Summary: The opposition Jesus faced continued as He sought to reveal Himself as the Christ. Sadly they failed to see Him for who He really was. Many today deny and oppose the Gospel, but we must remain committed to share!
Hated for Healing
Mark 3: 1-6
Our text today, once again finds Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath. While there He performed a great miracle. Unfortunately, this marvelous act of grace is overshadowed by the suspicion and animosity of the Pharisees. Our studies in chapter two revealed the struggles Jesus faced, being confronted by the Pharisees on several occasions. These struggles continue as we move into chapter three.
While these confrontations began early in Jesus’ ministry, He would face them until He offered Himself upon the cross. The Son of God had come to earth as Redeemer and Savior of humanity, and yet He is continually forced to deal with the accusations and hindrances of those who opposed Him.
While it is never easy to face opposition, especially when you are doing what is right, there is comfort knowing Jesus endured the same difficulties. Hopefully our study today will offer insight to the struggles we face and renewed confidence in our Lord. I want to consider the challenges revealed as we think on: Hated for Healing.
I. The Dilemma Jesus Faced (1-2) – As Jesus entered the synagogue, He immediately encountered a dilemma. Actually this dilemma was two-fold. He encountered:
A. A Physical Infirmity (1) – And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. Among those within the synagogue that day was a man who had a withered hand. According to the Greek text, this man’s hand had been injured or become paralyzed, and he was unable to use it. No doubt this was of great concern for the man. Surely it hindered his ability to work and provide for himself and his family. Some traditions teach the man was a stone mason, one who used his hands for his livelihood. Clearly he stood in need of a touch from the Lord.
B. Much Spiritual Hypocrisy (2) – And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. The Pharisees were already aware of the presence of the man with the withered hand. As soon as Jesus entered the synagogue, they fixed their eyes on Him, watching every move He made, wanting to see if Jesus would perhaps heal this man on the Sabbath. There watchful eye was not out of concern or sympathy for the man, but seeking another occasion to accuse Jesus of breaking the Law by disregarding the Sabbath. The supposed “keepers of the spiritual gate” for men were not concerned with the needs of humanity, but seeking to discredit the Son of God. Their hearts were not focused on worship that day, but intense scrutiny to accuse Jesus. (We must guard our hearts as we seek to worship and serve the Lord. If we aren’t careful, we can allow hypocrisy and personal agendas to hinder our pursuit of Christ and labor for Him.)
II. The Determination Jesus Revealed (3-5) – Being well aware of the Pharisees and the hardness of their hearts, Jesus remained committed to fulfilling the Father’s plan. He refused to allow the opposition of some hinder His ministry. Notice:
A. His Compassion (3) – And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. Keep in mind, the Pharisees are watching Jesus’ every move. They are waiting with bated breath to see what He will do with the man. No doubt they believed Jesus would not ignore the man and his great need, and they were right. Upon seeing the man, Jesus commanded him to step forth in front of the crowd. Without saying anything else, the man immediately knew Jesus had recognized his need, and it appeared He was going to provide something for him.
Some may not have thought much of the need this man had, but I assure you it was very important to him. I am glad Jesus is aware of every need we have, no matter how big or small they may appear. He is interested in the seemingly insignificant burdens, and He has the ability to provide for us, regardless of the need.
B. His Discretion (4-5a) – And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. [5a] And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts. Before saying anything else to the man with the withered hand, or addressing his need, Jesus dealt with the Pharisees. Not only did He immediately recognize the need of the man, Jesus was also aware of the hard hearts of the Pharisees. He confronted their hypocrisy and lack of concern for the man. Once again He was forced to address the same accusations He previously faced regarding the disciples picking grain on the Sabbath. Jesus knew it was the Sabbath, and He also knew that God had not forbidden Him of doing good or healing on the Sabbath. As was usually the case, the Pharisees refused to respond.