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):
Mark 1:17--Fisher-follower promise
And Jesus said to them, “Come follow (after) me . . .” (1:17a, b).
And I will create (kai poieso) you to become fishers of men (1:17c).
Mark 3:13–15--Creating fishers
. . . and [He] summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him (3:13b).
And He creates (kai epoiesen) twelve . . . (3:14a; note 3:16a kai epoiesen tous dodeka).
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:
Interpretive Summary I
As inaugurators of the kingdom, fisher-followers are created so they would be with Jesus and so that they would be sent forth to preach and to have authority to cast out demons.
 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.
This post is one of a thread adapted from the last chapter of Wasted Evangelism: Social Action and the Church's Task of Evangelism, a deep, exegetical read into the Gospel of Mark. All royalties from this book go to support our church planting ministry in the Hill community of New Haven, CT. The book and its e-formats can be found on Amazon, Barns'n Noble, (and most other online book distributors) or through the publisher, Wipf & Stock directly.