Mark 3 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Mark 3
Pulpit Commentary
And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
Verse 1. - He entered again into the synagogue. St. Matthew (Matthew 12:9) says, "their synagogue" (εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν) This would probably be on the next sabbath after that named at the close of the last chapter. And there was a man there which had a withered hand (ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα); literally, which had his hand withered, or dried up. And they watched him (παρετήρουν αὐτὸν); kept watching him. There were probably scribes sent for this purpose from Jerusalem. St. Jerome informs us that in an apocryphal Gospel in use amongst the Nazarenes and Ebionites, the man whose hand was withered is described as a mason, and is said to have asked for help in the following terms: - "I was a mason, seeking my living by manual labour. I beseech thee, Jesus, to restore me the use of my hand, that I may not be compelled to beg my bread." This is so far consistent with St. Mark's description (ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα) as to show that the malady was the result of disease or accident, and not congenital. St. Luke (Luke 6:6) informs us that it was the right hand. The disease probably extended through the whole arm according to the wider meaning of the Greek word It seems to have been a kind of atrophy, causing a gradual drying up of the limb; which in such a condition was beyond the reach of any mere human skill.
And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
Verse 2. - The scribes had already the evidence that our Lord had permitted his disciples to rub the ears of corn on the sabbath day. But this was the act of the disciple, not his. What he was now preparing to do was an act of miraculous power. And here the ease was stronger, because work, which was prohibited under pain of death by the Law (Exodus 31:14), was understood to include every act not absolutely necessary.
And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
Verses 3, 4. - Stand forth. The words in the original are Ἔγειραι εἰς τὸ μέσον Rise into the midst. In St. Matthew's account (Matthew 12:10), the scribes and Pharisees here ask our Lord, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" The two accounts are easily reconciled if we first suppose the scribes and Pharisees to ask this question of our Lord, and then our Lord to answer them by putting their own question to them in another form. Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to kill? Our Lord's meaning appears to be this: "If any one, baying it in his power, omits to do an act of mercy on the sabbath day-for one grievously afflicted, as this man is, if he is able to cure him, as I Christ am able, he does him a wrong; for he denies him that help which he owes him by the law of charity." Our Lord thus plainly signifies that not to do an act of kindness to a sick man on the sabbath day when you are able to do it, is really to do him a wrong. But it is never lawful to do a wrong; and therefore it is always lawful to do good, not excepting even the sabbath day, for that is dedicated to God and to good works. Whence it is a greater sin to do a wrong on the sabbath than on other days; for thus the sanctity of the sabbath is violated, just as it is all the more honoured and sanctified by doing good. In our Lord's judgment, then, to neglect to save, when you have it in your power to do so, is to destroy. They held their peace. They could not answer him. They are obstinate indeed in their infidelity, who, when they can say nothing against the truth, refuse to say anything for it.
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Verse 5. - When he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved συλλυπούμενος) - the word has a touch of "condolence" in it - at the hardening of their heart. All this is very characteristic of St. Mark, who is careful to notice the visible expression of our Lord's feelings in his looks. The account is evidently from an eye-witness, or from one who had it from an eye-witness. He looked round about on them with anger. He was indignant at their blindness of heart, and their unbelief, which led them to attack the miracles of mercy wrought by him on the sabbath day as though they were a violation of the law of the sabbath. We see here how plainly there were in Christ the passions and affections common to the human nature, only restrained and subordinated to reason. Hero is the difference between the anger of fallen man and the anger of the sinless One. With fallen man, auger is the desire of retaliating, of punishing those by whom you consider yourself unjustly treated. Hence, in other men, anger springs from self-love; in Christ it sprang from the love of God. He loved God above all things; hence he was distressed and irritated on account of the wrongs done to God by sins and sinners. So that his anger was a righteous zeal for the honour of God; and hence it was mingled with grief, because, in their blindness and obstinacy, they would not acknowledge him to be the Messiah, but misrepresented his kindnesses wrought on the sick on the sabbath day, and found fault with them as evil. Thus our Lord, by showing grief and sorrow, makes it plain that his anger did not spring from the desire of revenge. He was indeed angry at the sin, while he grieved over and with the sinners, as those whom he loved, and for whose sake he came into the world that he might redeem and save them. Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored. The words "whole as the other" (הללאְ ץה שׁץו שׁםהגִץֻ) are not found in the best uncials. They were probably inserted from St. Matthew. In this instance our Lord performed no outward act. "He spake, and it was done." The Divine power wrought the miracle concurrently with the act of faith on the part of the man in obeying the command.
And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Verse 6. - The Pharisees and the Herodians combine together against the Lord. This was a terrible crisis in his history, or rather in the history of those unbelieving men. They are now in this dilemma: they must either accept his teaching, or they must take steps against him as a sabbath-breaker. But what had he done? The miracle had been wrought by a word only. It would have been difficult, therefore, to have obtained a judgment against him. Therefore they secured some fresh allies. They had already gained to their side some of the disciples of John the Baptist (Mark 2:18), now they associate with themselves the Herodians. This is the first mention that we find made of the Herodians. They were the natural opponents of the Pharisees; but here they seem to have found some common ground of agreement, though it is not very easy to say what it was, in combining against our Lord. But it is no uncommon thing to find coalitions of men, strangely opposed to one another on most points, but united to effect some particular object; and it is easy to see how the purity and spirituality of our Lord and of his doctrine would be opposed, on the one hand, to the ceremonial formality of the Pharisee, and on the other to the worldly and secular spirit of the Herodian.
But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
Verses 7, 8. - Jesus with his disciples withdrew to the sea. This shows that the miracle just recorded took place in the interior of Galilee, and not at Capernaum, which was close by the sea. The chief city in Galilee at that time was Sepphoris, which Herod Antipas had made his capital. There the Herodiaus would of course be numerous, and so too would the Pharisees; since that city was one of the five places where the five Sanhedrims met (see Reland, 'Palestine,' p. 100, referred to in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' in lee.). The remainder of these two verses should be read and pointed thus: And a great multitude from Galilee followed: and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and beyond Jordan, and about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing what great things he did, come unto him. The meaning of the evangelist is this, that, in addition to the great multitude that followed him from the parts of Galilee which he had just been visiting, there were vast numbers from other parts who had now heard of his fame, and flocked to him from every quarter. This description sets before us in a strikingly graphic manner the mixed character of the multitude who gathered around our Lord to listen to his teaching, and to be healed by him - as many, at least, as had need of healing.
And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
Verse 9. - And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship (πλοιάριον) - literally, a little boat - should wait on him προσκαρτερῆ αὐτῷ) - literally, should be in close attendance upon him - because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. This shows in a very graphic manner how assiduously and closely the crowd pressed upon him, so that he was obliged to have a little boat always in readiness, in which he might take refuge when the pressure became too great, and so address them with greater freedom from the boat. St. Luke (Luke 5:3) says, "He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship," making the boat, so to speak, his pulpit.
For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
Verse 10. - As many as had plagues - the Greek word is μάστιγας; literally, scourges, painful disorders - pressed upon him (ὥστε ἐπιπίπτειν αὐτῷ); literally, fell upon him, clung to him, hoping that the very contact with him might heal them. This expression, "scourges," reminds us that diseases are a punishment on account of our sins.
And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
Verse 11. - And the unclean spirits, whensoever they beheld him, fell down before him, and cried, saying. It is worthy of notice that the afflicted people fell upon him (ἐπίπιπτειν αὐτῷ); but the unclean spirits felt down before him (προσέπιπτεν αὐτῷ), and this not out of love or devotion, but out of abject fear, dreading lest he should drive them out of the "possessed," and send them before their time to their destined torment. It is just possible that this homage paid to our Lord may have been an act of cunning - a ruse, as it were, to lead the people to suppose that our Lord was in league with evil spirits. Thou art the Son of God. Did, then, the unclean spirits really know that Jesus was the Son of God? A voice from heaven at his baptism had proclaimed him to be the Son of God, and that voice must have vibrated through the spiritual world. Then, further, they must have known him to be the Son of God by the numerous and mighty miracles which he wrought, and which they must have seen [o be real miracles, such as could only have been wrought by the supernatural power of God, and which were wrought by Christ for this very purpose, that they might prove him to be the promised Messiah, the only begotten Son of God. It may, however, be observed that they did not know this so clearly, but that, considering, on the other hand, the greatness of the mystery, they hesitated. It is probable that they were ignorant of the end and fruit of this great mystery, namely, that mankind were to be redeemed by the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Death of Christ; and so their own kingdom was to be overthrown, and the kingdom of God established. Blinded by their hatred of Jesus, whom they perceived to be a most holy Being, drawing multitudes to himself, they stirred up the passions of evil men against him, little dreaming that in promoting his destruction they were overthrowing their own kingdom.
And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
Verse 12. - (See notes on Mark 1:44.)
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
Verse 13. - Into a mountain; literally, into the mountain (εἰς τὸ ὄρος). Similarly, St. Luke (Luke 6:12) says," He went out into the mountain to pray." The use of the definite article might either point to some well-known eminence, or to the high table-land as distinguished from the plain, and in which there would be many recesses, which would explain the use of the preposition Tradition indicates Mount Hatten as the place, about five miles to the west of the Sea of Galilee. The summit rises above a level space, where large numbers might stand within hearing. It is supposed, with good reason, that it was from thence that the sermon on the mount was delivered. It was at daybreak, as we learn from St. Luke (Luke 6:13), after this night of prayer, that he called unto him whom he himself would (ου{ς ἤθελεν αὐτός): and they went unto him (καὶ ἀπῆλθον πρὸς); literally, they went away to him, the word implying that they forsook their former pursuits. His own will was the motive power: he called "whom he himself would;" but their will consented. "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will seek."
And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
Verses 14, 15. - Out of those who thus came to him, he ordained twelve literally, he made or appointed twelve. They were not solemnly ordained or consecrated to their office until after his resurrection. Their actual consecration (of all of them at least but one, namely, Judas Iscariot) took place when he breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:22). But from this time they were his apostles "designate." They were henceforth to Be with him as his attendants and disciples. They were to go forth and preach under his direction, and by his power they were to cast out devils. Several manuscripts add here that they were "to heal sicknesses," but the words are emitted in some of the oldest authorities. The authority over unclean spirits is more formally conveyed later on (see Mark 6:7), so that here St. Mark speaks by anticipation. But this shows how much importance was attached to this part of their mission; for it recognizes the spiritual world, and the special purpose of the manifestation of the Son of God, namely, that he might "destroy the works of the devil." He appointed twelve. The number twelve symbolizes perfection and universality. The number three indicates what is Divine; and the number four, created things. Three multiplied by four gives twelve, the number of those who were to go forth as apostles into the four quarters of the world - called to the faith of the holy Trinity.
And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
And Simon he surnamed Peter;
Verses 16, 17. - And Simon he surnamed Peter. Our Lord had previously declared that Simon should be so called. But St. Mark avoids as much as possible the recognition of any special honor belonging to St. Peter; so he here simply mentions the fact of this surname having been given to him, a fact which was necessary in order that he might be identified. All the early Christian writers held that Peter was virtually the author of this Gospel. Simon, or Simeon, is from a Hebrew word, meaning "to hear." James the son of Zebedee, so called to distinguish him from the other James; and John his brother. In St. Matthew's list, Andrew is mentioned next after Peter, as his brother, and the first called. But here St. Mark mentions James and John first after Peter; these three, Peter and James and John, being the three leading apostles. Of James and John, James is mentioned first, as the eldest of the two brothers. And them he surnamed Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder. "Boanerges" is the Aramaic pronunciation of the Hebrew B'ne-ragesh; B'ne, sons, and ragesh, thunder. The word was not intended as a term of reproach; although it fitly expressed that natural impetuosity and vehemence of character, which showed itself in their desire to bring down fire from heaven upon the Samaritan village, and in their ambitious request that they might have the highest places of honor in his coming kingdom. But their natural dispositions, under the Holy Spirit's influence, were gradually transformed so as to serve the cause of Christ, and their fiery zeal was transmuted into the steady flame of Christian earnestness and love, so as to become an element of great power in their new life as Christians. Christ called these men "Sons of thunder" because he would make their natural dispositions, when restrained and elevated by his grace, the great instruments of spreading his Gospel. He destined them for high service in his kingdom. By their holy lives they were to be as lightning, and by their preaching they were to be as thunder to rouse unbelievers, and to bring them to repentance and a holy life. It was no doubt on account of this zeal that James fell so early a victim to the wrath of Herod. A different lot was that which fell to St. John. Spared to a ripe old age, he influenced the early Church by his writings and his teaching. His Gospel begins as with the voice of thunder, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Beza and others, followed by Dr. Morisen, have thought that this distinctive name was given by our Lord to the two brothers on account of some deep-toned peculiarity of voice, which was of much service to them in impressing the message of the Gospel of the kingdom upon their hearers.
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
Verses 18, 19. - Andrew is next mentioned after these eminent apostles, as the first called. The word is from the Greek, and means "manly." Bartholomew, that is, Bar-tolmai, the son of Tolmay. This is a patronymic, and not a proper name. It has been with good reason supposed that he is identical with Nathanael, of whom we first read in John 1:46, as having been found by Philip and brought to Christ. In the three synoptic Gospels we find Philip and Bartholomew enumerated together in the lists of the apostles; and certainly the mode in which Nathanael is mentioned in John 21:2 would seem to show that he was an apostle. His birthplace, too, Cana of Galilee, would point to the same conclusion. If this be so, then the name Nathanael, the "gift of God," would bear the same relation to Bartholomew that Simon does to Bar-jona. Matthew. In St Matthew's own list of the apostles (Matthew 10:3) the epithet "the publican" is added to his name, and he places himself after Thomas. This marks the humility of the apostle, that he does not scruple to place on record what he was before he was called. The word Matthew, a contraction of Mattathias, means the "gift of Jehovah," according to Gesenius, which in Greek would be "Theodore." Thomas. Eusebius says that his real name was Judas. It is possible that Thomas may have been a surname. The word is Hebrew meaning a twin, and it is so rendered in Greek in John 11:16. James the son of Alphaeus, or Clopas (not Cleophas): called" the Less," either because he was junior in age, or rather in his call, to James the Great, the brother of John. This James, the son of Alphaeus, is called the brother of our Lord. St. Jerome says that his father Alphaeus, or Clopas, married Mary, a sister of the blessed Virgin Mary, which would make him the cousin of our Lord. This view is confirmed by Bishop Pearson (Art. 3:on the Creed). He was the writer of the Epistle which bears his name, and he became Bishop of Jerusalem. Thaddaeus, called also Lebbaeus and Judas; whence St. Jerome describes him as "trionimus," i.e. having three names. Judas would be his proper name. Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus have a kind of etymological affinity, the root of Lebbaeus being "heart," and of Thaddaeus, "breast." These names are probably recorded to distinguish him from Judas the traitor. Simon the Canaanite. The word in the Greek, according to the best authorities, is, both here and in St. Matthew (Matthew 10:4), Καναναῖος, from a Chaldean or Syriac word, Kanean, or Kanenieh. The Greek equivalent is Ζηλωτής, which we find preserved in St. Luke (Luke 6:15). It is possible, however, that Simon may have been born in Cana of Galilee. St. Jerome says that he was called a Cananaean or Zealot, by a double reference to the place of his birth and to his zeal. Judas Iscariot. Iscariot. The most probable derivation is from the Hebrew lsh-Kerioth, "a man of Kerioth,' a city of the tribe of Judah. St. John (John 6:7) describes him as the son of Simon. If it be asked why our Lord should have chosen Judas Iscariot, the answer is that he chose him, although he knew that he would betray him, because it was his will that he should be betrayed by one that had been "his own familiar friend," and that had "eaten bread with him." Bengel says well here that "there is an election of grace from which men may fall." How far our Lord knew from the first the results of his choice of Judas belongs to the profound, unfathomable mystery of the union of the Godhead and the manhood in his sacred Person. We may notice generally, with regard to this choice by our Lord of his apostles, the germ of the principle of sending them forth by two and two. Here are Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, and so on. Then, again, our Lord chose three pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John, James the Less and Jude, that he might teach us how powerful an influence is brotherly love. We may also observe that Christ, in selecting his apostles, chose some of his kinsmen according to the flesh. When he took upon him our flesh, he recognized those who were near to him by nature, and he would unite them yet mere closely by grace to his Divine nature. Three of the apostles took the lead, namely, Peter and James and John, who were admitted to be witnesses of his transfiguration, of one of his greatest miracles, and of his passion.
And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.
And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Verses 20, 21. - The last clause of ver. 19, And they went into an house, should form the opening sentence of a new paragraph, and should therefore become the first clause of ver. 20, as in the Revised Version. According to the most approved reading, the words are (ἐξῆλθον), He cometh into an house, or, He cometh home. There is here a considerable gap in St. Mark's narrative. The sermon on the mount followed upon the call of the apostles, at all events so far as it affected them and their mission. Moreover, St. Matthew interposes here two miracles wrought by our Lord after his descent from the mount, and before his return to his own house at Capernaum. St. Mark seems anxious here to hasten on to describe the treatment of our Lord by his own near relatives at this important crisis in his ministry. So that they - i.e., our Lord and his disciples - could not so much as eat bread; such was the pressure of the crowd upon them. St. Mark evidently records this, in order to show the contrast between the zeal of the multitude and the very different feelings of our Lord's own connections. They, his friends, when they heard how he was thronged, went out to lay hold on him; for they said, He is beside himself. This little incident is mentioned only by St. Mark. When his friends saw him so bent upon his great mission as to neglect his bodily necessities, they considered that he was bereft of his reason, that too much zeal and piety had deranged his mind. His friends went out (ἐξῆλθον) to lay hold on him. They may probably have come from Nazareth. St. John (John 7:5) says that "even his brethren did not believe on him;" that is, they did not believe in him with that fuiness of trust which is of the essence of true faith. Their impression was that he was in a condition requiring that he should be put under some restraint.
And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Verse 22. - The scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, etc. These scribes had apparently been sent down by the Sanhedrim, on purpose to watch him, and, by giving their own opinion upon his claims, to undermine his influence. They gave as their authoritative judgment, "He hath Beelzebub." One of the most prominent characteristics of the public works of our Lord was the expulsion of evil spirits. There was no questioning the facts. Even modern scepticism is here at fault, and is constrained to admit the fact of sudden and complete cures of insanity. So the scribes were obliged to account for what they could not deny. "He hath Beelzebub," they say; that is, he is possessed by Beelzebub, or "the lord of the dwelling," as a source of supernatural power. They had heard it alleged against him," He hath a devil;" and so they fall in with this popular error, and give it emphasis, by saying, Not only has he a devil, but he is possessed by the chief of the devils, and therefore has authority over inferior spirits. Observe the contrast between the thoughts of the multitude and of those who professed to be their teachers, the scribes and Pharisees. The multitude, free from prejudice, and using only their natural light of reason, candidly owned the greatness of Christ's miracles as wrought by a Divine power; whereas the Pharisees, filled with envy and malice, attributed these mighty works which he wrought by the finger of God, to the direct agency of Satan.
And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
Verses 23-27. - How can Satan cast out Satan? Observe here that our Lord distinctly affirms the personality of Satan, and a real kingdom of evil. But then he goes on to show that if this their allegation were true, namely, that he cast out devils by the prince or the devils, then it would follow that Satan's kingdom would be divided against itself. As a house divided against itself cannot stand, so neither could the kingdom of Satan exist in the world if one evil spirit was opposed to another for the purpose of dispossessing, the one the other, from the minds and bodies of men. Our Lord thus employs another argument to show that he casts out evil spirits, not by Beelzebub, but by the power of God. It is as though he said, "As he who invades the house of a strong man cannot succeed until he first binds the strong man; in like manner I, Christ Jesus, who spoil the kingdom of Satan, whilst I lead sinners who had been under his power to repentance and salvation, must first bind Satan himself, otherwise he would never suffer me to take his captives from him. Therefore he is my enemy, and not in league with me, not my ally in the casting out of evil spirits, as you falsely represent me to be. It behoves you, then, to understand that it is with the Spirit of God that I cast out devils, and that therefore the kingdom of God is come upon you."
And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Verse 28. - All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, etc. St. Mark adds the words (ver. 30), "Because they said, [ἔλεγον, 'they were saying,'] He hath an unclean spirit." This helps us much to the true meaning of this declaration. Our Lord does not here speak of every sin against the Holy Spirit, but of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. These words of St. Mark point to a sin of the tongue mere especially, although not excluding thoughts and deeds against the Holy Spirit. Observe what these scribes and Pharisees did; they cavilled at works manifestly Divine - works wrought by God for the salvation of men, by which he confirmed his faith and truth. Now, when they spake against these, and knowingly and of malice ascribed them to the evil spirit, then they blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, dishonoring God by assigning his power to Satan. What could be more hateful than this? What greater blasphemy could be imagined? And surely they must be guilty of this sin who ascribe the fruits and actions of the Holy Spirit to an impure and unholy source, and so strive to mar his work and to hinder his influence in the hearts of men.
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Verse 29. - Hath never forgiveness. Not that any sinner need despair of forgiveness through the fear that he may have committed this sin; for his repentance shows that his state of mind has never been one of entire enmity, and that he has not so grieved the Holy Spirit as to have been entirely forsaken by him. But is in danger of eternal damnation. The Greek words, according to the most approved reading, are ἀλλ ἔνοχός ἐστιν αἰωνίου ἁμαρτήματος: but is guilty of an eternal sin; thus showing that there are sins of which the effects and the punishment belong to eternity. He is bound by a chain or' sin from which he can never be loosed. (See St. John 9:41, "Therefore your sin remaineth.")
Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
Verses 31-33. - Our Lord's brethren and his mother had now arrived (see ver. 21) to look after him. He was in the house teaching; but the crowd was so great that they could not approach him. The multitude filled not only the room, but the courtyard and all the approaches. St. Luke (Lujke 8:19) says," they could not come at him for the crowd." His brethren here spoken of were in all probability his cousins, the sons of Mary, the wife of Alphaeus or Clopas. But two of these, already chosen to be apostles, were most likely with him in the room, and of the number of those towards whom he stretched out his hand and said, "Behold, my mother and my brethren!" whilst Mary and the others had come (Mary, perhaps, induced by the others in the hope that the sight of his mother might the more move him) for the purpose of bringing him back to the quiet of Nazareth. We cannot suppose that the Virgin Mary came with any other feeling than that of a mother's anxiety in behalf of her Son. She may have thought that he was in danger, exposed to the fickle temper of a large multitude, who might at any moment have their passions stirred against him by his enemies, the scribes and Pharisees; and so she was willingly persuaded to come and use her influence with him to induce him to escape from what appeared evidently to be a position of some danger. If so, this explains our Lord's behavior on this occasion. The multitude was sitting about him, and he was teaching them; and then a message was brought to him from his mother and his brethren who were without, perhaps in the courtyard, perhaps beyond in the open street, calling for him. The interruption was untimely, not to say unseemly. And so he says, not without a little tone of severity in his words, Who is my mother and my brethren? Our Lord did not speak thus as denying his human relationship; as though he was not "very man," but a mere "phantom," as some early heretics taught; and still less as though he was ashamed of his earthly lationships; but partly perhaps because the messengers too boldly and inconsiderately interrupted him while he was teaching; and chiefly that he might show that his heavenly Father's business was more to him than the affection of his earthly mother, greatly as he valued it; and thus he preferred the spiritual relationship, in which there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, but all stand alike to Christ in the relationship of brother, sister, and mother. It is remarkable, and yet the reason for the omission is obvious, that our Lord does not mention" father" in this spiritual category.
And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Verse 34. - Looking round on them περιβλεψάμενος <ΒΤΤ·Ξομμενταρψ Ωορδ>which sat round about him. Here is one of the graphic touches of St. Mark, reproduced, it may be, from St. Peter. Our Lord's intellectual and loving eye swept the inner circle of his disciples. The twelve, of course, would be with him, and others with them. His enemies were not far off. But immediately about him were those who constituted his chosen ones. As man, he had his human affections and his earthly relationships; but as the Son of God, he knew no other relatives but God's children, to whom the performance of his will and the promotion of his glory are the first of all duties and the dominant principle of their lives.

For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Courtesy of Open Bible