “and they were watching him, whether on the sabbaths he will heal him, that they might accuse him.”

Meaning of Word: watched…closely”: inspect alongside, note scrupulously; “heal”: wait upon menially, relieve, cure; “accuse”: reprove, plain;

The Background: according to the teachings of the Jewish rabbis, unless one was nearly to die, “healing” was forbidden on the Sabbath. This was because they believed that healing the sick person went against the regulation of “no working” on the Sabbath.

Literal Meaning: “so they watched Him closely, “they” referred to the Pharisees (see v.6). They watched Him over, scheming to trip Him up to accuse Him.

“Whether He would heal him on the Sabbath”, it indicated that the Pharisees did not doubt that whether the Lord Jesus “could heal Him or not”, but that whether He “would do it on the Sabbath or not”.

Spiritual Meaning: “whether He would heal him on the Sabbath”, the Sabbath was established for men to have rest. However, here there was a man who was sick, but he was not allowed to be healed on the Sabbath, indicating that there was only the formality of the Sabbath, but lacked the reality of the Sabbath.


Mark. 3:3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward."

YLT: “And he saith to the man having the hand withered, `Rise up in the midst.'”

Meaning of Word: “step forward”, rise, and lift up (in a commanding tone);

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If that man was not willing to do according to the Lord’s words (“Step forward”), he could not be healed (see v.5). The condition of receiving grace is that one shall be willing to rise and receive the Lord’s words.

2)    The obedience to the Lord’s first-step words will lead us into the second-step greater words.


Mark. 3:4 Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent.

YLT: “And he saith to them, `Is it lawful on the sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? life to save, or to kill?' but they were silent.”

Meaning of Word: “life”: soul; “kept silent”: dumb, hold peace;

Literal Meaning:they kept silent”, if they answered “yes”, they could not accuse the Lord of going against the regulations on the Sabbath. If they answered “no”, they disobeyed their conscience. Therefore, they deliberately escaped the question of the Lord, and thus their hardness of their hearts was manifested (v.5).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the Sabbath. The Lord values men above all.

2)    The real servant of the Lord works without being restricted by regulations. If we really work for Christ, we are “doing good”. Though sometimes it seems “violating the regulations” apparently, it brings real provision to those who are served,

3)    The Lord went against the laws of the Sabbaths for the sake of saving life, which showed that He came to deliver men from the religious customs.

4)    He who wants to do good and save life has to catch the opportunity. He who misses the opportunity to do good just does evil. He who misses the chance of saving life just kills others.

5)    If we look on indifferently when others need our help, we just have hurt them. If we stretch our hands to help them, we just save them.

6)    The difficulty of men in words is that ---- men like to say what they need not say, but dare not to say what they should say. The faithful workers of the Lord should not shrink from announcing all that they should announce (see Acts20:27).

7)    Sometimes, “keeping silent” was crafty, so the Lord looked around at them with anger (see v.5). Our judgment should not be vague or ambiguous because of our personal concerns.


Mark. 3:5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

YLT: “And having looked round upon them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their heart, he saith to the man, `Stretch forth thy hand;' and he stretched forth, and his hand was restored whole as the other;”

Meaning of Words: with anger”: indignation, vengeance; “look around”: look all round; “grieve”: afflict jointly, sorrow at; “hardness”: blindness, callousness; “restore”: reconstitute.

Literal Meaning: when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts”, “with anger”, it was a just attitude. “Being grieved”, it was a kind act. The Lord is both just and kind to men. However, men’s hardness shows their ignorance about the truth.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The man who had a withered hand heard the Lord’s word first ---- “he stretched it out” ---- and then “restored”. This is the principle of faith. If we follow the Lord through faith, we should also have actions according to the commandments of the Lord first and then see the gracious provision of the Lord.

2)    The words which the Lord has spoken unto us are spirit and are life (John. 6:63). If we receive, trust and obey the Lord’s words, we will obtain the healing of life.

3)    Nothing shall be impossible with God (Luke. 1:37). When the Lord gives the word, He will assuredly give power to men to obey His words.

4)    The man with a withered hand was not willing to stretch his hand out before men ---- men did not like to show their shortcomings to others ---- however the moment the Lord’s words was manifested (“stretch out your hand”), his hand was restored.

5)    “It was restored” showed that the Lord’s healing was perfect. The Lord’s working in us will enable us to be restored to be in line with the will of God.


Mark. 3:6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

YLT: “and the Pharisees having gone forth, immediately, with the Herodians, were taking counsel against him how they might destroy him.”

Meaning of Word: “counsel”: advisement, consultation, council; “destroy”: die, lose, mar, and perish;

Literal Meaning:Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians”, “the Pharisees”, they were a sect that were zealous in the traditions of their forefathers. “The Herodians”, they were a political party that betrayed their Jewish compatriots and served other nations. The Pharisees even did not spare the conspiracy with their enemy in order to maintain the regulations of the Sabbaths. Obviously, they had put the incidental before the fundamental and emphasized the “customs” more than “men”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Pharisees wanted to kill the holy one of God indeed in order to maintain the regulations of the law. Many Christians who are fervent in doctrines often get into a fight in order to maintain the doctrines.

2)    Religionists are only fervent in the words and letters of the law and neglect the truth and reality of the law, so that they even regard killing as serving God (John. 16:2).

3)    In the history of the Christianity, there were also many believers who struggled for reasons or letters and even killed those who were different from them by political power.


Mark. 3:7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea

YLT: “And Jesus withdrew with his disciples unto the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea,”

Meaning of Words: withdrew”: depart, give place, turn aside; “follow”: to be in the same way with;

Literal Meaning: “withdrew to the sea”, “the sea” refers to the Sea of Galilee;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    He who wants the appearance but refuses the reality can not obtain the presence of the Lord (“withdrew to the sea”). All those who desire to seek the Lord and follow the Lord will be under the Lord’s care and obtain His healing.

2)    What the Lord concerns is that men’s disease needs to be healed. He does not care for whether men have kept the customs.


Mark. 3:8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.

YLT: “and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon -- a great multitude -- having heard how great things he was doing, came unto him.”

The Background:Idumea”: a call to the Edom by the Romans and the Greeks. Edom was the place where the descendants of Esau inhabited (see Gen.36:43). It was added into the domain of Judea in about 150 BC. Later the Edomite Herod became Herod the tetrarch of the land of Judea by relying on the Roman authority.

Literal Meaning: “things He was doing”, “things” referred to all the things.

  “And Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon”, “Judea” referred to the west place of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. “Jerusalem” was the capital of Judea. “Idumea” spoke of the mountainous region in the south part of the Dead Sea, namely, the Sinai Peninsula at present. “Beyond the Jordan” referred to the east part of the Jordan River, which was also called Berea. “Tyre and Sidon” were seaports in the northwest of Palestine, namely, the Lebanon at present.

  The series of names included the whole Palestine, which showed that the name of Jesus was spread speedily, giving rise to the anxiety of both the political and religious circles of the Jews who were afraid that the people would rebel.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Once Christ has revealed His fullness (teaching, preaching, healing the disease and casting off the devils), He will draw people from many places to follow Him.

2)    Though there is a great multitude of people who follow the Lord, there is only a little part of people who really know the Lord (John 6:66).


Mark. 3:9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.

YLT: “And he said to his disciples that a little boat may wait on him, because of the multitude, that they may not press upon him,”

Meaning of Words: be kept ready for”: wait on, adhere closely to; “crush”: afflict, narrow, throng, and suffer tribulation;

Literal Meaning: “lest they should crush Him lest they should crush Him”, it indicated that the crushing of the people was a hindrance.


Mark. 3:10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.

YLT: “for he did heal many, so that they threw themselves on him, in order to touch him -- as many as had plagues;”

Meaning of Words: afflictions”: plague, scourging; “press about”: fell upon, lie on, and press upon;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The urgent need proves the blessing of God. If a servant of God has “lost his job”, it proves that the commitment of God has left him.

2)    The more a God’s servant serves, the more the demand and burden will grow, and the more pressing the calling will be, and the more manifest of God’s presence will be. Therefore, those who serve God should not be idle, and business is normal.


Mark. 3:11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God."

YLT: “and the unclean spirits, when they were seeing him, were falling down before him, and were crying, saying -- `Thou art the Son of God;'”

Literal Meaning: “the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him”, “the unclean spirits” refer to the unclean spirits attached in men. Though they knew the Lord Jesus, they had no intention to change their rebellious attitude.

  “Fell down before Him”, the unclean spirits feared the Lord’s authority, but did not obey Him.

Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord Jesus came to the desert land, what He had met was either disease or the devil ---- this was the real portrayal of the world. However, the full and victorious Lord can deal with all the cases ---- He healed the diseases, and subdued the devil.


Mark. 3:12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.

YLT: “and many times he was charging them that they might not make him manifest.”

Meaning of Words: sternly”: plenteous, greatly, much; “warn”: (straitly) charge, rebuke; “make…known”: manifest, reveal;

Literal Meaning: it was because Himself knew what was in man (John 2:23-25). For those who came with curiosity after hearing the name were mostly unreliable.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men in the world seek fame and status, but the worker of the Lord shall not care about evil report or good report. As unknown and well known (2Cor. 6:8-9).

2)    All those who are attracted to a place or a man by the reputation may not be reliable. That men like to crowd to hear the sermons of famous workers is mostly out of curiosity instead of real desire for the Lord’s words.

3)    The church does not build on the fame of ministers. Otherwise, if the ministers departed, the church would immediately become cold and low.


Mark. 3:13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.

YLT: “And he goeth up to the mountain, and doth call near whom he willed, and they went away to him;”

Meaning of Words: “call”: call toward oneself, call for;

Literal Meaning: “called to Him those He Himself wanted”, “He Himself wanted”, it in the original means an action sourced from some subjective desire without any influence from any objective condition. That the Lord chose and called the disciples was totally according to His will that He pleased.

Spiritual Meaning: “He went up on the mountain”, “went up on the mountain”, it symbolized that He entered into the heavenly sphere.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    That we have become the Lord’s believers is totally because of the Lord’s selection and calling ---- it is the Lord that has chosen us according to His will, not that we choose the Lord.

2)    Since the Lord’s calling is out of his own active intention, He will certainly take the full responsibility for His own selection. Since He has already chosen us, he will surely assume the responsibility of perfecting us till the end.

3)    All those who had been selected and called by the Lord will be voluntarily willing to answer the Lord’s calling and come before the Lord.


Mark. 3:14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,

YLT: “and he appointed twelve, that they may be with him, and that he may send them forth to preach,”

Meaning of Words: appoint”: make, do; “with”: together; “send”: send out, set;

Literal Meaning: “He appointed twelve”, the words “appoint” and “work” have the same etymon. The former is a verb, and the latter is a noun. And “work” in the original carries the meaning of “masterpiece” and “psalm” (see Eph.2:10). Therefore, the men that he Lord appointed were also His workman and psalm.

  “That they might be with Him”, “with” means to establish an intimate relationship, thus entering into closer fellowship with Him.

“And that He might send them out to preach”, the words “send” and “apostle” have the same etymon. The former is a verb, and the latter is a noun. The word “apostle” originally meant the one who was separated, and later it referred to the one who was sent. Therefore, this sentence indicated that the Lord sent those who were separated by Him to preach His words for Him. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We believers are the workmanship of God, who are created in Christ by Him (Eph. 2:10).

2)    “Twelve” is an eternal and perfect number. The Lord Jesus would make these twelve disciples a perfect testimony and type and take them as the foundation of God’s building in the eternal age (see Rev.21:14).

3)    The commitment to the workers of the Lord is “to be with the Lord” first, and then “to preach the Lord’s words” ---- concerning men, and “to cast out the demons (see v.15)” ---- concerning the demons. When we serve the Lord, we shall firstly keep proper and smooth fellowship with the Lord and deal with the matters concerning men and the devil afterwards.

4)    He who wants to work for the Lord should be firstly with the Lord. All those who have not been with the Lord cannot work for the Lord.

5)    The Lord’s presence is first and sending afterwards. If there is not the presence of the Lord, there will be no sending.


Mark. 3:15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:

YLT: “and to have power to heal the sicknesses, and to cast out the demons.”

Meaning of Words: power”: privilege, authority;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord will surely give “authority” to those who are sent by Him, which indicates that He must take the responsibility of supplying sufficient power to those who are sent by Him. The Lord’s sending and commitment will never go beyond His gracious provision.

2)    Power is given to do the Lord’s work. Only those who are willing to receive the Lord’s sending are worthy to be given power.

3)    The spiritual power in service is due to the Lord’s commission. If one has not been entrusted by the Lord, he will have no spiritual power and his service will consequently be of no true spiritual effect.

4)    The spiritual authority has two kinds of use in the assembly ---- one is to cope with God’s enemy Satan and its ministers, and the other is to help men in their spiritual life, thus making them grow up and be perfected.

5)    The Lord Jesus came into the world to gain a group of people instead of the so-called works of the Christianity. He made His life into those He had gained at first and then through them He would be manifested among others.


Mark. 3:16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter;

YLT: “And he put on Simon the name Peter;”

Meaning of Words: “Simon”: listen to; “Peter”: stone;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A worker of the Lord must “listen to” (the meaning of “Simon”) the Lord’s words, and devote himself to the Lord’s building ------stone (the meaning of “Peter”, see 1Pet. 2:5).

2)    Among the twelve apostles, the Scriptures had seldom recorded their histories except for the records about Peter in the Book of Acts. It shows that the Lord emphasizes how the Holy Spirit works through them instead of their own works.


Mark. 3:17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, "Sons of Thunder";

YLT: “and James of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, and he put on them names -- Boanerges, that is, `Sons of thunder;'”

Meaning of Words: “Zebedee”: God’s portion; “James”: usurper, to seize; “John”: God’s gift; “Boanerges”: the son of fury, a loud crier (a word from Aramaic);

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A Lord’s worker is one who is able to seize (the meaning of “James”) God’s eternal portion (the meaning of “Zebedee”) and God’s gifts (the meaning of “John”).

2)    A man who is furious can also be used by the Lord and becomes an evangelist who preaches loudly (another meaning of the word “Boanerges”), for the Lord can change a man’s natural character into another strong point in the spiritual ministry.

3)    James and John were called “Boanerges”, so they might have bad temper in their flesh. However, they became so gentle and kind in the end ---- which proved the abundant power of the salvation of Christ.


Mark. 3:18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite;

YLT: “and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananite,”

Meaning of Words: “Andrew”: man, mighty, overcomer, strong, masculine; “Philip”: affectionate, fond of horses; “Bartholomew”: son of Tholomew, son of wars; “Matthew”: God’s gift; “Thomas”: the twin; “Alphaeus”: interchange; “Thaddaeus”: wisdom; “Simon the Canaite”: listen to earnestly;

Literal Meaning: “the Canaite” was a Jewish revolutionary organization, which resisted the rule of the Roman Government over Palestine by force.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should “be strong” (the meaning of “Andrew”) to do the Lord’s work

2)    Bartholomew was also known as Nathanael (John. 1:45). The Lord’s workers should “deeply love” (meaning of “Philip”) God’s gifts (meaning of “Nathanael”)

3)    Since the Lord’s workers receive double (the meaning of “Thomas”) gifts, the gifts will be changed (meaning of “Alphaeus”) into the wisdom and ability (meaning of “Thaddaeus”) that they can seize (meaning of “James”).

4)    What is most is to listen to (meaning of “Simon the Cananite”) the Lord earnestly from our heart.


Mark. 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

YLT: “and Judas Iscariot, who did also deliver him up; and they come into a house.”

Meaning of Words: “betrayed”: bring out; “Iscariot”: the one with purse who is good at trading (the meaning of this word in Aramaic); “Judas”: worship.

Literal Meaning: “Canaite”, a city of the tribe of Ephraim, was near to Samaria.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The act of “worship” (meaning of “Judas”) is superficial. It is still possible for those who pretend to be workers of the Lord in appearance to betray the Lord.

2)    Even Judas who betrayed the Lord was listed in the twelve apostles, which indicated that when the Lord got along with others, He only concerned about the will of God instead of His own benefits.


Mark. 3:20 And they went into a house. Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

YLT: “And come together again doth a multitude, so that they are not able even to eat bread;”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    As long as there is the Lord in the assembly, there will be gathering.

2)    The Lord was so busy for men that even He sacrificed His normal enjoyment ---- “they could not so much as eat bread”. All these diligence and toil were for the sake of us, but what have we sacrificed for Him?

3)    The Lord Jesus did not concern for His own physical need for the sake of concerning about the need of “all the people”. The fundamental attitude for serving the Lord should be taking the concerns for others first and ours later.


Mark. 3:21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."

YLT: “and his friends having heard, went forth to lay hold on him, for they said that he was beside himself,”

Meaning of Words: lay hold of”: lay hand on, grab; “out of His mind”: astound, be astonished;

Literal Meaning: “He is out of His mind.” ---- The people did not say He had lost His mind, but that He was so zealous in religion that he had became uncommon (see Acts. 26:24; 2Cor. 5:13).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord’s works were so busy that He even could not so much as eat bread (see v.14), so the relatives said He was “out of Hid mind”. The one who really has the commitment from God usually does things going beyond bounds so that those who have only earthly insight may believe such man is “out of mind”. If we are not nearly “beside ourselves” when serving the Lord, it is still not sufficient (see 2Cor.5:13).

2)    The natural love usually becomes a hindrance to serving the Lord, for man’s good intention may often be against the will of God. Man can only be delivered by the effect of the death of the cross (see Matt. 16:21-24).

3)    The world does not understand Christians, so they often criticize zealous Christians as “being out of mind”.


Mark. 3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub," and, "By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons."

YLT: “and the scribes who from Jerusalem having come down, said -- `He hath Beelzeboul,' and -- `By the ruler of the demons he doth cast out the demons.'”

Literal Meaning: the scribes refused to confess that the Lord Jesus is from God (John.9:16), but they could not deny the fact that He had cast out demons. Therefore they slandered Him that He cast out demons by the ruler of the demons.

  “Beelzebub” was the Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron (2Kings.1:2). The Jews changed its voice to call it “Beelzebub”, which meant “the king of dunghill”, also “the king of house”, because the devil possessed men, treated men as houses and occupied men’s body as the king of house.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Jealousy makes man lose mind and prejudice makes man lose light.

2)    Since men abuse and blaspheme our Lord, we can not expect others to treat us good. When we are misunderstood, persecuted and despised by others, we shall remember how men treat our Lord.


Mark. 3:23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: "How can Satan cast out Satan?

YLT: “And, having called them near, in similes he said to them, `How is the Adversary able to cast out the Adversary?”

Meaning of Words: “Satan”: adversary, accuser;

Literal Meaning: “Satan”, the adversary against God, will never be adversary against itself.


Mark. 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

YLT: “and if a kingdom against itself be divided, that kingdom cannot be made to stand;”

Meaning of Words: “divide”: share, disunite; “cannot stand”: cannot stand steadily;

Literal Meaning: Satan has its own kingdom ---- this world is its kingdom, it is the king of this kingdom (John12:31). It can not bear any division.


Mark. 3:25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

YLT: “and if a house against itself be divided, that house cannot be made to stand;”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The testimony of the church (house) lies in believers’ bearing with one another in love and being kept in the uniting bond of peace.

2)    Any church has the condition of division, and there will be no building there.


Mark. 3:26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.

YLT: “and if the Adversary did rise against himself, and hath been divided, he cannot be made to stand, but hath an end.”

Meaning of Words: end”: conclusion;


Mark. 3:27 No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.

YLT: “`No one is able the vessels of the strong man -- having entered into his house -- to spoil, if first he may not bind the strong man, and then his house he will spoil.”

Meaning of Words: strong man”: mighty man, powerful man; “plunder”: seize asunder, spoil;

Spiritual Meaning: “a strong man”, it refers to the mighty and powerful man, symbolizing Satan. “A strong man’s house”, it speaks of the kingdom of Satan. “His goods and his house” symbolize the tools utilized by Satan, i.e. the world utilized by it and under its power (1John. 5:19). 

    The Lord Jesus had crushed the head of Satan on the cross (Gen. 3:15) and all that believe the Lord are set free by Him (Gal. 5:1). We have been delivered from the authority of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men were God’s possession at first, but were then stolen by Satan and became its goods.

2)    The principle of our work is to bind first and plunder afterwards. The effective way of preaching the glad tidings is to pray to the Lord for binding Satan firstly.

3)    Every spiritual work is obvious plunder, not secret robbery. We Christians need not deal with Satan secretly.

4)    Believers’ prayers of faith can also bind Satan (Matt. 16:19, 18:18).


Mark. 3:28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;

YLT: “`Verily I say to you, that all the sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and evil speakings with which they might speak evil,”

Meaning of Words: “blasphemy”: evil speaking, defamation, and vilification (especially against God)

Literal Meaning: “assuredly, I say to you”, “assuredly”, it means “amen” or “truth”, so it can also be translated in this way ---- “I amen say to you”, or “I say to you by truth”. The Lord Jesus said this for many times in order to firm the serious, admonitory and authoritative tone.


Mark. 3:29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"--

YLT: “but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment;'”

Meaning of Words: against”: at, forth, be hostile; “be subject to”: guilty of, be liable to;

Literal Meaning: If men repent, all the sins in both actions and words will be forgiven. However if one knows obviously that the Holy Spirit is working and yet deliberately despises and blasphemes the Holy Spirit, he just has restrained the Holy Spirit from working in his heart forever. In this way, it is impossible for him to repent of his sins, and of course he will never be forgiven.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    One will be forgiven if he had not obeyed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the sale of infirmity. Only those who have obviously known that something is of the Holy Spirit and yet say that it is of Satan will never be forgiven.

2)    Every behavioral sin of men can be forgiven. However if men are purposefully against the Holy Spirit and keep their hearts hardened to the end, there will be of no possibility for them to be forgiven.


Mark. 3:30 because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."

YLT: “because they said, `He hath an unclean spirit.'”


Mark. 3:31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.

YLT: “Then come do his brethren and mother, and standing without, they sent unto him, calling him,”

The Background: according to the records from verse 20 to 21, the Lord Jesus could not so much as eat bread in order to keep the will of God the Father and His relatives said that He was out of His mind. Therefore they might have invited His mother and brothers to urge Him (Mark. 3:31).


Mark. 3:32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."

YLT: “and a multitude was sitting about him, and they said to him, `Lo, thy mother and thy brethren without do seek thee.'”

Spiritual Meaning: “outside”, it symbolizes that in the outside of the house of God (assembly).

Enlightenment in the Word: men can neither draw near to the Lord nor have fellowship with the Lord outside of the house of God.


Mark. 3:33 But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?"

YLT: “And he answered them, saying, `Who is my mother, or my brethren?'”

Literal Meaning: the Lord did not mean to forsake His physical family members (see John19:26-27). He intended to reveal one thing by these words ---- relationships in the house of God was not based on relationships in the flesh.


Mark. 3:34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers!

YLT: “And having looked round in a circle to those sitting about him, he saith, `Lo, my mother and my brethren!”

Spiritual Meaning: “those who sat about Him” refer to those who believe the Lord and seek the Lord. In the house of God, the physical relationship and union have been changed in to the spiritual relationship and union.


Mark. 3:35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

YLT: “for whoever may do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.'”

Spiritual Meaning: the Lord Jesus is the center of the will of the Father. Whoever does the will of God is His “brother” who helps Him, His “sister” who understands Him and His “mother” who loves Him gently.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The will of God is to bring us to enter into the eternal rest (Heb. 4:1-11). Therefore those who do the will of God will enjoy the rest in the house of God.

2)    Whoever does the will of the Father lives in the reality of the kingdom of God. He can surely establish a kind of heavenly relationship with the king of the kingdom of heaven and will become His family members.

3)    The spiritual relationship between the Lord and believers exceeds the corporeal relationship. Though we believers have responsibilities and obligations that we should take and fulfill, we should still put doing the will of God first.

4)    All those who regard their spiritual brothers more important than their physical brothers will gain further spiritual growth and suffer less involvement in the worldly matters or pains caused by the physical relationship. 

5)    Since the Lord exalts the spiritual relationship more than the corporeal relationship, those who worship Mary have obviously made a serious mistake.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Men that Hindered the Lord’s Works

A.       Those who adhered to their prejudice and were hardened in their hearts (v.1-6);

B.       Those who came to crush the Lord after hearing the reports (v.7-9);

C.       The Lord’s family members who said that He was out of mind because He was so busy that could not so much as eat bread (v.20-21);

D.       The scribes who deliberately blasphemed the Lord that He cast out demons by the ruler of the demons (v.22-30);

E.       Those who did not know to do the will of God (v.31-35);


The Comparisons Between the Two Kinds of Men

A.       Those whose hearts were hardened whom Lord had looked around at with anger” (v,5) ---- those who did the will of God whom the Lord “looked around” (v.34);

B.       The disciples that served the Lord and the people that pressed on the Lord (v.9);

C.       The man that was possessed with the devil (v.11-12) ---- the disciples that had the authority to cast demons (v.15);

D.       The Lord’s physical family members and spiritual family members (v.31-35)


The Disciples of the Lord Jesus

A.       They were those He Himself wanted and were called by the Lord Himself (v.13);

B.       They were appointed by the Lord Himself (v.14a);

C.       They might be with the Lord (v.14b);

D.       They were sent out to preach by the Lord (v.14c);

E.       They had power to cast demons (v.15);

F.        They were changed by the Lord ---- “being renamed” (v.16-17);


Three Main Kinds of Equipment of the Lord’s Workers (v.14-15)

A.       Revelation ---- one shall understand the will of God through the fellowship with the Lord in His presence.

B.       Commitment ---- One shall receive the special commitment from the Lord in the Lord’s “sending”.

C.       Authority ---- One shall receive the spiritual “authority” from the Lord.


The Principle of the Spiritual War

A.       If the group is divided against itself, house will not be able to stand (v.23-26) ---- we should keep the oneness.

B.       One shall first bind the strong man and then plunder his goods (v.27) ---- we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph.6:12)

C.       One shall not blasphemes against the Holy Spirit (v.28-30) ---- therefore, we shall cast demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28)


How to Keep a Close Relationship with the Lord?

A.       One shall know the Lord’s words and deeds (v.20-21).

B.       One shall neither “stand outside” nor far off the Lord (v.31-33).

C.       One shall walk with and sit about the Lord together (v.34).

D.       One shall do the will of God (v.35).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou