Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Mark - Chapter 03 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. The next time that Jesus went into the meeting place, a man with a crippled hand was there.
    2. The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they kept watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath.
    3. Jesus told the man to stand up where everyone could see him.
    4. Then he asked, "On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it?" But no one said a word.
    5. Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did, and his bad hand was healed.
    6. The Pharisees left. And right away they started making plans with Herod's followers to kill Jesus.
    7. Jesus led his disciples down to the shore of the lake. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea,
    8. and Jerusalem. People came from Idumea, as well as other places east of the Jordan River. They also came from the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All of these crowds came because they had heard what Jesus was doing.
    9. He even had to tell his disciples to get a boat ready to keep him from being crushed by the crowds.
    10. After Jesus had healed many people, the other sick people begged him to let them touch him.
    11. And whenever any evil spirits saw Jesus, they would fall to the ground and shout, "You are the Son of God!"
    12. But Jesus warned the spirits not to tell who he was.
    13. Jesus decided to ask some of his disciples to go up on a mountain with him, and they went.
    14. Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach
    15. and to force out demons.
    16. Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter.
    17. There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means "Thunderbolts."
    18. Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One,
    19. and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.
    20. Jesus went back home, and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat.
    21. When Jesus' family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.
    22. Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, "This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul."
    23. Jesus told the people to gather around him. Then he spoke to them in riddles and said: How can Satan force himself out?
    24. A nation whose people fight each other won't last very long.
    25. And a family that fights won't last long either.
    26. So if Satan fights against himself, that will be the end of him.
    27. How can anyone break into the house of a strong man and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.
    28. I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are.
    29. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.
    30. Jesus said this because the people were saying that he had an evil spirit in him.
    31. Jesus' mother and brothers came and stood outside. Then they sent someone with a message for him to come out to them.
    32. The crowd that was sitting around Jesus told him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside and want to see you."
    33. Jesus asked, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"
    34. Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers.
    35. Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother."

Mark - Chapter 03

Entered: July 14, 2005
In these chapters we see the opposition of the Pharisees to Jesus. First they become upset over His healing on the Sabbath, even plotting how they might destroy him, and then they attribute His miracles to Satan. This later earned the sternest of rebukes from Jesus, saying that it is a sin that never has forgiveness. In talking with His newly appointed disciples about His use of parables, He explained that He used them so that people may look and not perceive. I'm not sure I understand this, but my thought is that our understanding of the things of God are not to be handed to us in simple explanations but are to be pursued through a relationship with Him. This is why those who stand off from God don't get it when they consider His teachings and the things He does. We are also given an understanding of the kingdom of God by comparing it to sowing seed. Once the seed has produced its crop the sower doesn't know how it has happened, for he merely planted it and then left it to grow. I suspect there is a great lesson here for those of us particularly who are in church work. We plot and strategize and go to seminars so we can grow the kingdom, but Jesus says our job is to plant the seed. The rest is beyond us. Chapter 4 closes with a strong clue about who Jesus is. It is one thing to heal people's ailments and cast out demons, but altogether another thing to command nature.

Entered: January 19, 2010

The minds of the religious leaders were made up concerning Jesus. At this point it would make no difference what He did or what evidence God might provide them, they were on the offensive, not to find evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but to find evidence by which they could kill Him. What evidence was required for this purpose? Evidence that would warrant capital punishment by the Mosaic law. The first attempt given in this chapter to find such a charge was Jesus' healing on the Sabbath. However, in this case Jesus thwarted their effort to bring a charge against Him by posing a question to them that could only be answered in His favor. "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil?" This was not a debatable question, and the only possible answer to the question, that it was lawful to do good, allowed Jesus to heal the man with a paralyzed hand without accusation by the leaders of the synagogue. But their failure to use this occasion to bring a charge against Jesus heightened their resolve and so they plotted for a better offensive plan.

In contrast to the plotting of the religious leaders was the intense following of the crowds of people. No doubt it was this following that intensified the efforts of the leaders to charge Jesus. Jesus' following was growing to such a rate that it posed a threat to the religious establishment. Though the efforts of the leaders to "destroy" Jesus may appear less than noble to us, they likely found nobility in them by reasoning that they were defending God's cause. Should we find ourselves caught up in such reasoning, feeling we must defend God and that we have just cause to go on the offensive against His enemies, a good indicator of the right or wrong of our cause can be the offensive methods that we try to use. If we find ourselves using intrique and dishonesty and murder to promote our cause, we have reason to question our cause.

Later in the chapter the scribes from Jerusalem came on the scene. Possibly the plotting of the leaders of the Capernaum synagogue led to a request for help from Jerusalem. Their first effort was to discredit Jesus by claiming His power to heal came, not from God, but from Satan. But this charge placed them on dangerous ground. They would like nothing better than to find reason to accuse Jesus of blaspheming God, but it was they who were blasphemous by crediting God's work of exorcism to Satan. Jesus pointed out their error to His followers by asking, "How can Satan drive out Satan?" He went on to point out the dangerous ground on which the scribes stood with such a charge by saying that "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness."