Highlighting Mark: Good or Harm on the Sabbath



Gospel of Mark thus far…

Chapter 1: Proclamation of John the Baptist, Baptism of Jesus, Temptation, Beginning of Ministry, Calling of first disciples, Man with an unclean spirit, Jesus heals many, Preaching tour, Leper Cleansed

Chapter 2: Paralytic healed, Levi called, Questions about fasting, Sabbath Issues

Mark 3:2-5

“And they watched Jesus, to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”

Jesus was angry and we are told His heart grieved because those He was addressing were hard-hearted.  He answers His own question with action by healing the man with a withered hand.  Jesus did a good deed on the Sabbath.  He healed.  He restored (there is no accident on that word).  He did God’s will.  They called what Jesus did breaking the law of Israel.

The religious leaders sought to destroy the Sabbath.  They sought to undo the good that was to be the Sabbath.  They were missing the intent of the Sabbath.  What eternal principle is Jesus teaching about the Sabbath by His words and His actions?

The truth Jesus taught was that: “It is always good to work through love.”

These things are ‘harm’ on the Sabbath:

… to work self-sustaining in one’s own strength. 

… to preserve worldly aspirations

… to avoid the good and that which is loving

These actions defeat the purpose of the Sabbath Day.  The aim of not working on the Sabbath is to honor God who provides life and well-being. Jesus Christ lived that way on the Sabbath… and every day. The spirit (intent) of the Sabbath law was to understand by faith in God’s daily provision.  Even if we rest a day… He will provide.  Jesus teaches us what is good in Father Gods’ eyes which is to do good works through love!  We are to be about His business each day (and on the Sabbath).


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