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Healing a Withered Hand

Then[a] Jesus[b] entered the synagogue[c] again, and a man was there who had a withered[d] hand. They watched[e] Jesus[f] closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath,[g] so that they could accuse him. So he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Stand up among all these people.”[h] Then[i] he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or evil, to save a life or destroy it?” But they were silent. After looking around[j] at them in anger, grieved by the hardness of their hearts,[k] he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.[l] So[m] the Pharisees[n] went out immediately and began plotting with the Herodians,[o] as to how they could assassinate[p] him.

Crowds by the Sea

Then[q] Jesus went away with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him.[r] And from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan River,[s] and around Tyre and Sidon[t] a great multitude came to him when they heard about the things he had done. Because of the crowd, he told his disciples to have a small boat[u] ready for him so the crowd[v] would not press toward him. 10 For he had healed many, so that all who were afflicted with diseases pressed toward him in order to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits[w] saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But[x] he sternly ordered them not to make him known.[y]

Appointing the Twelve Apostles

13 Now[z] Jesus went up the mountain[aa] and called for those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He[ab] appointed twelve[ac] so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 [ad] To Simon[ae] he gave the name Peter; 17 to James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee,[af] he gave the name Boanerges (that is, “sons of thunder”); 18 and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,[ag] Matthew, Thomas,[ah] James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus,[ai] Simon the Zealot,[aj] 19 and Judas Iscariot,[ak] who betrayed him.[al]

Jesus and Beelzebul

20 Now[am] Jesus[an] went home, and a crowd gathered so that they were not able to eat. 21 When his family[ao] heard this they went out to restrain him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 The experts in the law[ap] who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,”[aq] and, “By the ruler[ar] of demons he casts out demons!” 23 So[as] he called them and spoke to them in parables:[at] “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If[au] a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom will not be able to stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan rises against himself and is divided, he is not able to stand and his end has come. 27 But no one is able to enter a strong man’s[av] house and steal his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can thoroughly plunder his house.[aw] 28 I tell you the truth,[ax] people will be forgiven for all sins, even all the blasphemies they utter.[ay] 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin”[az] 30 (because they said, “He has an unclean spirit”[ba]).

Jesus’ True Family

31 Then[bb] Jesus’[bc] mother and his brothers[bd] came. Standing[be] outside, they sent word to him, to summon him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers[bf] are outside looking for you.” 33 He answered them and said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”[bg] 34 And looking at those who were sitting around him in a circle, he said, “Here[bh] are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is[bi] my brother and sister and mother.”


  1. Mark 3:1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  2. Mark 3:1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  3. Mark 3:1 sn See the note on synagogue in 1:21.
  4. Mark 3:1 sn Withered means the man’s hand was shrunken and paralyzed.
  5. Mark 3:2 sn The term translated watched…closely is emotive, since it carries negative connotations. It means they were watching him out of the corner of their eye or spying on him.
  6. Mark 3:2 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Mark 3:2 sn The background for this is the view that only if life was endangered should one attempt to heal on the Sabbath (see the Mishnah, m. Shabbat 6.3; 12.1; 18.3; 19.2; m. Yoma 8.6).
  8. Mark 3:3 tn Grk “Stand up in the middle.”sn Most likely synagogues were arranged with benches along the walls and open space in the center for seating on the floor.
  9. Mark 3:4 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  10. Mark 3:5 tn The aorist participle περιβλεψάμενος (periblepsamenos) has been translated as antecedent (prior) to the action of the main verb. It could also be translated as contemporaneous (“Looking around…he said”).
  11. Mark 3:5 tn This term is a collective singular in the Greek text.
  12. Mark 3:5 sn The passive was restored points to healing by God. Now the question became: Would God exercise his power through Jesus, if what Jesus was doing were wrong? Note also Jesus’ “labor.” He simply spoke and it was so.
  13. Mark 3:6 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
  14. Mark 3:6 sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16.
  15. Mark 3:6 tn Grk inserts “against him” after “Herodians.” This is somewhat redundant in English and has not been The Herodians are mentioned in the NT only once in Matt (22:16 = Mark 12:13) and twice in Mark (3:6; 12:13; some mss also read “Herodians” instead of “Herod” in Mark 8:15). It is generally assumed that as a group the Herodians were Jewish supporters of the Herodian dynasty (or of Herod Antipas in particular). In every instance they are linked with the Pharisees. This probably reflects agreement regarding political objectives (nationalism as opposed to submission to the yoke of Roman oppression) rather than philosophy or religious beliefs.
  16. Mark 3:6 tn Grk “destroy.”
  17. Mark 3:7 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  18. Mark 3:7 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
  19. Mark 3:8 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity. The region referred to here is sometimes known as Transjordan (i.e., “across the Jordan”).
  20. Mark 3:8 sn These last two locations, Tyre and Sidon, represented an expansion outside of traditional Jewish territory. Jesus’ reputation continued to expand into new regions.
  21. Mark 3:9 sn See the note at Mark 1:19 for a description of the first-century fishing boat discovered in 1986 near Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
  22. Mark 3:9 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the crowd) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  23. Mark 3:11 sn Unclean spirits refers to evil spirits.
  24. Mark 3:12 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
  25. Mark 3:12 sn Jesus did not permit the demons to make him known because the time for such disclosure was not yet at hand, and such a revelation would have certainly been misunderstood by the people. In all likelihood, if the people had understood him early on to be the Son of God, or Messiah, they would have reduced his mission to one of political deliverance from Roman oppression (cf. John 6:15). Jesus wanted to avoid, as much as possible, any premature misunderstanding about who he was and what he was doing. However, at the end of his ministry, he did not deny such a title when the high priest asked him (14:61-62).
  26. Mark 3:13 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  27. Mark 3:13 tn Or “up a mountain” (εἰς τὸ ὅρος, eis to horos).sn The expression up the mountain here may be idiomatic or generic, much like the English “he went to the hospital” (cf. 15:29), or even intentionally reminiscent of Exod 24:12 (LXX), since the genre of the Sermon on the Mount seems to be that of a new Moses giving a new law.
  28. Mark 3:14 tn Grk “And he.”
  29. Mark 3:14 tc The phrase “whom he named apostles” is lacking in the majority of mss (A C2 D L ƒ1 33 565 579 1241 1424 M latt sy; SBL). Several primary Alexandrian and other key witnesses (א B C* W Δ Θ ƒ13 28 co) include the phrase, rendering the external evidence strongly in favor of this reading. It is possible that the Alexandrian witnesses have inserted these words to bring the text in line with Luke 6:13 (TCGNT 69), but against this is the internal evidence of Mark’s style: Mark tends toward gratuitous redundancy. However, significant Western and Byzantine mss along with other authorities lack the clause, which is against the Byzantine tendencies. The key issue, however, is that both the wording of the clause and its location in the verse varies significantly among the witnesses, which suggests that it was indeed borrowed from the Lukan parallel. The NA28 puts the words in brackets indicating doubts about their authenticity.
  30. Mark 3:16 tc The phrase “he appointed twelve” at the beginning of v. 16 is lacking in the majority of mss (A C2 D L Θ ƒ1 33 700 1241 1424 M lat sy bo), including several key witnesses. Some significant authorities include the phrase (א B C* Δ 565 579 pc). The omission may have been caused by haplography in combination with homoioarcton: The first word of the clause in question is καί (kai), and the first word after the clause in question is also καί. And the first two letters of the second word, in each instance, are επ (ep). Early scribes may have jumped accidentally from the first καί to the second, omitting the intervening material. Metzger suggests that “the clause seems to be needed in order to pick up the thread of ver. 14 after the parenthesis ἵναδαιμόνια” (TCGNT 69). This seems to be a stretch. Further, the external evidence in favor of the words is not as compelling as it could be (the addition of “whom he named apostles” in 3:14 actually has stronger evidence, yet we considered it spurious). A decision is difficult but the shorter reading is preferred. NA28 puts the words in brackets.
  31. Mark 3:16 sn In the various lists of the twelve, Simon (that is, Peter) is always mentioned first (see also Matt 10:1-4; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13) and the first four are always the same, though not in the same order after Peter.
  32. Mark 3:17 tn Grk “to James, the son of Zebedee, and John, the brother of James.”
  33. Mark 3:18 sn Bartholomew (meaning “son of Tolmai” in Aramaic) could be another name for Nathanael mentioned in John 1:45.
  34. Mark 3:18 sn This is the “doubting Thomas” of John 20:24-29.
  35. Mark 3:18 tc This disciple is called Λεββαῖον (Lebbaion, “Lebbaeus”) in D it; see the discussion of the parallel text in Matt 10:3 where conflation occurs among other witnesses as well.
  36. Mark 3:18 tn Grk “the Cananean,” but according to both BDAG 507 s.v. Καναναῖος and L&N 11.88, this term has no relation at all to the geographical terms for Cana or Canaan, but is derived from the Aramaic term for “enthusiast, zealot” (see Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), possibly because of an earlier affiliation with the party of the Zealots. He may not have been technically a member of the particular Jewish nationalistic party known as “Zealots” (since according to some scholars this party had not been organized at that time), but simply someone who was zealous for Jewish independence from Rome, in which case the term would refer to his temperament.
  37. Mark 3:19 sn There is some debate about what the name Iscariot means. It probably alludes to a region in Judea and thus might make Judas the only non-Galilean in the group. Several explanations for the name Iscariot have been proposed, but it is probably transliterated Hebrew with the meaning “man of Kerioth” (there are at least two villages that had that name). For further discussion see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 1:546; also D. A. Carson, John, 304.
  38. Mark 3:19 tn Grk “who even betrayed him.”
  39. Mark 3:20 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  40. Mark 3:20 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  41. Mark 3:21 tc Western witnesses D W it, instead of reading οἱ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ (hoi parautou, here translated “family”), have περὶ αὐτοῦ οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ λοιποί (peri autou hoi grammateis kai hoi loipoi, “[when] the scribes and others [heard] about him”). But this reading is obviously motivated, for it removes the embarrassing statement about Jesus’ family’s opinion of him as “out of his mind” and transfers this view to the Lord’s opponents. The fact that virtually all other witnesses have οἱ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ here, coupled with the strong internal evidence for the shorter reading, shows this Western reading to be On the meaning “family” for οἱ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ (hoi parautou), see BDAG 756-57 s.v. παρά A.3.b.β.ב.sn The incident involving the religious leaders accusing Jesus of being in league with the devil (3:22-30) is sandwiched between Mark’s mention of Jesus’ family coming to restrain him (the Greek word for restrain here is also used to mean arrest; see Mark 6:17; 12:12; 14:1, 44, 46, 49, 51) because they thought he was out of his mind (3:21). It is probably Mark’s intention in this structure to show that Jesus’ family is to be regarded as not altogether unlike the experts in the law [scribes] in their perception of the true identity of Jesus; they are incorrect in their understanding of him as well. The tone is obviously one of sadness and the emphasis on Jesus’ true family in vv. 31-35 serves to underscore the comparison between his relatives and the scribes on the one hand, and those who truly obey God on the other.
  42. Mark 3:22 tn Or “The scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
  43. Mark 3:22 tn Grk “He has Beelzebul.”sn Beelzebul is another name for Satan. So some people, particularly here the experts in the law, recognized Jesus’ work as supernatural, but called it diabolical.
  44. Mark 3:22 tn Or “prince.”
  45. Mark 3:23 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
  46. Mark 3:23 sn Jesus spoke two parables to demonstrate the absurdity of the thinking of the religious leaders who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. The first parable (vv. 23-26) teaches that if Jesus cast out demons by the ruler of the demons, then in reality Satan is fighting against himself, with the result that his kingdom has come to an end. The second parable (v. 27) about tying up a strong man proves that Jesus does not need to align himself with the devil because Jesus is more powerful. Jesus defeated Satan at his temptation (1:12-13) and by his exorcisms he clearly demonstrated himself to be stronger than the devil. The passage reveals the desperate condition of the religious leaders, who in their hatred for Jesus end up attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (a position for which they will be held accountable, 3:29-30). For an explanation of what a parable is, see the note on parables in 4:2.
  47. Mark 3:24 sn The three conditional statements in vv. 24-26 express the logical result of the assumption that Jesus heals by Satan’s power, expressed by the religious leaders. The point is clear: If the leaders are correct, then Satan’s kingdom will not stand, so the suggestion makes no sense. Satan would not seek to heal.
  48. Mark 3:27 sn The strong man here pictures Satan.
  49. Mark 3:27 sn Some see the imagery here as similar to Eph 4:7-10, although no opponents are explicitly named in that passage. Jesus has the victory over Satan. Jesus’ acts of healing mean that the war is being won and the kingdom is coming.
  50. Mark 3:28 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  51. Mark 3:28 tn Grk “all the sins and blasphemies they may speak will be forgiven the sons of men.”
  52. Mark 3:29 sn Is guilty of an eternal sin. This passage has troubled many people, who have wondered whether or not they have committed this eternal sin. Three things must be kept in mind: (1) the nature of the sin is to ascribe what is the obvious work of the Holy Spirit (e.g., releasing people from Satan’s power) to Satan himself; (2) it is not simply a momentary doubt or sinful attitude, but is indeed a settled condition which opposes the Spirit’s work, as typified by the religious leaders who opposed Jesus; and (3) a person who is concerned about it has probably never committed this sin, for those who commit it here (i.e., the religious leaders) are not in the least concerned about Jesus’ warning. On this last point see W. W. Wessel, “Mark,” EBC 8:645-46.
  53. Mark 3:30 sn Unclean spirit refers to an evil spirit.
  54. Mark 3:31 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  55. Mark 3:31 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  56. Mark 3:31 sn The issue of whether Jesus had brothers (siblings) has had a long history in the church. Epiphanius, in the 4th century, argued that Mary was a perpetual virgin and had no offspring other than Jesus. Others argued that these brothers were really cousins. Nothing in the text suggests any of this. See also John 7:3.
  57. Mark 3:31 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
  58. Mark 3:32 tc ‡ Many mss read “and your sisters” here after “your brothers” (A D Γ 700 pm it). However, the pedigree of several of the mss which lack this phrase is considerable (א B C K L W Δ Θ ƒ1,13 28 33 565 892 1241 1424 2542 pm lat sy). It seems likely that this phrase was added by an early Western scribe to harmonize this statement with Jesus’ response in v. 35. NA27 has the words in brackets, indicating some doubt as to their authenticity.
  59. Mark 3:33 tn Grk “Who is my mother and my brothers?” The use of the singular verb ἐστιν (estin) here singles out Mary above Jesus’ brothers, giving her special prominence (see ExSyn 401-2). This is slightly unnatural in English since the predicate nominative is plural, though, so a plural verb was used in the translation.
  60. Mark 3:34 tn Grk “Behold my mother and my brothers.”
  61. Mark 3:35 tn The pleonastic pronoun οὗτος (houtos, “this one”) which precedes this verb has not been translated.