And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.
And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Jesus again is in the synagogue, and again, He’s being watched by anyone who’s ready to try and trap Him. Notice though they don’t need to say a word, as Jesus already knows their stone cold hard hearts? He immediately asks if it’s lawful to do good?
I have been reading the book of Exodus for the past few days, so I just recently re read the laws, and the law on laboring on the Sabbath was very plain and what seems to us in our time as pretty brutal. Those who did work on the Sabbath were to be put to death. But is Jesus laboring when He heals? He is the Word. All He has to do is speak the Word and a lame person is healed. And yet even if He did perform physical labor in order to heal, is it permitted to help someone, though it happens to be the Sabbath day?
He made it plain again back in Matthew 12:6-8 after the pharisees accused His disciples of laboring when they picked corn on their way to synagogue.
But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
“I will have mercy and not sacrifice”
This is a loaded statement which implies that sacrifices that were performed were done on the sabbath, including the killing and preparing of the animal. And yet these duties were justifiable because temple service required it. However, would work performed which helped another person not also be justifiable? Would God prefer someone to suffer until sabbath had ended? No. To God it is always better to save a life than destroy it~ even if it happens on the Sabbath.
If people doubt that our Creator is removed from us or doubt the love of Jesus, they need to see verse 5 of this chapter. It always makes me sad to see when God is grieved.
But Jesus in His compassion heals the man’s hand, and still the pharisees who hear the Word and see the healings still have their hearts hardened- and now, not only grumbling against Him, but actively seeking ways in which to destroy Him.
The Herodians were a political sect of Jews, who supported Herod in return for peace and political favors. They were, almost like our politics today with extremes, opposite the zealots, who believed God alone should lead Israel, while promoting activism and military opposition to end Roman control. They had the hatred of Jesus in common with the pharisees for the same reason- Jesus threatened their comfort, position and power, and Jesus knew it. Later in the book of Mark Jesus warns of both groups.
He withdrew from there, because His enemies would be a distraction for one, but also because He needed to shift focus. Again Mark’s sense of urgency about Jesus’s ministry seems to remind us that Jesus’s time was short, He had a lot He needed to accomplish, and desired that more people than not would hear, see and receive His message while He was alive to give it.
The crowds followed Him, but not just those in Galilee, but from all over, even as far away as Tyre and areas beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came and He taught and healed many, and cast out demons. The multitudes had heard of Him, and wanted to either see for themselves this man who could heal, or be touched by Him for healing~ they pressed upon him for to touch him. They were content just to touch Him, not necessary for Him to touch them. Kind of reminds of the faith of the Centurion who said just speak it and it will be done.
Those unclean spirits of whom Jesus healed trembled and recognized God, something the pharisees would never admit to. That seems interesting to me. But Jesus rebuked them and didn’t want His true identity known yet- it was for His time to be revealed, not the enemy’s timing.
Here we see Jesus choosing his disciples and giving them the mandate to go and preach, teach and heal. That Jesus ordained these simple men, with the power to heal and cast out demons was an honor bestowed.
They went into a house, probably to get a little peace among themselves, but the multitudes followed even then, and pressed in so much that they had no time even to eat some bread. Jesus knew the opportunity was ripe again for more teaching and He grabbed it, even putting off His own comfort. So much was He ministering to the people His friends came and took hold of Him. Kind of like someone who’s working doubly hard, and over time trying to beat a deadline. They’re “overworking” or in Jesus’s case, they figured He’s beside Himself and needs to rest.
Interesting the usual crowd of scribes jump on the chance to discredit Him yet again, claiming He has a demon. And I love Jesus’s rebuke to them. But notice this rebuke is given with a strong warning as well. Even His enemies Jesus tried to warn them.
Blaspheming Christ, even on the cross receives forgiveness from Jesus- Father forgive them… but this was not Jesus they were discrediting, but the Holy Spirit, and to blaspheme by calling Him unclean, and deny the existence of and the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a sin unforgivable.
Lastly we see that Mary and Jesus’s brothers come. It seems pompous that they infer they deserve a meeting with Him because He is family, so much so that they stood outside, expecting Him to interrupt His teaching to come out to them. Maybe they were worried for Him, that’s understandable, as any parent would worry their child, even grown is over working themselves. Yet, Mary knew Jesus was no ordinary man, that He knew Himself better than she.
Jesus again shows honor to those who truly follow Him, by what He said. It’s not that He was denying His mother and brothers, but that the people He came to earth to save, and those who trusted in Him are also family, worthy of respect, just as Mary and His brothers expected respect.
Have a blessed Wednesday all!