READ: Mark 3
BACKGROUND: This chapter covers some of the early days of Jesus’ ministry and the stir that his power and authority over demons made among the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day.
2 – It wasn’t illegal according to the Old Testament to heal someone on the Sabbath. But the Pharisees had added thousands of their own little laws to God’s law and they said nobody should practice medicine of any kind on the Sabbath unless death was on the line.
4 – Jesus is cleverly saying that to be able to do good but choose not to do it is evil. Not to heal this man would have been evil.
12 – Not because he didn’t want people to know. Simply because it wasn’t the right time yet.
25 – This verse was famously quoted by Abraham Lincoln in 1858.
29 – This is, attributing the work of God to the Devil.
THINK: I am not what you would call a particularly handy individual. (I’m sure this comes as an absolute shock to those of you who know me well.) And frankly, my dad isn’t a very handy individual either. So, it’s really a generational thing, and I will undoubtedly pass it down to Jimmy because I’m not exactly making a lot of progress in the handiness arena. Being unhandy (I’m not sure that’s a word, but I’m going with it) means that you have to work your way through life feeling generally clueless about home and automotive repairs and usually hire someone else to do it for you…unless you totally luck out and have a friend who is handy in that particular area and will work for pizza.
Thankfully, over the course of my life I’ve had many such friends. I’m truly grateful for all the favors people have done me and also for the fact that I usually got to eat pizza when they were done (because, of course, I really love pizza and Jenny can’t say “no” to it if it’s payment for a friend). But I remember one incident, specifically, that was a little different than the rest. In college the brakes on my car were squeaking and I needed them replaced. I was going to go to the auto-shop one day when my friend Nik stopped me and said he’d help me do it. I thought, “Awesome, that will save me some cash!” So I went to AutoZone and picked up all the parts Nik told me to get and then came back to our house.
When we went outside to change the brakes, though, something abnormal (at least in my experience) happened. Instead of changing my brakes for me, Nik told me that I should do the work while he walked me through it and explained it to me. So, instead of standing around and then buying pizza I actually got in there and did the work myself while he showed me how. This, needless to say, was a profoundly different experience than watching or having someone else do it. I actually learned how to change brakes. I learned how to do what Nik could do by listening to him and then doing it. And I learned it well enough to do it on my own without him walking me through it. To this day, though I couldn’t identify the difference between my oil pan and my engine block, the single, solitary handy thing I can do is change brake pads.
This type of modeling and instructing is what Jesus did with his disciples. He called them to follow him, to observe him, and to listen to his teaching, so that eventually they could go out into the world and do what he did. He equipped them, and then he sent them out. And Jesus is still calling disciples to himself today! He’s calling us to listen and to learn from him and then to go out into our broken and desperate world to be his hands and feet, to do what he would do.
ASK: What does it mean in my life to be a disciple of Jesus? Am I living like I’m dependent on him, and living as his hands and feet in my world…or am I not?