Loving Father, help me bring my straggling thoughts in focus, so when I am with You, I can hear Your voice and obey Your will.
Read Mark 3:1–6
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
3 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAs you read this passage, imagine you are there in the synagogue. Feel the tension in the air.
A couple I knew thought that a bookstall in church would help people grow and encourage the local Christian bookshop. However, some church members were worried about selling things on Sunday, so they had to let people choose a book and then collect the money on another day in the week. The bookstall did not last long.
The Sabbath controversies that have been around for a while come to the surface now. This gives critics of Jesus an excuse for beginning to plot against Him (2,6). They watch closely when the man with the deformed hand enters the synagogue (1,2). Had He wanted to avoid a confrontation, Jesus could have asked the man to come back after sunset, when the Sabbath was over (it wasn’t an emergency). Instead, He makes a point of drawing attention to the healing by asking him to stand up in front of everyone (3). He heals on the Sabbath in the synagogue (5). Like the prophets (Micah 6:8), Jesus emphasizes that God wants practical mercy and love rather than empty legalism.
The battle lines are now drawn. Jesus came proclaiming and demonstrating with authority the coming of God’s kingdom. Sadly, the opposition is being led by the very people who claim to observe God’s laws.
How has accompanying Jesus on the road for the last two weeks challenged you as He proclaimed the arrival of God’s kingdom? How are you going to live differently?
Dear Father, help me to live in a rhythm of work and rest that is glorifying to You.
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