Mark 3:7-19 – The Pressure Packed Ministry of Jesus (sermon notes)

*Note: Normally I preach from a manuscript, which means I have a manuscript to post here.  However, when I taught this passage I tried something a little different.  Here are the sermon notes that I used.  It is certainly a different format, but I hope that it will still be instructional.  At the very least it will give you a little insight into what my sermon notes might look like.*


Theme: Jesus was sovereignly in control despite mass hysteria, demonic opposition, and unqualified help.


– We love celebrities in this country. We want to know everything about them, and some people even love to see them fail.

– In the 1st century Jesus was certainly a celebrity, and as opposition to His ministry began to mount (v. 6) there were a lot of questions about how He would do.

– In Mark 3:7-19 we are going to get a close look at Jesus’ ministry, and we will see if He is able to withstand the scrutiny. (Just to let you in on a secret, He does!)

– This passage reveals that Jesus is in control despite mass hysteria, demonic opposition, and unqualified help. He is a leader that we that we must follow.

[Read Passage]

I. The Demands of Public Ministry (vv. 7-12)

a. the pressures of fame

– Mark begins in v.7 by telling us that “Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea…”

– Leaves official opposition in the city/synagogue
– Returns to familiar location (1:16; 2:13)
– This is a neutral location

– Jesus and his disciples were not alone by the Sea of Galilee. Mark tells us that a “great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that He was doing they came to Him.”

– Jesus’ fame had spread and people were curious. They came from all over.
– Those from Galilee simply followed Him from the city into the country.
Judea and Jerusalem were farther south. Jesus had ministered there earlier (John 3:22). This is also where many of the Pharisees had come from (Luke 5:17)
Idumea was even further south of Judea and is only mentioned here.
Beyond the Jordan was the territory east of the Jordan River.
Tyre and Sidon were two cities close to one another in the north (Matthew 11:21) with a large Gentile population.

– Clearly from the size of these crowds there was a lot of interest in Jesus, but it is also clear that this interest was not the right kind of interest. In fact, this crowd was more like paparazzi than faithful followers.

– It got so bad that Jesus “told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him….”

– He had been walking along by the shore but the undisciplined crowd got so bad that He had to have a boat ready to escape from the crowd crushing Him.

– You might think that it couldn’t have been that bad, but Mark makes it clear that this was a mad house because “he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.”

– Here we see what the people were really after
– People who had traveled this far will not be denied.
– The believed that if they simply touched Jesus they would be healed. This is why it started getting dangerous. ILL: Ballgame crowd.
– They were more interested in fulfilling their curiosity and receiving physical help than in becoming true followers.
– They didn’t even let Jesus teach—which was His primary goal for His earthly ministry. (1:38)

– As we look at these crowds it should cause us to stop and ask ourselves why we come to church.

– Friends
– Family
– Habit
– Obligation
– It should be to follow Jesus as our sovereign ruler.

– Additionally, as we look at this situation can you imagine how much pressure Jesus was under?
– Remember, Jesus was human just like we are (minus the sin). Philippians 2:7-8

b. the pressures of demonic influence

– In v. 11 the pressure on Jesus only became more intense. Mark tells us that “whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’”

– What is so ironic is that these demons understood what the Pharisees, and the massive crowds missed – that Jesus is God.
– This was not, however, a statement of faith. (James 2:19)
– It is sad that the only confessions of the deity of Christ up to this point have come from demons. ( cf. 1:24)
– Additionally, this would have added to the hysteria all around Jesus.

– This is why in v. 12 “He strictly ordered them not to make Him known.”

– This is a very strong command, and it assumes that the demons obeyed it! [ILL: Al Quaida obeying a U.S. General]
– This reveals the Power of Jesus.
– Jesus did this to 1) avoid further hysteria, and 2) to avoid accusations of Demonic influence. (cf. 3:22)

– In all of this it seems as if the wheels are falling off, and things are out of control. However, we know that God is always in control of all things.  Psalm 103:19

– So, even though things look like they are spinning out of control Jesus can handle the pressure, and we will see this clearly in vv. 13-19.

II. The Need for Private Ministry

a. Jesus gets away

– Mark tells us that as things were becoming crazy with his public ministry Jesus “went up on the mountain….” He got away! Because of the demands of his public ministry Jesus recognized the need for private ministry.

– Luke tells us that Jesus went up to pray (Lk 6:12)
– He had to replenish himself
– If Jesus had to do this, then how much more do we need to do this?
– We are the opposite of Jesus (usually). We are prideful, we don’t recognize our physical limitations and our spiritual dependence upon God, and so we don’t get away.

b. Jesus shared his ministry

– Not only did Jesus “get away” but he also shared his ministry. Mark tells us that Jesus “called him… READ PASSAGE vv. 13b-19”

– What we see here is not Jesus becoming overwhelmed and trying to find qualified help. Jesus is strategically and sovereignly calling 12 men to be his special representatives.

– It is strategic:

– He could teach them (v. 14)
– They could help spread his message (vv. 14-15)
– They would be eye witnesses after Jesus left.

– It was sovereign:

– He chose them. He was the initiator. He was establishing a new 12.
– They would have been just like the crowds if he hadn’t intervened in their life (us too!)

– These guys were not qualified for the work they had to do. It was Jesus’ work in their life that made them qualified. Just look at these guys:

Simon Peter: He was the leader of the 12, but usually he had his foot in his mouth. Jesus made him into a Rock. Roman church would have been close to Peter.
James & John: The sons of thunder with a temper (Luke 9:54-56) became the sons of thunder for the gospel. John wrote an epistle. James martyred (Acts 12:2).
Andrew: Peter’s brother.
Philip: Always honest even when he didn’t understand (John 14:8-9). Eventually used to spread the gospel to Ethiopia (Acts 8:26ff).
Bartholomew: also known as Nathanael (John 1:45-49)
Matthew: Also known as Levi (cf. 2:15-18)
Thomas: An eternal pessimist (i.e. John 11:16). “Doubted” but eventually declared “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:24-28) Tradition of taking the gospel to India.
James son Alphaeus: No relation to Matthew; also known as James the Less (15:40).
Thaddaeus: Also “Judas not Iscariot” of John 14:22.
Simon the Cananean: He was a zealot (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). Isn’t it amazing that a zealot could serve together with Levi a tax collector?
Judas Iscariot: Even in this we see Jesus’ sovereign grace. He chose Judas knowing the outcome.


– In this passage we have scene a small example that reveals a big principle. Jesus, as God, is sovereignly in control. He is the kind of leader that we need to be following.

– If we do follow Jesus it will be because of the grace he has shown us, and he will change our lives (just he like he did with the disciples).