- Lesson 10 in the BaptistWay Press Connect 360 unit “The reMARKable Journey Begins” focuses on Mark 3:1-12.
The miracle of the man’s withered hand is the only place in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus healed without being asked or approached. Knowing the attitude of the Pharisees and their loyalty to legalism and tradition rather than people, Jesus shocked them once again by healing the man and breaking a most revered Jewish law. Before the healing, Jesus asked the Pharisees two questions. Is it lawful to do good or evil? Should one save or kill a life?
Jesus’ dialogue with his adversaries and his concurrent healing brings a biblical truth to the forefront that often is forgotten. God never is happy with keeping the letter of the law if it forces a person to break the spirit of the law. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God desires a joyful living that is obedient to the spirit. In the altercation between Jesus and the religious elites, the irony is quite evident. Jesus was bringing healing to a person on the same day the Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus.
Jesus came to save life, and there was only one real question of the text. Is God for health or for death? The man with the withered hand appeared before Christ, and Jesus asked him to stretch out his hand, and it was restored. The Sabbath miracle was a gift given to the man, a reminder that people matter more than things, a lesson the Pharisees struggled or refused to comprehend.
Rare display of anger
Mark 3:5 is one of the few places in the Gospel where Jesus is described as angry. Even when Jesus entered the temple and overturned the tables (11:15-19), Jesus was never described as being angry. Jesus’ anger was grounded in the hypocrisy of the religious leader’s lack of compassion and hard heartedness to resist God’s will. A big difference between our western thought and that of Jesus’ day is the idea of what makes up the heart. In Hebrew thought, the heart was more than just a place for human emotion. The heart was the center of a person’s mind and will, the place a person made decisions.
After watching Jesus heal the man with a withered hand, the Pharisees left immediately and made an alliance with the Herodians to orchestrate another strategy in destroying Jesus. Luke 6:11 stated that after the healing the Pharisees were “filled with rage.” Jesus’ anger led to a person receiving life, while the Pharisees anger led to them missing out on life.
Jesus also exemplifies how a person is to express anger. Jesus’ anger was addressed at the problem of caring more about rules and traditions rather than people. This way of living is a prophetic word to our 21st century way of life. Our culture judges a person by how much he or she produces and accomplishes. However, Jesus condemns anything that blocks “doing good” and bringing restoration to a person. Jesus came to save and restore those who are lost. Jesus’ disciples follow his example and do the same.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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