Faithlife Sermons

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Introduction:
So far we have seen four conflicts between Jesus and the authorities
(in Mark the authorities are those in power - Scribes, Pharisees, Herod, Pilate - these are the authorities who often work together in Marks gospel)
The hostility of these authorities against Jesus has grown over the last few stories in Mark
They began their opposition when Jesus forgave the paralyzed man of his sins
They thought that this was blasphemous!
for only God can forgive sins
They then start trying to nit-pick everything Jesus and his disciples did
“why does he eat with sinners and tax collectors
“why doesn’t his disciples fast on the sabbath”
“why are they doing whats unlawful by plucking heads of grain on the sabbath”
In the first 4 conflicts Jesus responds with a witty proverbial saying -
Mark 2:
Mark 2:
in the 5th conflict Jesus asked them a question, and their silence actually angers Jesus and causes him to grieve
So far we have seen four conflicts between Jesus and the authorities
Have you ever had
(in Mark the authorities are those in power - Scribes, Pharisees, Herod, Pilate - these are the authorities who often work together in Marks gospel)
The hostility of these authorities against Jesus has grown over the last few stories in Mark
They began their opposition when Jesus forgave the paralyzed man of his sins
They thought that this was blasphemous!
for only God can forgive sins
They then start trying to nit-pick everything Jesus and his disciples did
“why does he eat with sinners and tax collectors
“why doesn’t his disciples fast on the sabbath”
“why are they doing whats unlawful by plucking heads of grain on the sabbath”
What were they going for?
Why did the Pharisees keep challenging Jesus?
You see for the authorities they wanted to discredit Jesus, show him to be a law breaker and therefore not truly of the Son of Man, or the true king
The religious authorities lived their lives thinking they were the spokesmen for God, they were the keepers of the religious gates, they were the ones that people went to know about God.
They exercised their authority over the people in abusive ways constantly trying to separate themselves from the common people, so they would be seen as holy, and righteous, and God fearing.
They created rules and laws in the name of God and lorded these rules and laws over the people - they were oppressive, they were enslaving, they were spiritually abusive.
So when Jesus comes and engages with normal people, when he would teach (a role for the rabbis and Pharisees), and eat with the people, and he would become a friend of the people they considered that a threat to their religious cast system they had instituted.
History
So we have Jesus and his disciples having finished their stroll through the wheat field where they were confronted by the religious leaders about fasting, and now are headed to the Synagogue for service on that same Sabbath day.
Again entered the synagogue
Again entered the synagogue
So far Mark has placed Jesus in a number of different geographical locations
Walking by the Sea of Galilee
In his house
In Peter’s house
In the wilderness
walking in the grain field
And now he is back at the Synagogue in Capernaum
The Synagogue (picture here)
Was primarily a place of worship, but it also functioned as the hub of the Jewish Ecosystem
introduce video
It was the community center
It was the community center
it was the school
Children and adults
It was the courtroom
It was the debate hall
It was the house of prayer
It was the treasury
It was where archives were stored
This is why the Synagogue was such an important place - most everything in the Jewish life was tied to the Synagogue
So as they walk into the Synagogue that night for Sabbath Worship Mark notes that there was a man their with a withered hand.
The Tension
It would have been normal for the man with the withered hand to be in the Synagogue because the Synagogue was also the place where priest would heal and cleanse people.
It would have been normal for the man with the withered hand to be in the Synagogue because the Synagogue was also the place where priest would heal and cleanse people.
To have a withered hand was to have a hand that did not work, it could have been a lack of muscle development, it could have been a disease that infect his hand… we are not sure
The word literally means his hand was dried up, it was rigid.
He was unable to move it and it was visibly noticeable.
Could you imagine this mans excitement!
He’s here in the presence of Jesus
Jesus had healed so many people already and maybe, on the night of the sabbath he will find healing!
I could image him just watching Jesus’ every move.
Mark included this story to show us a greater reality and he shows us the greater reality by showing us over and over the Pharisee’s opposition to Jesus
trying to get closer
Mark 3:
trying to meet eyes with Jesus
Maybe trying to get connect with one of the disciples as a way to Jesus
But this man was not the only one watching Jesus, look at verse 2
The Pharisees were watching Jesus for the same reason, but a very different purpose.
The Pharisee’s are more concerned about accusing Jesus then they are for this man’s healing.
The Pharisee’s have a very different agenda
The Pharisee’s have allowed their religious system to trump the greatest commandment “love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself”
These religious leaders have lost the heart of God in their religiosity and piety.
The Pharisee’s in fact have insidious intentions for Jesus
This is the fifth story in a row where the Pharisees are have antagonized Jesus, and Mark is building this tension for us and we see in this story the tension coming to a sort of climax.
In fact we see this tension reaching its boiling point in verse 6 where after Jesus heals the man they plot to destroy Jesus.
We have see how Jesus is the king, he is setting up his kingdom, and the response to this king ought to be allegiance.
Yet, we now have these men who claim to be followers of God, followers of the king, yet are planing to kill the king.
This is cosmic treason and they don’t even know it!
It was the corruption of their hearts that led them wanting to kill Jesus…
Look here at the corruption in verses 3-4
The Corruption
Jesus calls the man to himself and offers a sort of riddle to the Pharisee’s
Mark 3:
Can you imagine this picture?
Jesus standing before the Pharisees, calling the man with the withered hand to himself and asking the Pharisees, “is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?”
It is clear in Jewish tradition that it is ok to do good on the Sabbath
It is clear in their tradition that it is ok to save a life
Not to mention the OT scriptures that allow these good things to happen on the Sabbath.
Look at the elements in the story - you have the Synagogue, The Sabbath, and the Priesthood
The whole point of the Synagogue is to do good for people
The whole point of the Sabbath is to see people healthy and rested
The whole point of the Priesthood is to bring people to God
These are all good things that God intended to be a blessing for the people and means to bring glory to himself.
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