Mark 3

Chapter 3

A Man with a Withered Hand.[a] 1 Again, Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him closely to see whether he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him.

3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 Then he said to the onlookers, “Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they offered no reply. 5 Looking at them with anger, he was saddened at the hardness of their hearts, and he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately began to plot with the Herodians how they might put him to death.

The Disciples Bear Witness to the Kingdom of God[b]

Summary of the Activity of Jesus.[c] 7 Thereupon Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeshore, and a great multitude of people from Galilee followed him. 8 In addition, having heard of all he was doing, large numbers also came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region of Tyre and Sidon.[d]

9 He instructed his disciples to have a small boat ready for him so that he would not be crushed by the crowds. 10 For he had healed so many that all who were afflicted in any way came crowding around to touch him. 11 And whenever unclean spirits saw him, they would fall at his feet and shout, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

13 Jesus Establishes the Group of the Disciples.[e] Jesus then went up onto the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 [f]He appointed twelve—whom he also named apostles—[g]that they might be his companions and that he might send them out to proclaim the message, 15 with the authority to drive out demons. 16 The twelve he appointed were: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”;[h] 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Contrasting Reactions to the Person of Jesus[i]

20 The Concern of Jesus’ Relatives.[j] Jesus then returned home,[k] and once again such a great crowd collected around them that they did not even find it possible to eat. 21 When his relatives heard about this, they went out to take charge of him, saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”

22 The Blasphemy of the Scribes.[l] Meanwhile, the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” 23 Summoning them to him, he spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot survive. 25 And if a household is divided against itself, that household will not be able to survive. 26 If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot survive; he is doomed.

27 “But no one can break into a strong man’s house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can ransack the house.

28 “Amen, I say to you, all sins that people commit and whatever blasphemies they utter will be forgiven. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they had claimed he was possessed by an unclean spirit.

31 The True Family of Jesus.[m] Then his mother and his brethren arrived, and, standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they said, “Behold, your mother and your brethren are outside asking for you.” 33 He replied, “Who are my mother and my brethren?” 34 Then, looking around at those who were near him, he said: “Behold, my mother and my brethren. 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”


  1. Mark 3:1 See note on Mt 12:9-14.
  2. Mark 3:7 This is the second period in the first half of the Gospel. A group of disciples has been formed; to these men who are really listening to him Jesus explains his message of the coming kingdom.
  3. Mark 3:7 Mark begins this second section with a summary of the activity of Jesus.
  4. Mark 3:8 This verse demonstrates Jesus’ great popularity with people from all of Israel as well as its surrounding neighbors. Mark recounts Jesus’ work in all the regions mentioned except Idumea: Galilee (1:14), the region beyond the Jordan (5:1; 10:1), Tyre and Sidon (7:24, 31), Judea (10:1), and Jerusalem (11:11). Idumea: the Greek form of the Hebrew “Edom”; but here it refers to an area in western Palestine south of Judea rather than the earlier Edomite territory.
  5. Mark 3:13 Among those who listened to Jesus there was a group that included women and 72 men who were later sent on mission (see Lk 10:17). Following the Ascension, the group had swelled to 120 believers who waited in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15). From such followers, Jesus here chooses 12 to be apostles (those given a special commission).
  6. Mark 3:14 Lists of the apostles are also found in Mt 1:2-4; Lk 6:12-16; and Acts 1:13. The order in which the names are given varies, but Peter always comes first and Judas is always placed at the end.
  7. Mark 3:14 Whom he also named apostles: missing in some manuscripts.
  8. Mark 3:17 Sons of Thunder: the Aramaic nickname emphasizes the fiery character of the two brothers.
  9. Mark 3:20 In these verses, which are peculiar to Mark’s Gospel, the author highlights contrasting reactions to the person of Jesus. The crowds search him out. His relatives think he is out of his mind and understand nothing about his mission; they want to take him by force and bring him back to his own town.
  10. Mark 3:20 The foundation of the eschatological community is followed by this passage, which recounts the failure to comprehend even on the part of relatives and above all the hostile refusal of the leaders of Judaism to accept him.
  11. Mark 3:20 Home: i.e., Matthew’s house (see Mt 2:15).
  12. Mark 3:22 See notes on Mt 12:22-32 and 12:32.
  13. Mark 3:31 See notes on Mt 12:46-50 and 12:47.

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