Sundays on Mark (5)

Continuing our series of simple reflections on the Gospel of Mark:

Mark 3: 1-12

We continue to get an edited chronology from Mark. This is another Sabbath conflict. It is fascinating (and deeply realistic to life) as to how Jesus, upon whom the Spirit has descended and whose ministry begins with healings and power, immediately faces conflict, accusation, opposition and suspicion. Having the Spirit does not mean an easy ride – indeed it seems to be the opposite. Doing good by healing the man with the shrivelled hand does not provoke warmth and enthusiasm but a plot of assassination. The reason is ultimately a rejection of the work of the Spirit in Jesus. God is not supposed to break the rules this way, even if it is an act of mercy and love. Jesus is angry at how their distorted view of God leads to distorted attitudes to human need.

Contrast this attitude with the massive enthusiasm of the crowds gathering from a very wide geographical region as the word about Jesus spreads.  The good news of the kingdom is authenticated with healings and welcome for the ordinary people by God’s annointed servant, the Messiah.

Prayer: Lord, God, we rejoice that you are a God of comfort, healing and mercy who embraces the humble and rejects the proud. Amen.

1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

7Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

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