1 Jesus returned to the synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. 2 Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they were watching Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Step up where people can see you.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they said nothing. 5 Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did, and his hand was made healthy. 6 At that, the Pharisees got together with the supporters of Herod to plan how to destroy Jesus.
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ fate is sealed here in the third chapter. Curing on the sabbath crosses the line, and the religious leaders turn against Jesus.
They rage against Jesus breaking sabbath law, but more than that, they reject Jesus’ authority. Rejecting Jesus will take these leaders down a dark, destructive path.
Prayer Prompt…Jesus, I want to accept your authority and your plan for my life. Please help me to do that in…
7 Jesus left with his disciples and went to the lake. A large crowd followed him because they had heard what he was doing. They were from Galilee, 8 Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the area surrounding Tyre and Sidon. 9 Jesus told his disciples to get a small boat ready for him so the crowd wouldn’t crush him. 10 He had healed so many people that everyone who was sick pushed forward so that they could touch him. 11 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down at his feet and shouted, “You are God’s Son!” 12 But he strictly ordered them not to reveal who he was.
In comparison to the religious leaders who will not accept Jesus, this transition narrative paints a picture of crowds of people willing to follow Jesus and experience Jesus’ presence. Demons have no trouble identifying Jesus and they are commanded into silence. Jesus will only be fully revealed by the power of God in the resurrection.
Prayer Prompt…Jesus I want to recognize you and your power. Open my eyes to see you in…
13 Jesus went up on a mountain and called those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve and called them apostles. He appointed them to be with him, to be sent out to preach, 15 and to have authority to throw out demons. 16 He appointed twelve: Peter, a name he gave Simon; 17 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, whom he nicknamed Boanerges, which means “sons of Thunder”; 18 and Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, Alphaeus’ son; Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
A new section of Mark’s gospel begins as the twelve disciples are chosen. They are named “Apostles” which simply means the “sent.” They are also named to “be with” Jesus. To be with Jesus and at the same time sent to do Jesus’ work in the world remains the key to following Jesus.
Prayer Prompt…Jesus draw me close to you and use me for your work. Send me to…
20 Jesus entered a house. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat. 21 When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”
22 The legal experts came down from Jerusalem. Over and over they charged, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul. He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”
23 When Jesus called them together he spoke to them in a parable: “How can Satan throw Satan out? 24 A kingdom involved in civil war will collapse. 25 And a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 26 If Satan rebels against himself and is divided, then he can’t endure. He’s done for. 27 No one gets into the house of a strong person and steals anything without first tying up the strong person. Only then can the house be burglarized. 28 I assure you that human beings will be forgiven for everything, for all sins and insults of every kind. 29 But whoever insults the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. That person is guilty of a sin with consequences that last forever.” 30 He said this because the legal experts were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”
Religious leaders continue to reject Jesus by creating theological arguments against his ministry. While they cannot deny his power and authority, they can suggest that its source is Satan rather than God. In fiery response Jesus warns against confusing the holy with evil. Such confusion and lack of discernment can lead to complete rejection of God. Confusing the holy with evil is a slippery slope that no believer should travel.
Prayer Prompt…Jesus give me clear eyes and a strong heart for what is good and holy. Don’t let me be confused as I seek the holy in….
31 His mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside and sent word to him, calling for him. 32 A crowd was seated around him, and those sent to him said, “Look, your mother, brothers, and sisters are outside looking for you.”
33 He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.”
The religious leaders aren’t the only ones who misunderstand Jesus’ power and authority. His own mother and siblings come to get him, thinking that he has gone mad. Jesus ignores their request and looks at the faithful gathered around him. Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. In one moment, Jesus redefines true family, and opens the possibility of a loving family to all.
Prayer Prompt…Jesus I want to do God’s will. I want to be your sister/ brother. Help me by…