The lion of St Mark


Sea and mountain: Mk 3,7-19

For the first of these two episodes, Jesus is by the sea (3,7) while for the second he is on the mountain (3,13). Both places have the article. Consider the significance of the two settings.
Read these two episodes in the middle part of chapter 3 where we find a summary of Jesus's ministry (3,7-12) which is followed by his call of the Twelve, an inner group of disciples (3,13-19).

A comparison with Mt 12,1-16 (and Mt 10,1-4) and Lk 6,12-19 is useful. What does this tell us about Mark's composition? Consider also the manner in which these verses follow the climax of 3,6.

Go now to my response.

Summary of Jesus' ministry: 3,7-12

What is the setting for this incident? What is the significance of the sea - look forward to 4,35. Look back at 1.35-37 and 1,45. How do they provide background for this summary?

For verses 7-8, compare with 2,13 and 4,1. Does your translation provide a different word here for the gathering, look as well at verse 9.

Consider how widely has the fame of Jesus spread in verse 8. Again, note 1,45 and also the ministry of John the Baptist, 1,5. Where are the places mentioned in relation to Galilee? Would everyone who came to Jesus this time have been a Jew?

What is the effect of the detail that Jesus had to get into a boat in verse 9?

The reason for their coming to Jesus is given in verse 10. For the importance of touch in verse 10 see 5,28. More dramatically, have a look at 2 Kings 13,21.

Consider how this is expanded in verses 11-12. Who knows that Jesus is the Son of God? Why are they forbidden to make him known - see also 1,24 and 1,34.

What is the impression left by this summary?

Go now to my response.

The appointment of the Twelve: 3,13-19

Read through these verses and note how there is an introduction followed by a list of names.

What is the significance of the mountain (see 9,2 and Exodus 19,3)? Does your translation speak of "hills"?

Who are summoned in verse 13?

For verses 13 to 15, take look at Mt 10,1-2 plus 10,5. What is specific to Mark? Compare also with 1,16-20. What is different this time?

What is the main reason given in verses 14-15 and what are the other reasons? For verse 15, see 1,27 and 2,10. Look ahead at 6,7.

Is there a phrase in brackets in 3,14? Why might it not be original? See Lk 6,13.

What is the significance of twelve? Where does that place Jesus?

Comparing the list of names with Matthew, Mt 10,2-4 and Lk 6,13-16 we can note they are more or less similar.
Who is named first? What about his brother (see 1,16; 1,29 and 13,3)?
Who is named last? Compare what is said about him with 14,10.

Time for another look at my response.

Jesus is now beginning to establish his own family with this appointment of the Twelve.
The implications of that will be the topic of the next episode, 3,20-35, where we will hear more about the true family of Jesus.