Significance Before Application (Mark 3:14–15): The Mark 3 Commission and Its Implications for Social Action, Part 3
First, Reread the Mark 3 Commission and Its Components--to Preach and to Cast
In order to obey the Mark 3 commission and, thus, show faithfulness to the gospel of God (1:14), we need to think more deeply about the significance of the Mark 3 commission and its application; then, we should seek activities and measurable outcomes that indicate obedience and faithfulness to the gospel. To do this it is necessary to reread the Mark 3 commission more effectively. This will be accomplished by seeking to understand the narrative relationship between the two commissioning components--to preach (v. 14c) and to have authority to cast out the demons (v. 15)—within the “sequence of events emplotted” in Mark’s Gospel.
The Mark 3 commission and the fisher-promise—the inaugural connection
In chapter 3, “You Will Appear as Fishers,” I demonstrated that the Mark 1:17 fisher-promise finds its inaugural fulfillment in the Mark 3 creation and commission of the twelve (vv. 13–15). Some of those observations and connections bear repeating as we begin to reread the Mark 3 commission. The link between the fisher-promise and the commission can be seen in how Mark introduces the promise (1:17) and, then, how he presents the creation of the twelve (3:13–15):
An obvious promise-fulfillment (I will create/He creates) is crafted into Mark’s narrative regarding the call and creation of the fishers. In Mark 1, the eschatological characters (i.e., Jesus, John the Baptist, the Spirit, and fisher-followers) that play a role in inaugurating the gospel of Jesus Christ are introduced (vv. 4–17). After the mission summary (1:14–15), there is an invitation to become followers (1:17) that includes a promise: “I will make [poieso] you to become fishers of men.” This promise, then, is fulfilled when Jesus creates (epoiesen) the twelve in the Mark 3 commission episode (3:14a).
There is a narrative relationship between the call and promise in 1:17 and the summons and commission in 3:13–15, specifically discernible by the repeated use of poieo (create/make), which is often translated appointed, ordained, chose that can mask the reference back to the fisher-promise. The other synoptic Gospel writers did not use poieo (make/create) to characterize the establishment of the twelve, making it more likely that Mark wanted his readers/listeners to make the narrative connection between the fisher-promise (1:17) and its inaugural fulfillment in the commissioning of the twelve (3:14–15). The fisher metaphor and the role of the created twelve indicate that fisher-followers are to be inaugurators of the kingdom (1:17; 3:13–15; 6:7–13)—that is, presenting its demands (1:14–15), expanding (sowing/harvesting) the gospel (4:1–5:43), and imitating Jesus’ ministry (Mark 1:21—6:13). It follows, then, that the content of the commission (vv. 14c–15) is the nature and activity of the created fisher-followers: those who are with Him (v. 14b) are also sent forth to preach and to have authority to cast out the demons (v. 15).
At this point, and in light of the Mark 1:17 fisher-promise discussed in chapter 3 (“You Will Appear as Fishers”), the following interpretive summary (I) gives a sense of the meaning of the Mark 3 commission:
 The author’s translation of Mark 1:17 and Mark 3:13–15.
 See chapter 3, “You Will Appear as Fishers,” for an elaboration of these characters (from Mark’s introduction) as inaugurators of the kingdom.
 After each section I present an interpretative summary of the Mark 3 commission in order to show the development of the text’s significance to the reader/listener; as the study expands, the interpretative summary develops.
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.