A House Divided, Part 1

“Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. And He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.” Mark 3:6-10.

Mark 3:6 has been added above to give some context to this passage which immediately follows the Lord’s healing of the man with a withered hand, covered here on 4-17-21, titled “Lord of the Sabbath, Part 2”.

It is easy to read the above passage and think, “Okay, got that.” and continue to read because most of us are looking for something we can use in one way or another, or something extraordinary that jumps out at us.

There is nothing wrong with that because every time we open the Scriptures, God is speaking to you and me.

However, it is easy to forget that there are other things on the stage, such as the props and folks other than the main characters can add a lot to our understanding of what is being said and done by the main players.

The scene, the Sea of Galilee, the props, a small boat kept ready for the Lord to step into if the crowd became too much.

The players are, disciples, many, because Jesus had not called out the twelve yet, the central character, Jesus, God incarnate, the crowds, numerous, from Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, Tyre and Sidon; a great multitude.

Idumea is the Greek name for Edom, land of the Edomites, who are children of Esau the twin brother of the patriarch Jacob, see Genesis 25:19-34.

“Now this is the genealogy of Esau, who is Edom.” Genesis 36:1.

“So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. Esau is Edom.” “And this is the genealogy of Esau the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir.” Genesis 36:8-9.

The Edomites had a bitter hatred of Israel so there was a deadly rivalry between the two countries.

“As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom – all of it! Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 35:15.

For more background on the punishment of Edom, see Ezekiel 25:12-14 and all of chapter 35 quoted above.

Idumea/Edom lies roughly southeast of Israel and extending below the south end of the Dead Sea, then south to the Gulf of Aqaba, and because of a land grab, their boundaries extended north to Hebron in Israel at the time of the Lord. Edom now appears to be entirely in the southern part of the country of Jordan.

Beyond the Jordan River would have been originally settled by two and a half of the original twelve tribes which were, Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh.

The western part of Manasseh was, on the western side of the Jordan and included cities that you may recognize, Samaria, Shechem, and Megiddo, along with Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim (which sits on the southern border of their inheritance).

At the time of the Lord these places beyond the Jordan, were called, Peraea, Decapolis, and northeast of the Sea of Galilee, Bashan.

Tyre and Sidon are Phoenician cities north of Israel on the eastern shores of The Great Sea, best known to us as the Mediterranean Sea.

Sidon is now known as Saida in Lebanon and is an ancient city dating back to at least 1400 B.C. These people would definitely have been foreigners mixed with Jews who came to Jesus near the sea.

Another foreigner who might interest you was a widow in this region to whom the prophet Elijah was sent; if you have not read this, please do, 1 Kings chapter 17, read it all for context, this is how much God loved even one foreign sinner and the lengths He will go to in an effort to reach them.

If you have ever been to a lake in a park or in the country you may visualize a boat gently rocking in the sea; we need now only see the color of the sun dappled water and the blue skies with clouds scudding across it.

Can you see green grass and perhaps trees and flowers scattered along the landscape with the sound of an occasional bird calling out. And in the center of it all, we see Jesus with His disciples standing near Him.

This great multitude described above in Mark 3:8 were continually pressing upon Jesus, so much so that He was in danger of being crushed, and those who were afflicted continually fell upon Him as they pressed about Him in their efforts to touch Him. This is the emphasis of verses 8 and 9 in the Greek.

The Lord allowed this without a superior attitude as though He were doing them a favor, stern warnings, or calling upon His disciples to restore order.

Rather He patiently and gently ministered to each of these desperate people in a loving manner. But in the midst of this immense crowd pressing in on Him there were those who were demon possessed.

“And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.” Mark 3:11-12.

Jesus repeatedly refused acknowledgement of His deity by demons. In fact the Amplified New Testament notes that in verse 12, He charged them strictly and severely under penalty not to reveal who He was. In this case the penalty would likely have been a trip to the abyss, the abode of imprisoned demons.

It has been further pointed out that because the possessed person testified to Jesus’ deity it is an indication that the demonized person was demon possessed, not just mentally ill since a mentally ill person could not possibly have such knowledge.

Most people do not think of this, but Jesus being God the Son took part in the creation of everything, so He had created the angels who, in time, fell in their rebellion in alliance with Satan, and became demons living like parasites off of humans.

Jesus knew every one of these fallen angels by name, and may have talked with each of them at length more than a few times before sin entered their hearts. He knew each of them intimately.

“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons…” Mark 3:13-15.

These twelve were ordained (appointed) apostles, which means, one who is sent out, or a messenger, their names are as follows:

Simon Peter, James and John the sons of Zebedee, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

In the case of Simon the Canaanite; he may not have been a Canaanite at all because a word found in the better Greek manuscripts which translates as zealot is more likely to be the correct translation, making him Simon the Zealot, not the Canaanite.

If this is so, before he became a disciple of Christ, Simon may have been a member of the party of Zealots, who were in favor of immediate rebellion against Roman rule.

Confirmation of this may come from the following verses showing what occurred just after the ascension of Jesus into heaven shortly after His resurrection.

“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.” Acts 1:12-13.

In Mark it is stated that Jesus went up on the mountain and called to Himself those that He wanted and named the twelve; but the gospel of Luke gives a bit more detail.

“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Him; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles…” Luke 6:12-13.

The reminder here is that if Jesus the Son of God prayed all night before He made some serious decisions, it is a warning to us not to forsake prayer in our lives, especially when we are making our own serious decisions.

Prayer is the most powerful tool the Christian has, and we neglect it to our own peril.

“…pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…” Colossians 4:2.

“And they went into a house. And the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’” Mark 3:19b-21.

It would appear that the house that they went into may have been Peter’s because that is the house they entered into and found Peter’s mother in law sick, after they left a synagogue in Mark chapter 1.

“Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.” Mark 1:29.

The reference to, “when His own people heard about this” means His own kin, His mother, brothers, and perhaps sisters too. Now I would like to address the new Christian or Christians in general here.

If you did not come from a Christian family, how did they treat you when they found out you had become a Christian?

In fact, how do they treat you now? Are you considered a little soft in the head? I mean, in spite of the fact that aunt Petunia bathes naked in the back yard whenever it rains.

It is interesting that the unsaved have more consideration for their own than they would for a Christian relative.

My point is that there is a parallel here; Scripture tells us that His brothers did not believe in Him, in fact it is very likely that they did not even like their older brother.

Who wants a goody two shoes for a brother; you cannot let Him know that you were smoking behind the barn because if mother asked Him, He would have to tell her the truth.

If you swiped a bottle of dad’s whiskey to drink with your buddies; whatever you do, do not let Jesus know, if dad asks Him, He will have to tell the truth.

They may have blamed Jesus, but Jesus is not a snitch, He is just sinless. People like that are not popular in the world; you are not popular in the world and often in your own family.

“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:11-16.

If, as in the case of Jesus, you are a little peculiar, and then you start actually acting like Him by going to church, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and reading your Bible instead of watching television and partying. Do not be surprised if your family says that you are out of your mind and comes after you.

Personally, I am not convinced that Jesus’ family was trying to lay hold of Him out of noble motivations; but in fear perhaps for their own reputations.

It is not likely that His mother agreed with the family, rather she came along in an effort to moderate things or to help the Lord if need be.

“…a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.” Mark 3:8b.

Upon seeing the multitudes following Jesus His adversary Satan had to respond. So he gathered his own followers together to give them a plan.

“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs [attesting miracles]. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him. And the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.’” John 11:47-48.

“Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.” John 11:53.

“The kings [Gentiles] of the earth set themselves, and the rulers [Jews] take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed [Jesus Christ], saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: ‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.’” Psalm 2:2-6.

Thus ends part one of two parts.

A House Divided, Part 1 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-29-18, updated on 4-21-21.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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