February 29, 2020 – Mark Chapter
Mark 3:1-6 The Man with the Shriveled Hand
The Sabbath rule was that one should do no work on that day. The law was clear that you could save a life of a man or an animal. The rabbis have the position that Jesus is a traveling healer, and so, if his work is healing, he ought not to heal a less grave case on the Sabbath.
It would be a realistic argument against Jesus’ ministry to say that while He did impressive things, He showed little respect for the things of God. We would use a similar argument about someone if we felt that his work was self-serving and lacking in humble devotion.
Jesus argues that real devotion to God means instant concern for the hurting.
Jesus consistently teaches that the layer of rules that the rabbis had built around the simple Torah were keeping people from the heart of God.
Jesus also points to the reality that He is not simply a teacher and preacher.
Does Jesus heal? All He says is “Stretch out your hand.” On purpose he does not touch the man. Jesus’ healings mostly lack any show at all. No waving hands, no incantations.
Mark 3:7-12 Crowds Follow Jesus
This is the familiar picture of Jesus teaching from a boat.
Jesus will be revealed as The Son of God, but not by healings, by the adoration of the crowds or the confounding of His enemies. The gospel will allow this statement to stand at the trial 14:62, which brings about his rejection by friends and enemies alike, and 15:39 when His death is complete. The silencing of the demons tells us that there is only one full context to know the Son, and that is the cross.
Mark 3:13-19 The Calling of the Apostles
He calls those He desires. What does it mean to say that one’s place in the disciples is because Jesus ‘wants’ you there?
The church has struggled for centuries with whether Jesus intends that His church should have a hierarchy of appointed leaders, or whether structure of church authority is a distortion of the idea that we are called, all unworthy, and all inadequate. What exactly is the role of an apostle? What does it mean to be ordained to “Take authority to preach the gospel?”
Jesus list begins with Peter, who will deny Him, and Judas, who will betray Him.
Mark 3:20-22 The Challenge of the Teachers of the Law
We are to see little to respect in the growing opposition to Jesus. In 3:6, the Pharisees are allying themselves with the unsavory Herodians to plot against Him. In this passage, the best they can assert is that His work is a clever counterfeit of Satan. The teachers of the Law claim for themselves a discernment beyond that of Christ.
I once talked with a man who told me he had gotten ‘beyond Christianity.” He had read a book on miracles and personal success. What would be a good response? Does Jesus still love such a person?
Mark 3:23-30 The House Divided
This is the Bible verse that Abraham Lincoln quoted in his speech after being nominated to the U.S. senate, (he lost.). The wisdom is an obvious insight, and applied well to the situation of the disastrous civil war.
Lincoln’s House Divided Speech:
Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, believed Lincoln was morally courageous but politically incorrect. Lincoln read the speech to him before delivering it, referring to the “house divided” language this way: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
The Unforgivable Sin
To reject Christ is to close the door to the work that God is doing, and to the only hope that we have. Working against evil in human strength will not succeed. Thus, to blaspheme by saying that this is a work of the devil and not God is to put yourself where the Kingdom presence of the King works despair for the lost, and not hope.
Christian preaching has clearly emphasized that a person who is calling out to God is not, by definition guilty of something unforgivable. From time to time, pastors have to deal with people that feel they have committed the unforgivable sin.
Mark 3:31-35 Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
This is a scandalous scene, where at least some of the family have come with the net and strait Jacket. Some think He is “beside himself.” Jesus’ mother is among them, but does not speak. This scene does not necessarily mean that Mary had her own doubts.
The focus is not on what does the family think. The question is what do you believe? Relationship with Christ is dependent on the person’s response to the Kingdom.