Daily Spirit & Word: 666:
Religious People Want To Kill Jesus.
Opposition to Jesus is Growing Today.
Good morning my friends, it’s frightful that there are such striking similarities between attitudes towards Jesus and the Christian faith in His time and our own. We’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, it’s remarkable how much the opposition to Jesus is growing, and today we’ll discover how the plot thickens to such a boiling point that they want to kill the Lord Jesus: To murder Him. Also, there are growing hostilities towards Christians and Christianity in the world today.
Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there.
2 Some 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.
3 Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then 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.
5 He looked round 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.
6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
The Place: It’s a synagogue.
The Temple in Jerusalem was not the only place that Jewish people gathered and worshipped the LORD. Because it was impractical to get to the Temple every week from all over the Land, Synagogues (Places of worship) were established to encourage devotion to God and instruct the Jews in the understanding of the Scriptures.
Note: Mark doesn’t tell us anything about what they did in the Synagogue that day, but by saying Synagogue, we know what they will have been doing; Praying, reading from the Jewish Scriptures, Study and sometimes a Rabbi would do some teaching / instruction. It was considered a Holy Place because of the worship of the LORD. It was also a meeting place for the Jewish Community.
The Man With The Shrivelled Hand.
Mark Immediately brings our attention to the subject: The Man with the Shrivelled hand and the fact that the Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus of being a Sabbath Breaker.
Why? Why were they looking to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath? By now the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a man of great compassion for people. He’d been healing many people of all kinds of diseases. Perhaps they even planted the man in the Congregation that day. (They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus).
They watched Him closely… This reveals to us their attitude towards Jesus ministry, that they were very intent of finding a reason to get rid of him. However, we need to understand why there was this growing tension.
You’ve probably heard the expression; “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, well, these Jewish religious leaders had also been scorned, they’d been upset by Jesus actions, teaching and public correction.
Some Background: (Shows us WHY they wanted to get rid of Jesus).
- Remember that Jesus said He had come for “Sinners” not the righteous. Mark 2:17.
- Remember that Jesus didn’t KEEP their RULES. Mark 2:18, 23.
- Remember that Jesus had shown them they were wrong; from their own Holy Book: The Scriptures. Their understanding of their own religion was wrong. Mark 2:19-22, 25, 26.
- Remember that Jesus even dared to say; That HE was LORD of the Sabbath. Mark 2:28.
It’s NO WONDER: It’s not a surprise to us now that they were opposed to Jesus, so the Pharisees began looking for a good reason to ACCUSE Him. A way to bring righteous judgement upon Jesus own head so that they could get rid of this upstart, this troublemaker.
MOST PEOPLE TODAY: The Attitude of People Today.
Most people today don’t hate Jesus nor are they opposed to Him the way that the religious Jews were in this account from Mark. The vast majority who know history and a little bit of the Bible think that Jesus was a very good man, Muslims believe Jesus was a Prophet, but they don’t hate Him. Most people today, know about Jesus teachings, but they just choose not to follow Him or His teachings. It’s as if Jesus is irrelevant to modern day life for most people. However that indifferent attitude changes once people really understand the implications of Jesus teaching and ministry even today.
The truth is: If we really UNDERSTAND Jesus we will either; love Him or hate Him.
- We will LOVE Him; because He came into this world to be our Saviour: Who saves us as sinners from God’s wrath and judgement and condemnation to Hell.
- Or we will HATE Him: because He reveals our sinful condition and that we a guilty before God.
RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: The Pharisees of Jesus Time:
We must also remember, it was in a Synagogue: This was a Holy Place, these people were very religious. However, it also shows us (perhaps as a warning today) that it’s possible to be “very religious” and yet be far away from God.
John the Baptist called these Pharisees; Hypocrites (they didn’t live like they should) and “A brood of vipers” (A viper is a poisonous snake) and “Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones” (Looking pure, clean and good on the outside, but inside they are DEAD). That’s what the Bible reveals about these ‘religious’ Pharisees: But today we’re going to see that they were also Treacherous and Deadly.
HEALING ON THE SABBATH:
They were watching to see if Jesus would HEAL on the SABBATH.
Is it WRONG to heal on the Sabbath day?
According to the Pharisees it was considered WORK.
According to Jesus: It was an opportunity to show COMPASSION. (Verse 4, )
As we discovered last week: it is WRONG to WORK on the Sabbath: However, is doing GOOD deeds for others what God would consider WORK?
Think About It: Exodus 35:2 (NIV) “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”
God has said that we can work in our regular employment for SIX DAYS a WEEK: But the seventh day is to be a day of rest from our LABOURS and a Day to Honour Him….i.e. It’s our NORMAL EMPLOYMENT, our work activity that we’re to rest from.
Remember what Jesus said about the Sabbath: “The Sabbath was made for man (for man’s benefit), not man for the Sabbath”.
Then we come to Jesus ‘Healing on the Sabbath’. Get this and you’ll get real REVELATION.
THE MAN WITH THE SHRIVELLED HAND.
Note: In those days, there was no welfare state, no disability allowances. If a man had a shrivelled hand, his employment was limited. You can’t use a powerless, useless hand to do anything. He was crippled. No wonder Jesus had compassion upon him. That’s what God is like my friends, He sees our NEED and longs to do something about it. Either through other people, you and me or through a miracle.
These were people who supported King Herod: Herod was a vassal Jesus King, a Supporter of Rome. Normally the Pharisees and Herodians hated each other, but now they were joining together in a plot to kill Jesus.
HARD HEARTED PHARISEES:
This section of the Bible is really SAD: Because it shows that we can be very religious and devoted in our religion, but become so hard-hearted that we begin to loose our compassion for people.
- Every time we see a person in need; it’s God’s appointment to do something good.
- Every time we see a person with trouble; God’s bringing them to our attention, to be His hands, His voice, His presence for them.
The Pharisees; they looked at this man with a shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do wrong.
The Lord Jesus: viewed the man with the shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do something good; to show compassion, care, love, concern, sympathy. He healed him on the Sabbath (God is ALWAYS willing to do us good, every day).
What does Mark 3:1-6 show us today?
- In Jesus we observe a willingness to care;
- That God cares, is interested in the minute of our daily lives.
- That God Heals and does ‘good’ every single day. He doesn’t consider doing ‘good’ for others work, but a Joy and a Delight.
- It also shows us how much we should be concerned for our fellow-man; to have fellow feelings. To show and demonstrate LOVE by doing good whenever we can, even on the Sabbath or Holy Day.
- It also reveals that Jesus Christ considers Healing and Doing Good a joy and delight rather than WORK.
- Opposition towards Jesus grew the more good that He did; don’t be surprised when you are doing good and the world hates you all the more for it.
Jesus Anger and Distress:
The Verse That Gets Me Today: Jesus feelings revealed:
Mark 3:5 “He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”
They would not answer Jesus. He asked them a question and they refused to answer.
“Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath day, to do good or evil, to save life or to kill?” It’s OBVIOUS! The Answer was so obvious, but they remained silent.
My friends, that attitude got Jesus Christ very ANGRY indeed.
Not only angry, but deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the receiving end of Jesus’ anger or wrath or to make Him distressed at my stubborn heart. I want to be able to shout out in response to Jesus question; “Oh LORD Jesus, let me be one of your followers today who’ll answer loudly; “To do good and to save life”…. Amen!
It also shows us that it’s possible to be very religious and remain Hard-Hearted and Stubborn. Religious but closed-off towards God.
They were NOT willing to learn from Jesus Christ; they remained STUBBORN HEARTED. He challenged their positions of power, but He also challenged their attitudes to other people in many different ways; the sinners, the outcasts, the sick, the poor, the lame; Jesus was always willing to; CARE, to TOUCH the Untouchables, to have compassion and to DO GOOD. Are we?
We too, like Jesus may become angry and distressed at the stubborn unbelief of people in the world. Also there is growing opposition and tension between Christians and the world under Satan’s blindness. Christians and Christianity are the least tolerated group of people in the world today. It seems to be OK to blaspheme Jesus on TV, Movies and even mainstream media, but not the faith of Islam, Hinduism etc… Have you ever asked yourself why that is? This attitude of indifference, unbelief and hostility will only get worse as time draws ever closer to the return of Jesus in glory. But don’t stay angry too long, get the big picture, the LORD is in control, He’s coming soon.
So what should our attitude be like?
Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath Day, but instead of rejoicing and giving thanks to God for a miracle, the opposition increased. To such a point that they eventually took the life of the most Holy man to walk the Earth; the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified.
When you focus upon the Son of God, and determine in your heart to live His way, then He seems to have a way of drying your tears and easing your fears. He makes your burdens lighter and your pathway brighter. When you decide to honour the King of Kings, He will supply all your needs. When you love Jesus, then your fear melts away as fast as the snow did in London yesterday. Amen.
Finally: One Day EVERYBODY will have to face this Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:7-8 (NIV “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
These Pharisees and the Herodians with the Romans and Jews eventually succeeded in their plotting and managed to KILL Jesus Christ on the Cross. However; Praise the LORD: He is ALIVE today, because the grave couldn’t keep Him.
Every EYE: will see Him. Those who pierced Him: The Pharisees, The Herodians, The Romans, The Jews, You and Me: We’ll all see Jesus one day. On that day; we’ll either be rejoicing because we’ve turned in repentance and faith or we’ll “mourn because of Him”… But on that Day: Every knee will bow before Him.
Let’s make certain we’re in that number who’ll be rejoicing and not mourning on the Day that Jesus comes. Amen!
- Have Compassion of Jesus every day.
- Remember He still cares for you.
- Respond to Jesus teaching.
- Repent from your sins and hardness of heart today.
- Receive Him as your LORD.
Let us pray:
Hope you all have a wonderful week full of the JOY of the LORD Jesus Christ.
Don’t get too perplexed at the opposition towards Christianity, it’s pre-ordained and will grow as the time draws for Jesus return in glory. Remain steadfast and fix your eyes on Jesus. Live joyfully in His abundant life and look forward to being with Him forever. Amen.