Mark 3:19-35 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Why was Jesus’ family concerned about Him? See Mark 3:19-21 (printed below)

Then Jesus entered a house, (20) and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. (21) When his family heard about this, they went to get him; for they said, He has lost his senses. (Mark 3:19-21)

Jesus is so devoted to His ministry and is so overwhelmed by the throngs of people who gather to Him, that He and His disciples do not even have time to eat. Upon witnessing this scene, Jesus’ family is concerned for His well-being; they fear that He has lost His senses.

2. What do the scribes say when they witness Jesus casting out demons? See Matthew 12:22,24 (printed below)

Then there was brought to him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the man could speak and see…(24) But when the Pharisees heard about it, they said, This man only casts out demons by Beelzebub the prince of the demons. (Matthew 12:22,24)

When the scribes witness Jesus casting out demons they maintain that He is demon-possessed and that it is by Beelzebub (i.e.; the devil), the prince of the demons, that Jesus is casting out demons.

3. How does Jesus point out the foolishness of the scribes’ accusation that He is demon-possessed? See Matthew 12:25-27 (printed below)

Knowing their thoughts he said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to destruction; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. (26) If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? (27) And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. (Matthew 12:25-27)

Jesus tells a parable: if a kingdom fights against itself it will fall. Likewise, if Satan expels his own demons, his kingdom cannot stand. It is foolish to think that Satan would work against his own cause. Jesus then proceeds to ask the Pharisees, “By whom do your sons cast out demons?” (Matthew12:27) If they must admit that their followers cast out demons by the power of God, what right do they have to deny that Jesus is doing the same?

4. What do you think Jesus means when He says, “Whoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven?” Note Mark 3:29-30 (printed below)

…whoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. (30) He said this because they were saying, He has an unclean spirit. (Mark 3:29-30)

Mark 3:30 helps explain the meaning of Jesus’ statement. That verse tells us the Pharisees were persistently denying the truth of who Jesus is in spite of the evidence. To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit means to either persistently deny His convincing work or persistently resist His convicting work. Since the Holy Spirit’s work is to reveal Christ to us and bring us into the bosom of Christ and under the Lordship of Christ, to resist the Holy Spirit is to cut ourselves off from the only Savior. In effect, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin because it is a self-induced and self-imposed sentence of condemnation: it is willfully rejecting the Holy Spirit’s appeal that we come to Christ, the only Savior.

5. Who does Jesus say are His true brothers? See Mark 3:34-35 (printed below)

Then looking round about at those who sat around him, he said, Look, here are my mother and my brothers! (35) Whoever shall do God’s will, that person is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Mark 3:34-35)

Jesus declares that those who do God’s will are His true brothers and sisters. By their conduct they demonstrate that they have the same nature as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, whose whole life and ministry was a life of devotion to the will of God His Father.