Mk. 3:1-6-Jesus goes to the Synagogue on the Sabbath. There, He finds a man with a “withered hand” (the word means: to become dry and is used of plants and crops that have no water and their leaves have shriveled up). “And they were watching Him” refers to the Pharisees (:6) since they were there hoping to catch Jesus breaking the law so that they could accuse Him. That’s a good reason to go to a worship service, right? Got any Pharisees in your church…just watching for someone to mess up? Jesus initiates a conversation and asks if it is lawful to do something on somebody’s behalf on the Sabbath…but no one answers…”But they kept silent”. (Ryrie)-“Christ’s argument is: To be able to do good and refuse to do it is evil; not to heal this man would have been evil.” They did not respond…showing that they were satisfied with doing nothing, evil. Jesus was "looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart...". Jesus was “grieved” (cf. Matt. 5:4, disturbed, sorrowful, saddened) because the people felt no compulsion to help the man. They were so concerned about their regulations for Sabbath observance…that they were oblivious to the need of this man. Do we ever allow our religion to get in God’s way? Is there ever a time when we should speak up in behalf of other people, those who are in need…but we keep silent? Notice that this led Jesus to “anger”. Anger is God’s response to sin…because it is contradictory to His nature, and it is destructive to His creation. Jesus tells the man to stretch out his hand…and it is “restored” (means: to return to how it was before, its former state, to be healed). You would think that immediately there would be rejoicing over what God had done…because God is the healer. But not this time. The Pharisees were so focused on the Sabbath regulations…that they failed to see God in their midst. Does our religion ever obscure God’s presence in our midst, from us? Can we become so caught up in our practices and our traditions that they become more important than God, Himself? We would never admit it. In fact, we would probably adamantly deny it. But then again, when was the last Sunday that someone was healed in your church? I’ll bet you finished the service on time, though, didn’t you? Are you tired of the status quo? Do you want God to show up in your midst…next Sunday? Perhaps if we experience God’s presence in the midst of our hearts individually…then we will experience God’s presence in the midst of our hearts, congregationally.
Mk. 3:7-10-Multitudes of people from all over were following Jesus...and He healed many of them. People were pressing in on Him…just trying to touch Him….to the extent that He told the disciples to get a boat ready in case they had to use it for their own safety.
Mk. 3:11-12-The unclean spirits (demons) knew exactly Who Jesus was and He warned them not to tell anyone.
Mk. 3:13-19-Here we find the identification (“appointed”-means: “to do, make”; i.e.-to give a unique quality to something, to make a distinction about something) of the 12 disciples…Simon Peter, James and John Zebedee (“sons of thunder”-an Aramaic word…“The name seems to denote fiery and destructive zeal that may be likened to a thunder storm” which Mark translates into Greek for his Gentile readers), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot. The New Testament lists the Apostles in four different places: Matt. 10:1-4; Mk. 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13. Thaddaeus (Matt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18) is the same as Judas, the son or brother of James (it is merely a different form of the same name…similar to: Robert and Bob, Suzanne and Sue, Phillip and Phil). There are three specific aspects of their ministry (:14-15):
- to be with Jesus
- that He might send them out to preach
- to have authority over demons
Mk. 3:20-21-The multitude grew so large that Jesus and His disciples could not even eat a meal. His "own people" (family) heard of this and said "He has lost His senses." They were afraid that Jesus had been overwhelmed by all that was going on and had lost control, was not thinking straight. They would soon show up (:31-32)…possibly to encourage Him to come home, to get some rest. But Jesus was resolute, calmly determined in His mission…and would allow nothing, not even His earthly family…to interfere with His Heavenly directive. In fact, He intentionally states that those that are part of what He has been called to do on earth are His truer, ultimate family (:33-35).
Prayer: Lord, in this passage I see You calling out Your people to serve You. Please call out people here, in our church, to serve You as clearly as You did there. And help them to know what it is that You would have them to do.