Mark 3: 7-12 – Summary Statement

Mark 3: 7-12 is a summary statement. It describes the withdrawal of Jesus and his disciples to the sea, the arrival of large crowds of people and Jesus’ healing activities. The withdrawal of Jesus to the seashore need not be understood as a flight from danger (Cf. Mk 3: 6). But as part of his journey in fulfilment of his mission. Jesus’ withdrawal may also signify his break with official Judaism and its leaders who opposed him. Nevertheless, Jesus and his disciples are not going to be alone. Great crowds gather around him. They come to him from all directions, from the south, East, and North including Gentile territories. It is not without reason that Mark mentions several places from which the multitude come to Jesus (Mk 3: 7-8). In the course of his ministry Jesus himself will visit all these places except Idumea (Cf. Mk 7: 24, 31; 10: 1; 11: 11). For Mark Jesus’ ministry among the Gentiles anticipates the Church’s own world-wide mission.

Jesus’ activity is described in general as healing (Mk 3: 10). Jesus restores health and wholeness to the sick and the possessed, and as before (Cf. Mk 1: 25, 34) he imposes silence on the evil spirits who recognised his identity as Son of God (Mk 3: 11-12).

In a certain sense the summary of Mark 3: 7-12 looks forward to and anticipates the events of the unit it introduces (Mk 3: 7 – 6: 6a). The mention of the huge crowd (Mk 3: 7-8) and the boat (Mk 3: 9) may be Mark’s way of preparing for the episodes that follow (Cf. Mk 4: 1-2). The enthusiastic but uncommitted crowd that came to Jesus may represent the mass of people whom the disciples will have to evangelise one day. The evangelist seems to imply that it is from this enthusiastic crowd that Jesus chooses the twelve (Mk 3: 13-19) who are constituted as the nucleus and foundation of the new Israel, the Church.

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