Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mark Meditations: Mark 3.1-6

Mark 3.1-6

* Jesus is the center of attention--"They were watching him..."
* Jesus takes command of the situation
* Jesus asks challenging questions
* Jesus is angry--grieved at their hardness of heart
* Jesus is the object of their hatred and opposition

* The hardness of heart displayed by the Pharisees is amazing.  They do not care about the hurting in their midst.  The man with a withered hand is a mere prop--at tool to catch Jesus.  The Pharisees don't doubt Jesus' power.  They know he can heal.  They don't rejoice in the healing and restoration of people.  They are seeking to trap Jesus because of his alleged Sabbath violations.

And he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm
on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?"  
But they kept silent.  
After looking around at them with anger,
grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man,
"Stretch out you hand."  And he stretched it out,
and his hand was restored.
Mark 3.4-5

* The Pharisees were content with the status quo--leave the man unhealed or heal on a different day.  They wanted to subordinate Jesus and his healing power to the Sabbath, to their interpretation of it.

* Jesus' options: to do good or to do harm; to save a life or to kill.

* Of course, the Pharisees would not sanction active violations of the law in doing harm or in killing.  But Jesus goes further with the law.  The prohibition against killing is not merely negative in nature.  The prohibition should move us to love--to positive action that promotes life.

* For Jesus, to leave the man unhealed is tantamount to harming him--to killing him.

* Jesus asks them a question, "But they kept silent."  Their silence was born of hardness of heart.  They knew that the answer would show an inconsistency in their thinking.  They refuse to be led by the logic of Jesus.