The Route to Salvation

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
(Mark 3:7-12)

Scripture Study

3:7 toward the sea Jesus again follows a confrontation with the Pharisees by withdrawing to the sea, accompanied by crowds receptive to His ministry (compare 2:13). Judea Roman province corresponding roughly to the OT kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as the capital. This list of places indicates that news of Jesus’ deeds has reached beyond Galilee (compare 1:39, 45).

3:8 Idumea A territory southeast of Judaea. The places mentioned here—Idumea, the region across the Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon—were inhabited predominantly by non-Jewish people, which suggests that Jesus was attracting non-Jews as well as Jews. Idumea is far south of Galilee, and Tyre is far north; this indicates the broad geographic spread of Jesus’ message. The reception of Jesus by Gentiles is a significant theme in Mark (5:1–20; 7:24–30, 31–37). beyond the Jordan Also known as Perea. Tyre and Sidon Two major Phoenician cities that dominated the Mediterranean coast to the north and west of Galilee.

3:10 touch him The motif of Jesus healing by touch will become more prominent in the narratives that follow (5:25–34; 6:56; 7:32–37; 8:22–26; compare 1:40–45).

3:11 You are the Son of God Resembles the behavior of the first unclean spirit Jesus encountered in Mark’s Gospel—a cry, followed by recognition of Jesus’ identity (see 1:23–24; compare 15:39).

3:12 he warned them sternly Compare 1:25. not to make him known For first-century Jews, the Messiah was a political as well as a religious figure. Jesus’ desire to conceal His identity may have been motivated by a desire to avoid violent repercussions early in His ministry.

Scripture Reflection

By working these cures, our Lord shows that he is both God and Man. He cures by virtue of his divine power and by using his human nature. In other words, only in the Word of God become man is the work of our Redemption effected, and the instrument God used to save us was the human nature of Jesus—his body and soul—in the unity of the person of the Word.

St Thomas Aquinas speaks to this crowding around Jesus, which is repeated by Christians throughout all time: “The holy human nature of our Lord is our only route to salvation; it is the essential means we must use to unite ourselves to God. Thus, we can today approach our Lord by means of the sacraments, especially and pre-eminently the Eucharist. And through the sacraments there flows to us, from God, through the human nature of the Word, a strength which cures those who receive the sacraments with faith.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.