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Mark 3:5  (King James Version)
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<< Mark 3:4   Mark 3:6 >>


Mark 3:3-5

Mark 3:3-5 reinforces Jesus' attitude toward Sabbath activity. By Jesus' example, His reaction (anger, verse 5), and His words, God very clearly not only intends us to do good on the Sabbath, but also to fail to do good when the opportunity arises implies evil and killing!

Jesus does not appear to have gone out of His way to find people to heal on the Sabbath, but these were incidental occurrences as He went along His way. If a sick person came to His attention, He healed him. But someone unconcerned for the physical and spiritual salvation of others on the Sabbath is automatically involved to some degree in destructive efforts and attitudes, for failing to do good when we have opportunity is sin (Proverbs 3:27-28; James 4:17). God is preparing us to assist in the salvation of others, and it behooves us to begin thinking along these lines.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part Two): Christ's Attitude Toward the Sabbath



Mark 3:1-5

There is an obvious difference between Christ and the Pharisees on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were not there to worship God. Their questions were not asked out of loving concern. They were there as accusing authorities who wanted to judge Christ by their own regulations.

At the time, the Jews had been compiling for a number of years a code of regulations by which they hoped to make it virtually impossible for a person to sin. Eventually, there were 1,521 regulations just regarding keeping the Sabbath! These people did it in sincerity, a misdirected zeal. What happened is that they turned the observance of the day into a legalistic ritual rather than a loving service toward God and fellow man.

Consider the actions and words in Matthew 12 and in Mark 3. Is Christ doing away with the Sabbath observance, or is He restoring it to its original, divine value and function? Jesus helps us understand this by a principle He gives in Matthew 19:8. Referring to divorce and remarriage, Jesus says, "But from the beginning it was not so." So it is here. He is showing God's original intent for the Sabbath.

He is not saying, "You don't have to worry about breaking it," or, "I'm going to do away with this day in the future anyway, so it doesn't matter what we do." Instead, by what He says and does, He focuses attention on His own Sabbath activities: To relieve somebody of a burden, to deliver one from a withered hand. By these acts, we see that the Sabbath is a day of redemption, deliverance, freedom, and healing. It is a day to do kind acts. It is a day to help one's fellow man in some way and to relieve him of some burden, as much as lies within us.

Jesus' healing here was not done to a man whose life was in danger. He had a chronic problem, and it easily could have waited until the next day. He could have said, "Come back tomorrow." Instead, He purposely shows what the Sabbath is for. It is for healing—either physical or spiritual healing.

The man's chronic illness parallels us spiritually: We are chronically sinful! Jeremiah 17:9-10 says that the heart is incurably sick. The Sabbath, then, is a day given to free us from the chronic problems of human nature.

By Jesus' example—His reactions, His words—it becomes clear that God not only intends that "good" be done, but to fail to do good when the opportunity presents itself implies "evil" and "killing." If not, why was He angry? He was angry because the Pharisees were failing to do something to relieve this man of his burden. Instead, they were using him to provoke Jesus into what they considered as sinning so that they might accuse Him. Thus, the person who is not concerned for the physical and/or spiritual salvation of others on the Sabbath is automatically involved in destructive efforts and attitudes.

One of the Sabbath's uses is to prepare us to be used for the salvation of others. We are not in the position yet that Christ was. He was able, because of His closeness to God, because He was God in the flesh, because He had the Spirit of God without measure, to do things that we are unable to do. But the principle is there!

There are many such things—as opportunities present themselves—that we can do on the Sabbath. It is within our power to relieve other's burdens. It may only be giving someone encouragement or writing a letter or telephoning to let another know that he is cared for and thought of. It may be a little thing, but it is within our power to do things like this to help others along the way.

Consider the Sabbath command in Deuteronomy 5: The Sabbath was made to show compassion toward the weak and the defenseless. The command says that we are to give others who are under our authority the Sabbath day to rest. We relieve them—manservant, maidservant, even animals—of the burden of work. They, too, are to be given the opportunity to be relieved of a burden. They are physical. If they are worked constantly, they will wear out more quickly. And so it is wise to give them rest, is it not? It is to our benefit to give them the relief that they need. A similar command is given in Exodus 23:12:

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 2)



Mark 3:3-5

Jesus asks the man to do what had seemed impossible a moment before. At His command, the man places himself in full view of the synagogue's audience so that everyone present can witness it, and without even touching him, Jesus immediately heals him. When the man stretches out his hand for all to see, the crowd witnesses positive proof of Christ's power and holiness.

Despite the shame of his withered hand, the man still attends Sabbath services at the synagogue. He places a higher priority on worshipping God than on his personal discomfort. The principle illustrated here is that people should not use physical problems as an excuse for not going to church. A person should attend services when able.

The downside of missing services is that, eventually, spiritual problems with far more serious consequences will develop. No one can do much in service to God if he allows physical problems or handicaps to impede his worship and service of his Creator. In a sense, many of us suffer from withered hands. Sin so paralyzes us that we cannot serve God as we would like. Yet, anyone in God's church can be empowered to do the needed things for our Healer.

The real issue is faith. Jesus fulfills God's intention for the Sabbath day by restoring this man to health and strength. In answering Christ's call to step forward, the man shows what a little faith and obedience can do. This tests his courage and faith as he rises above his human fears. He entirely trusts Christ, and his healing is God's response.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Withered Hand (Part Two)



Mark 3:1-6

Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11) reveals that wherever we go and whatever we do, like Christ, we are "under surveillance." This should spur us to exercise added control over our conduct so we may be true witnesses of God's way of life and not give cause for others to blaspheme Him. Although neither Jesus nor the healed man present any cause for accusation against them, the Pharisees need no reason—they are poised to strike.

Eventually, the conniving religious leaders join hands with the political leaders, including the Herodians, and their hatred rises to a fever pitch of intended violence against Jesus. The Herodians, the party of Herod, answer to Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee who beheaded John the Baptist. His father was the Herod who, in an earlier attempt to kill the Christ, ordered the children of Bethlehem to be slain (Matthew 2:16-18).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Withered Hand (Part Two)



Mark 3:5

Consider why Christ became angry. In all four Gospels, all the epistles of Paul, in the entire New Testament, there is no record that our role model, Jesus Christ, ever once became angry because of what people did to Him. His anger arose because of hard-headedness, because of the rejection of the truth of God.

He became angry at another time, shown in John 2, when He found them selling things in the Temple. He turned the tables over and chased the animals out of the area. Even on this occasion, it was accounted by those who wrote the Bible as "zeal" not anger. He was angry because they turned the house of prayer into a place of merchandise.

He did not become angry because of what people said to Him, about Him, or did to or against Him. Yet we find in the church people becoming offended and angry over things that are insignificant to salvation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast



Mark 3:5

Mark records that Jesus, as He enters the synagogue, angrily gazes at the Pharisees in their sin of callousness toward human suffering. Having a full measure of the Holy Spirit, He can discern their evil hearts. With severe and stern indignation, He reacts to their hypocrisy and hardness of heart.

However, His is not a spiteful or revengeful reaction but intense sorrow at their state of mind. Mark phrases it as "being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." It is not hatred of men but anger at the sin they exhibited combined with the passionate sadness that not even His teaching, God's law, or any other means could overcome their confirmed wickedness.

This type of anger is not sin because it is controlled, without hatred, short-lived, and justified due to their defiance of God. Anger is lawful only when it is tempered with sorrow for those who have offended. Paul warns, "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Withered Hand (Part Two)



Mark 3:4-5

The man Christ healed is described as having a "withered hand." With professional accuracy, Luke alone tells us that it was his right hand, as ancient medical writers always noted whether the right or the left was affected. Since most people are right-handed, his right hand was especially important to him since he likely needed it to work. In addition, only the man's hand was withered or shriveled, not his whole arm, apparently the result of paralysis due to some accident or disease rather than a congenital deformity.

He was in the right place—where he should have been—on the Sabbath day. If he had stayed home that day, would he have had this wonderful opportunity to be healed? The same principle holds true regarding our own Sabbath attendance with others of God's church, when possible. If we fail to attend the commanded "holy convocation" on the Sabbath, we may miss out on the spiritual healing God provides through the inspired messages from His Word, as well as the encouragement of the brethren to press on in faith and obedience to God. As the author of Hebrews writes:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Withered Hand (Part One)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Mark 3:5:

Matthew 12:9-14
Matthew 12:9-14
Mark :
Luke :
Luke 14:1-6
Luke 14:1-6
John :

 

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