The Gospel According to Mark

Mark 3 Key Terms

Healing - Prayer - Apostle - Satan |=> Mark 3

(Greek therapeuō) This word connotes committed, heartfelt service [ref], and in the NT it always means "to heal, cure, restore to health." [ref] Our English words therapy and therapeutics are related to it. [ref]

In ancient thought it was common to distinguish between the three categories of "medicine (building on the foundation of natural order), miracle (based on belief in divine intervention), and magic (manipulating mysterious forces for personal benefit)." Jesus' healings typically fell into the second category. [ref]

Jesus healed many and various physical infirmities, and drove out many demons (sometimes the former were caused by the latter). The demons used their knowledge of his true identity to try to gain control over Jesus, as knowing and using the name of one's opponent was "a key component in exorcisms of that day." [ref]

The four Gospel writers help give us an accurate understanding of Jesus' healings. An examination of the record shows how Jesus always chose to heal at his own discretion. He made no attempt to heal everyone and, contrary to some teaching today, personal faith was not a necessary prerequisite for being healed. Healings always produced an instant audience, and they helped to substantiate Jesus' identity and teachings (John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:48; 6:2). Seeing a physical healing or other miracle, however, was intended as only the first step toward receiving the greatest miracle of all. Hence while Luke the physician was "the Evangelist most concerned to appropriate the apologetic value of Jesus' miracles, he is also the one who consistently praises those who do not need such crutches for their faith (Luke 4:48; 20:29)." [ref] As a person matures in his faith, he depends less on miracles and more on the one behind them. Too, the faith seeds planted by miraculous healings must take root and grow into a mature faith that knows and obeys Christ. [ref]

Contemporary Christian thought typically reflects one of three attitudes toward miraculous healings:

  1. Dispensationalism: healings were for the first century only.
  2. Triumphalism: healings are "the birthright of every Christian."
  3. An inaugurated theology: "healing, whether natural, medical or miraculous, is seen as a foretaste of the final consummation when the victory of Christ over every manifestation of evil, including sickness, is realized in the bodily resurrection." [ref]

Please see Prayer.

(Greek apostolos) Literally meaning "one sent forth" (apo, "from," stellō, "to send") [ref], an apostle was "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders." [ref]

From among his many disciples, Jesus appointed twelve to serve as his first apostles. Their primary function was to bear witness to what Jesus had said and done, including his all-important resurrection. They were aided in this task by the Holy Spirit, who came on the scene following Jesus' return to heaven. [ref] The fact that Jesus commissioned twelve apostles is highly significant. Jesus came to establish a new Israel -- a new people of God -- and the twelve apostles of Jesus corresponded to the twelve tribes of Israel. [ref]

As recorded in Mark 3:13-14, the first apostles were called to a twofold task: 1) be with Jesus, including traveling, eating, sleeping, ministering -- all together, and 2) be sent out to preach the Gospel, in effect extending the message Jesus himself proclaimed. [ref]

In his Bible dictionary, Andrew Fausset (1821-1910; co-author of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible) provides a more comprehensive summary of "apostle":

("one sent forth") The official name of the twelve whom Jesus sent forth to preach, and who also were with Him throughout His earthly ministry. Peter states the qualifications before the election of Judas' successor (Acts 1:21), namely, that he should have companied with the followers of Jesus "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them, beginning from the baptism of John unto the day that He was taken up, to be a witness with the others of His resurrection." So the Lord, "Ye are they that have continued with Me in My temptations" (Luke 22:28). The Holy Spirit was specially promised to bring all things to their remembrance whatever Jesus had said, to guide them into all truth, and to enable them to testify of Jesus with power to all lands (John 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:13-14). They were some of them fishermen, one a tax collector, and most of them unlearned.

Though called before, they did not permanently follow Him until their call as apostles. All were on a level (Matthew 20:20-27; Mark 9:34-36). Yet three stood in especial nearness to Him, Peter, James, and John; they alone witnessed the raising of Jairus' daughter, the transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane. An order grounded on moral considerations is traceable in the enumeration of the rest: Judas, the traitor, in all the lists stands last. The disciples surrounded Jesus in wider and still wider expanding circles: nearest Him Peter, James, and. John; then the other nine; then the Seventy; then the disciples in general. But the "mystery" was revealed to all alike (Matthew 10:27). Four catalogues are extant: Matthew's (Matthew 10), Mark's (Mark 3:16), Luke's (Luke 6:14) in the Gospel, and Luke's in Acts 1:13.

... ... ...

... Jesus sent them in pairs: a good plan for securing brotherly sympathy and cooperation. Their early mission in Jesus' lifetime, to preach repentance and perform miracles in Jesus' name, was restricted to Israel, to prepare the way for the subsequent gospel preaching to the Jews first, on and after Pentecost (Acts 3:25). They were slow to apprehend the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and His crucifixion and resurrection as the necessary preliminary to it. Even after His resurrection seven of them returned to their fishing; and it was only by Christ's renewed call that they were led to remain together at Jerusalem, waiting for the promised Comforter (John 21; Acts 1:4).

From the day of the Pentecostal effusion of the Holy Spirit they became new men, witnessing with power of the resurrection of Jesus, as Jesus had promised (Luke 24:45, 49; Acts 1:8, 22; 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 13:31). The first period of the apostles' working extends down to Acts 11:18. Excepting the transition period (Acts 8-10) when, at Stephen's martyrdom, the gospel was extended to Samaria and. to the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip, Jerusalem is its center, and Peter' the prominent figure, who opened the kingdom of heaven (according to Jesus' promise to him, Matthew 16:18-19) to the Jews and also to the Gentiles (Acts 2; 10). The second period begins with the extension of the kingdom to idolatrous Gentiles (Acts 11:19-26).

Antioch, in concert with Jerusalem, is now the center, and Paul the prominent figure, in concert with the other apostles. Though the ideal number always remained twelve (Revelation 21:14), answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, yet just as there were in fact thirteen tribes when Joseph's two sons were made separate tribal heads, so Paul's calling made thirteen actual apostles. He possessed the two characteristics of an Apostle; he had "seen the Lord," so as to be an eye witness of His resurrection, and he had the power which none but an Apostle had, of conferring spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 1:11; 15:18-19). This period ends with Acts 13:1-5, when Barnabas and Saul were separated by the Holy Spirit unto missionary work. Here the third apostolic period begins, in which the twelve disappear, and Paul alone stands forth, the Apostle of the Gentiles; so that at the close of Acts, which leaves him evangelizing in Rome, the metropolis of the world, churches from Jerusalem unto Illyricum had been founded through him.

"Apostle" is used in a vaguer sense of "messengers of the churches" (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25). But the term belongs in its stricter sense to the twelve alone; they alone were apostles of Christ. Their distinctive note is, they were commissioned immediately by Jesus Himself. They alone were chosen by Christ Himself, independently of the churches. So even Matthias (Acts 1:24). So Paul (Galatians 1:1-12; Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10). Their exclusive office was to found the Christian church; so their official existence was of Christ, and prior to the churches they collectively and severally founded. They acted with a divine authority to bind and loose things (Matthew 18:18), and to remit or retain sins of persons (John 20:21-23), which they exercised by the authoritative ministry of the word. Their infallibility, of which their miracles were the credentials, marked them as extraordinary, not permanent, ministers.

Paul requires the Corinthians to acknowledge that the things which he wrote were the Lord's commandments (1 Corinthians 14:37). The office was not local; but "the care of all the churches." They were to the whole what particular elders were, to parts of the church (1 Peter 5:1; 2 John 1:1). Apostles therefore could have strictly no successors. John, while superintending the whole, was especially connected with the churches of Asia Minor, Paul with the W., Peter with Babylon. The bishops in that age coexisted with, and did not succeed officially, the apostles. James seems specially to have had a presidency in Jerusalem (Acts 15:19; 21:18).

Once the Lord Himself is so designated, "the Apostle of our profession" (Hebrews 3:1); the, Ambassador sent from the Father (John 20:21). As Apostle He pleads God's cause with us; as "High Priest," our cause with God. ... [ref]

Meaning "adversary," this is one of the proper names of the Devil. The Bible uses a variety of terms to describe him, helping us see him for who and what he really is:

  • His background: adversary, accuser, tempter
  • His looks: dragon, serpent, angel of light
  • His characteristics: liar, murderer, ruler
  • His activities: accuser, tempter [ref]

Although in certain circles it may be popular to deny the reality of a personal Devil, there are actually a number of tangible proofs for his existence:

Originally Satan was the chief angel in heaven. Not content to play second fiddle, he aspired to be as great as God. Satan led one-third of his fellow angelic beings in open rebellion against God, after which they were all driven from heaven. Satan then turned his attention to God's highest creation, tempting Adam and Eve to join in rebellion against God. Since that time, he has been working through his army of demon-angels to influence individuals and organizations alike, keeping countless scores in spiritual darkness. The biblical record confirms that one day Satan and his cohorts will be cast into a lake of fire for all eternity (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:11–19; Revelation 12, 20). [ref]

One day Satan will be completely defeated. Until then we live in a spiritual war zone in which daily victory over our arch enemy depends on our adopting a healthy attitude. The proper Christian response to Satan includes:

  • Believers should never speak of him contemptuously.
  • Believers should regard his power as limited.
  • Believers should remember that Christ's work and word protect them.
  • Believers should remember that God providentially uses Satan for disciplining.
  • Believers should remember that Satan is a judged and defeated foe.
  • Believers should resist Satan.
  • Believers should turn to God for deliverance from Satan. [ref]