I hope you have been enjoying your reading so far in the Book of Mark! If you are reading this and didn't know we were doing a reading plan together, I'd love to invite you to join! You can find the reading plan on our Instagram and Facebook page.
Today, we were in Mark chapter 3 and 4. These chapters focus a lot on the start of Jesus' ministry and the start of his teachings. There's a lot of great questions to ask in these chapters, so make sure you are taking time to write them down and to do some research.
I wanted to focus on the very beginning of chapter 3. Jesus performs a miracle, which we would all agree is a good thing, yet some people get really bent of shape about it, and the passage ends with those people plotting to kill him. You can read it below.
Mark 3: 1-6
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
So here are some questions, Why are these people so upset at Jesus? Why did Jesus heal this man? What's the point of this story and why does it matter to me?
In the Old Testament (before Jesus was born), God chose a group of people that would represent him to the world. With this came great blessing, but it also came with a crapload of responsibility. God gave these people, called the Israelites, rules to follow that would distinguish them as a group of people. One of those rules was taking a day of complete and total rest. This day was called the Sabbath. God went above and beyond to make sure His people didn't do ANY WORK on this day. It was meant to be a time to replenish and care for yourself and your family. God even went as far as to say that if you didn't keep the Sabbath, you would die. Honestly, we could learn something from this and the importance of rest.
So back to our reading. The Pharisees mentioned here are like pro-Israelites. They are the top representation of the rules God gave to them. So they are watching this guy named Jesus, who is claiming to be God's son, to see if he keeps the rules.
Instead, Jesus gives them something to think about. He asks, "Is it good to help someone even if it's the Sabbath?" We could say it like this,
"Is there a wrong time to do the right thing?"
The Pharisees had got so caught up in the rules that they were unwilling to be compassionate with people. They valued rules over a relationship. We definitely don't have that problem today (insert eye-roll here). Jesus shows them and us an incredible lesson.
1. It's always the right time to do the right thing.
Compassion, grace, and mercy are something we don't take a day off from. We should always be looking for ways to positively impact the people around us. We can know everything about the Bible, but if we don't care for people, then we've missed the point. So many of us could benefit from evaluating this in our lives. We need to stop going to church and work on being the church to the world. That's what God wanted.
2. Caring for people is more important than keeping the rules.
All we know about the man Jesus healed was that he had a shriveled hand. Jesus didn't take time to interview him and make sure he was deserving of a miracle. Jesus just cared for him. We could learn to do the same. We need to stop picking apart people's lives and start being a part of their lives. We need to love people better. The people that we disagree with, live differently than us and treat us wrongly. We have to stop using God as an excuse to hate. If do that, then we are no different than the Pharisees plotting to kill Jesus.
I hope this was helpful for you! I'd love to hear your questions, thoughts, and takeaways in the comments below! Have a great day!