Mark 3 – Jesus Heals Many by the Sea & Caesarea Philippi

In Matthew chapter 4 we had talked a bit about King Herod so tomorrow we’ll…

The first-century Capernaum synagogue in which Jesus preached has probably been found. Because more than one synagogue may have existed in Capernaum at this time, we cannot be sure that this new find was Jesus’ synagogue. But this recently discovered first-century building is certainly a likely candidate.

Rough black basalt residences of first-century A.D. Capernaum stand in stark contrast to the smooth white limestone of the fourth-century synagogue in the background. Under this synagogue, excavators have found another synagogue made of the same black basalt as the residences in the foreground. The lower synagogue was built on nearly the same plan as the upper limestone synagogue visible here.

The walls of the lower synagogue were nearly four feet thick—much thicker than those of these residences—and the walls were made of worked stones, rather than the unworked stones builders used in the residences. The upper synagogue has three entrances on the south, Jerusalem-facing facade. Through these entrances can be seen three rows of columns forming aisles on either side of the prayer hall and the back wall.

Mark 3
Jesus Heals Many by the Sea

1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

3:1-6 – a demonstration that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.

2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

“Herodians” – evidently influential Jews who favored the Herodian Dynasty, meaning they were supporters of Rome, from which the Herods received their authority.  They jointed the Pharisees in opposing Jesus because they feared He might have an unsettling political influence on the people.

As the saying goes, “Not everything is what it seems.”  Jesus is by far much more than what the heathens saw.

7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,

8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.

Many think that the meaning of the Sabbath is for us to relax and not work.
This is true, but we are to with God, not relax but going to the bar or go water skiing with friends.
On the Sabbath you can do anything you want, but to honor God you include Him in all that you do, and he doesn’t drink, but He’s be happy to go water skiing with you and your friends.

Here we see impressive evidence of Jesus’ rapidly growing popularity among the people.  This geographical list indicates that the crowds came not only from the areas in the vicinity of Capernaum but also from considerable distances, the poor walked a long way.

9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.

13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

16 And Simon he surnamed Peter;

Herodian architecture is a style of classical architecture characteristic of the numerous building projects undertaken during the reign (37 BC – 4 BC) of Herod the Great, the Roman client king of Judea. Herod undertook many colossal building projects, most famously his reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (ca. 19 BC).

Many of his structures were built upon comparable, previous Hasmonean buildings and most of his have, in their turn, vanished as well.

17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

“Thaddaeus” – apparently the same as “Judas the brother of James.”

19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

“Iscariot” – probably means “the man from Kerioth,” the town Kerioth-hezron, 12 miles south of Hebron.

20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

He is infamously known for his kiss and betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief Sanhedrin priests in exchange for a payment of thirty silver coins. Though there are varied accounts of his death, the traditional version sees him as having hanged himself out of remorse following his betrayal. His place among the Twelve Apostles was later filled by Matthias.

His name is often used to accuse someone of betrayal.

“Beelzebub” – see Matt 10:25.

23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

“Enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods” – that is what Jesus did when He freed people from Satan’s control and He still does that today.

28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

Kerioth – cities. A town in the south of Judea. Judas Iscariot was probably a native of this place, and hence his name Iscariot. It has been identified with the ruins of el-Kureitein, about 10 miles south of Hebron.. A city of Moab, called Kirioth.

34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

“Whosoever shall do the will of God” – membership in God’s spiritual family, evidenced by obedience to Him, is more important than membership in our human families.  And obedience is much greater than repenting (see 1 Sam 15:17-23).

Caesarea Philippi

The area of Caesarea Philippi was first known (c. 200 B.C.) by the name Panion, meaning “sanctuary of Pan,” a pagan god associated with fields and herds.

Cave sacred to the god Pan at Caesarea Philippi

In 23 B.C. Augustus assigned the area in Herod I to rule for the Romans, and Herod’s son, Philip, took control of the region after his father’s death.

Philip constructed an administrative capitol building at Panion and changed the name to Caesarea Philippi, honoring both Caesar and himself. (Caesar Philippi is not to be confused with Caesarea Maritima, a city on the Mediterranean Coast.)

There is no record of any civilian habitation  at the time, so Caesarea Philippi was an administrative center and not yet a city during Jesus’ lifetime.

The Gospel accounts carefully observe this fact, recording that Jesus and the disciples frequented the villages (Mk 8:27) or the region (Mt 6:13) of Caesarea Philippi.

Pan was the god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. He wandered the hills and mountains of Arkadia playing his pan-pipes and chasing Nymphs. His unseen presence aroused feelings of panic in men passing through the remote, lonely places of the wilds.

In the year 53 or 54 A.D. Agrippa II became king of the principality and transformed Caesarea Philippi into a Greco-Roman city. The magnificent administrative palace was converted into a public bath house, and a long colonnaded street was constructed through the middle of the city.

Fresh water was supplied through underground pipes and a new aqueduct. In A.D. 70 the city was the scene of notorious savagery.

The Roman general Titus, after destroying Jerusalem, brought a large number of Jewish prisoners to Caesarea Philippi, where they were massacred in games as a public spectacle. The city reached its peak in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. but appears to have undergone a sharp decline from the 4th century on.

Although the site has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century, systematic excavations did not begin until 1988. Work has focused on the sanctuary of Pan and the central area of the city.

Much of the Roman-period architecture was destroyed during the Middle Ages, when the location was used as a military outpost by both Muslims and crusaders.

Stone blocks were mined from the ancient buildings to be reused in later structures, making the work of reconstructing the ancient city more difficult.

Archaeologists have uncovered numerous medieval pieces of pottery, metal and glass and are confident that further exploration will reveal remains from the Biblical era.

The city’s athletic facilities and a temple built for Augustus by Herod I are among the important edifices yet to be excavated.

…go into more detail about this horrid king.