Summary: Jesus teaches about what it means to be a disciple.


(Series adapted from Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary)


MARK 3:13-4:34


When we started this series several weeks ago, we noted that Mark’s emphasis was on what Jesus did – the work résumé of the Servant. Today, Mark focuses on some of the Servant’s teaching. The emphasis is on being a disciple – learning and living out the instruction of the teacher.

The meaning of a disciple in Jesus’ day was reference to someone who walked with, lived with, and committed to being like their teacher. When this process was completed, the disciple moved to teaching others what they had learned by both instruction and example.


In this section of Mark, we see Jesus’ encounters with three different groups. These encounters show us that there are some people that think they are close to God and have done what pleases Him. There are those who think they’re doing what is right. And there are those who are actually in relationship with Jesus – following, obeying, imitating. The difference is how they handle their relationship with Jesus

The first encounter is found in Mk. 3:13-19 – “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles —that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

No matter where Jesus went, He was mobbed by excited crowds. If Jesus had come to be a “celebrity”, He would have catered to the crowds and tried to please them with His words and His actions. Instead, Jesus wanted intimate relationship.

Mark describes here how Jesus created an “inner circle” – a close group of people who would be His most intimate companions and students. Mark makes sure to emphasize the number – twelve. That number is significant because there were twelve tribes in the nation of Israel. We learn in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus spent all night in prayer before choosing these twelve men. Lk. 6:12-13 – “One of those days Jesus went out to

a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him

and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles…”

Jesus chose these twelve men for three specific purposes. The first purpose was to train them by personal example and teaching. The second purpose was to send them out to preach the Gospel. And the third purpose was to give them authority to heal and cast out demons. Each purpose ties closely to an overarching purpose: that these men would be able to continue Jesus’ work when He returned to the Father and therefore be able to train disciples to carry on the work of the kingdom after them.

The second encounter starts in Mk. 3:20-21 – “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so

that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge

of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’” In the time it takes Jesus’ family to go from Nazareth to Capernaum, there is a conflict between Jesus and the teachers of the law. The second encounter resumes in Mk. 3:31-35 – “Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.’”

In Mt. 13:55, we see a list of Jesus’ half-brothers – James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. The next verse, Mt. 13:56, mentions that Jesus also had half-sisters but doesn’t give us their names. Joseph and Mary had no physical relations before Jesus was born but God certainly blessed them with children after Jesus was born.

Can you imagine the conversation going on between the brothers and Mary? They were hearing all about what Jesus was doing and the crowds that were pressing in on Him. I’m sure they convinced themselves that they had to save Jesus from Himself! John tells us in Jn. 7:5 – “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

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