Jesus Teaches the People

(Mark 3:20-21)

On his return home Jesus was so swamped by people as he taught that he could not even eat. People were saying he is beside himself, which today tends to mean that a person is in an emotional state that they are not able to control themselves.

Different translations of the Bible have rendered this verse differently. Some say he was beside himself, some that he was crazy and some that he was out of his mind. I find that the Greek word translated here to be confusing. The word is “exeste” which is a combination of two other Greek words, “ex” and “este.” The word “ex” is a preposition usually denoting a point of origin. It can mean “out” or “from” referring to a point from which something proceeds. The second word “este” depending how it is spelled is either second or third person and means “are” or “is” as in “you/they are,” “he/she/it is.” When the two words are joined it is typically rendered as “it is right” or being ” out in the public.”

Somehow from this the translators have rendered this to mean that the people thought Jesus was crazy, beside himself or out of his mind. In my opinion, and I state that it is an opinion only, I struggle with this interpretation of this section. I am not certain what it is really saying here. I can only imagine that as Jesus was ministering he was so taken up in mind and spirit on what he was doing that he never even thought about food and rest. The need was so great among the people for teaching and healing and his compassion towards them was so great that he could not or did not want to stop. Thus they may have thought he was a little crazy as he may have not slept and was like a machine. Once again I say this is just an opinion, but it is based upon other scriptures including, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38) In this scripture we see the compassion Jesus had for the people and his longing for more ministers to help in the work of preaching and teaching of his people.

The people responded to Jesus for he spoke the truth to them. The word was backed up with healings and miracles, but the teaching was the key. Many may have come for the miracles and healings, but they respected who Jesus was and recognised his power as coming from God. The Pharisees did not and as we will see in the next section even went so far as to say he was working by the power of Satan. We will review this next time as we look at the unpardonable sin.

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