Mark 2:23-3:19 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus Calls The Twelve Apostles
Comments for Study 4

Mark 2:23-3:19
Memory Verse: 13-14a


I. Jesus Heals a Man With A Shriveled Hand (1-6)

>1. In 2:23-28, what had been the Pharisees' criticism of Jesus?

* "One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." -Mark 2:23-28

* "One Sabbath" -this is another time (event) than the previous event. Thus Mark is not directly observing sequential time. Mark is looking at the teaching about the Sabbath and the Pharisee's interaction with Jesus more than an accurate time sequence.

* "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" -they concluded that picking grains and rubbing them in their hands was harvesting. According to rules that they made harvesting on the Sabbath is unlawful.

* The Pharisees didn't understand how hungry the disciples were. Or worse yet they knew the disciples were hungry, but didn't do anything to help. They also didn't understand the spirit of the law. Jesus tried to teach them the spirit of the law. He was compassionate to those who were critical.

* At one point in Jewish history the Pharisees movement was good. They wanted to overcome the Gentile ungodly influence they experienced before and during the exile. So they sought to live pure and holy lives. However as time went on they lost the spirit of the law. They became legalistic and ridged in their thinking and heart. Soon the law was considered more important than God. They worshiped the law not God.

* The disciples were to busy to pack a lunch.

* Sabbath Law is in Exodus 20:8-11, 31:12-18, 35:1-3, Lev. 23:3, and Duet. 5:12-15.

* Deuteronomy 23:25 says taking food like this was legal to do. It was the Biblical version of food stamps in America today.

* Boaz left more than what was normal for the poor, such as Ruth and Naombie.

>In verse 3:1, what did Jesus do?

* "Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. -Mark 3:1

* "Another time he went into the synagogue" -Jesus went into the synagogues many times during most of his ministry in spite of the confrontations with the Pharisees for he wanted men to be saved even the Pharisees. He often said that he was sent to the Israel.

* "synagogue" -This must have been early in Jesus' ministry. A synagogue is established when ten or more Jewish men live in a area. Later he didn't go to the synagogue because he stayed in rural areas because the Jewish leaders (i.e. Pharisees and Sadducees) were looking for a way to kill him.

>What day was it?

* "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." -Mark 3:2

* The Lord God, through Moses told the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day holy. This law was one of the ten commandments. The ten commandments and later writings of Moses did not give specific directions on how to keep it holy. The only thing stated is to not work on the Sabbath; not even making food and a fire.

>What must have been his reason for going to the synagogue?

* Jesus was a Jew. Jews went to the synagogue in order to keep the Sabbath holy. Synagogues were started after the Jewish exile to Babylon. The intent was to help people understand and obey the word of God. Jesus' customary act on the Sabbath was to teach in a synagogue. He taught about the whole Old Testament. The early church meet in synagogues. Most early Christians were Jews and the apostles meet there teaching that Jesus was the Messiah. Eventually the believers in Jesus were cast out of the synagogues by the Pharisees and Jewish leadership. The cast out Christians started their own synagogues. Eventually they were called churches. Note: synagogue, congregation, and church are the same Greek word in the New Testament.

* Jesus didn't avoid the Pharisees nor the problem that arose because of them. Rather he confronted them and it.

>2. Who did Jesus find there?

* "a man with a shriveled hand" -thus he couldn't work. He was probably poor.

* The man was in the synagogue because he had faith, or because he wanted to know the truth (from Jesus), or because he wanted to be healed, or because the Pharisees brought him. Most likely he came because he was a seeker of the truth.

>What do you think it meant to that man to have a shriveled hand?

* He might have believed that God had punished him because he had sinned. This is a common conclusion of man. Even the disciples believed that handicap are the result of some sin by them or their parents. (John 9:2)

* He had a hard time getting a job to support his family (if he had one).

* He would hide his hand out of shame. An example would be the actor who played "Radar" on MASH. He had no thumb and never let it be shown on the camera.

* It was ugly and abnormal.

* This handicap probably happened in the course of his life.

>Who were the people in verse 2?

* "Some of them"-links this with the previous sections "the Pharisees".

* They stayed with Jesus to spy on him like the leaders in Jerusalem spied on John the Baptist. In theory they were to stop someone who spoke heresy. In reality they made sure no one undermined their authority. Today Christian organizations have similar groups and some of them are no better than the Pharisees sent to monitor Jesus.

>What were they looking for?

* "were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus" -they had a clear objective whenever Jesus was around. They were in agreement about Jesus because they must have talked about him in secret. In essence they gossiped about Jesus; that is, they said bad things about him without giving him a chance to defend himself.

* "so they watched him closely" -they were like hawks looking to swoop down on its prey.

* "to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath" -they knew Jesus was inclined to heal on the Sabbath. They knew of his passion. They knew of his power and that the power was from God as Nicodemus said (John 3). They knew that they didn't have that power and had little inkling to help someone. Still they rejected Jesus.

>3. In verse 3, what did Jesus do?

* "Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone." -Mark 3:3

* "Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand" -Jesus addressed him as a person.

* "in front of everyone" -He must have been in the back of the room, or Jesus was calling him to stand up with him where he was speaking. The speaker stood in full view of everyone in the front of a synagogue, much like churches today.

>Why do you think he had this man stand up in front of them all?

* So that everyone could see the man's shriveled hand and what he (Jesus) was going to do about it. So all would see him be healed miraculously. Not only that Jesus was going to teach. Jesus said this for the man's sake and for the Pharisee's sake.

* The Pharisees used (abused) the man while Jesus used (helped) the man to display God's goodness, love, and mercy to all people no matter what day it is.

* To overcome his shyness because of his shriveled hand.

* To confront the wrong idea of the Sabbath held by the Pharisees.

* It took faith for the man to come forward. Faith is what Jesus helped people have.

>What does this reveal about Jesus?

* Jesus wants the truth to be taught, even to the Pharisees.

* Jesus had a "by any means" attitude.

>What question did Jesus ask them? (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." -Mark 3:4

>What was Jesus trying to teach them about the spirit of the law?

* It was concerning God's will and not just a requirement.

* The Sabbath was to help man out not to restrict man.

* John 4:24

* He wanted them to see the law and the man from God's point of view. He wanted them to repent.

* They lost sight that the law, that it was to be for good not evil.

* "lawful" -The Pharisees considered themselves experts in the law.

* "them" -the Pharisees. Jesus directed him question to them. Everyone must have felt the tension.

* "They remained silent" -In the past whenever Jesus asked them questions they had learned to their own detriment that Jesus was always right. They remained silent out of pride.

>4. When they remained silent, how did Jesus feel?

* Mark 3:5 "He 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."

* "He looked around at them" -waiting for a response. He could see their hearts.

* "in anger" -Righteous anger. He gave them a chance to speak up for themselves.

* "and, deeply distressed" -He loved them. He wanted them to repent. He wanted them to do and think what is right.

>Why was he so angry and distressed?

* "at their stubborn hearts" -They were suppose to be spiritual leaders. They were suppose to help people come to God. They were suppose to love God and others. But they would not speak up for righteousness even if it meant the healing of another and teaching truth.

* They were so proud that even though they knew what was right they would not reveal it.

* They would not admit that they were wrong.

* God gets angry at stubborn refusals.

* Not answering the question endangered God's people.

>What did he do to help the man? (5)

* "said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored." -Mark 3:5

* "stretch out your hand" -Seems to indicate he was hiding it.

>What does this show about Jesus?

* He wanted to show them what was right.

* Jesus had a shepherd heart to both the man and the Pharisees.

* Jesus is the Son of God and Lord of the Sabbath. (2:27-28)

* Jesus is full of hope.

* Sin and rebellion didn't stop Jesus.

* Jesus took the great risk in healing the man.

>5. Why might it have been hard for this man to obey Jesus there?

* One with a defect wants to hide it.

* Afraid of the Jews.

* He was ashamed.

* We need to bring our problems out.

* Jesus had not given the man a clear sign that he was going to heal him. Although he must have been like everyone else and heard of all the healing that Jesus was doing.

>When he obeyed, what happened? (5)

* Mark 3:5 "He 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."

>What can we learn from this man?

* To obey Jesus no matter; 1) what people think, 2) how it makes us look.

* Have faith. Trusting in Jesus' healing power. He may not heal everyone all the time, but we still have to have faith.

* Overcome human thinking. Think and believe in what God can do.

* Overcome fatalistic element of life by faith.

* Obeying Jesus is a blessing.

* Jesus wants us to reveal our "shriveled hand" publically so he can heal it.

* Mark 3:6 "Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus."

* "Then" -Their reaction was a response to Jesus' healing the man on the Sabbath. When we do good works in the name of God we can be assured that the evil one and his people will seek us harm. However, we can hold onto Jesus' promise that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

* "Herodians" -Herod was the political ruler of the area acting on Rome's behalf. He had troups and guards that consisted mostly of Gentiles. The Herodians were a group of Jews who were interested in political gain and worked to keep Herod in power.

>6. When Jesus and his disciples withdrew, what happened? (6-7)

* "Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When 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. -Mark 3:7-8

* "Jesus withdrew with his disciples"-they take a rest from the conflict area for the sake of the crowd.

* "to the lake"-Sea of Galilee

* "a large crowd...followed"-Jesus' popularity in response mostly to his healings made him very popular. The masses of people would be similar to crowds around modern movie, sports or music stars. They are guarded. Jesus was not.

>Where did the people come from? (8) If possible, see a map.)

* "When 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." -Mark 3:8

* The areas mentions are all the surrounding areas, even Gentile areas.

* "Jerusalem" -Jerusalem is only city mentioned here, Why? Because The Word fo God was supposed to be taught there.

* "Idumea" -A person travelling by foot can travel about 25 miles a day. Idumea would have taken about four days of travel. People today make a big deal about travelling to a church by car.

>Describe the crowds. (9-12)

* "Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was." -Mark 3:9-12

* "crowding him... pushing forward" -Jesus was physically threatened by the weight of the crowd pushing against him and forcing themselves on him.

* Demon possessed people cried out.

* A lot of sick people reached out to him to be healed.

* All different kinds of people.

* Some came to hear his words.

>What does this reveal about the people and about the time?

* They needed religious leaders with a shepherd's loving heart, but had none. There was no shepherds for many miles around.

* Jesus didn't want evil spirits to speak his name because he wanted people to believe in him through faith. He also wanted order and peace so he could speak to the people and help them.

* Very little of God's truth (words) was taught.

* Thirsty people.

* Pharisees took care of the good and easy sheep, but not those who needed a lot of help and were far off from God.

* When people are down and out they are really thirsty for God's love and car. Example: The broken republics of the old Soviet Union in 1990-1992 asked for religious organizations to send people into their countries.

II. Jesus Appoints the Twelve Apostles (13-35)

>7. When Jesus saw the desperate situation of the times, what did he do? (13, 14)

* "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach -Mark 3:13-14

* Jesus didn't raise the Pharisees, learned men, because they were fixed in their ways.

* "mountainside" -Luke 6:12, to pray (Mark 13:32)

* Raised leaders

* Perhaps Jesus needed to know what to do in the situation so he came to God in prayer.

* They came to him (13).

>Who were the twelve he appointed? (16-19)

* "These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. -Mark 3:16-19

* "called" -Jesus wanted them (13).

>What kind of people were they?

* Leadership material.

* Similarities:
    teachable/trainable/learning mind - Jesus called them new wineskins
    no demon possessed
    seeking truth
    had been with Jesus faithfully till now
    all Galileans except Judas Iscariot
    most were fisherman
    we think all had jobs. They were not bums

* Differences:
    types of jobs
    social positions

>What do you know about each one?

* Simon -means "sand", put his foot in his mouth often, proud, compulsive, courageous

* James and John -outgoing and wanted power

* John -thoughtful

* James -solid character

* Andrew -man of faith, quiet, looked vague

* Philip -brought Nathaniel, couldn't feed crowd, brought Greeks, calculative

* Bathaolomew -unclear, maybe Nathaniel, loved people, mystic, saw visions

* Matthew -Levi the tax collector, immoral, shifty. known as the son of Alpheas.

* Thomas -the doubter, pessimistic

* James son of Alphaeus -there to eat

* Thaddaes -presents didn't seem to matter much

* Simon the Zealot -full of zeal for Israel

* Judas Iscariot -was a devil, "Iscariot" means sword.

>What can you learn from Jesus' calling such men?

* "might" -He had faith that God the Father would raise them in the future inspit of how they were when he called them.

* He wanted "new wine skins".

* Different kinds of people for different kinds of people.

* 12 tribes. Jesus said they would later, during the Millennium, judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

* Jesus didn't get carried away by the Jews nor the crowds

* Jesus had hope.

>8. Why did Jesus designate them "apostles"?

* He appointed them.

* "apostles" -means sent, designated, set apart, given title

* Trained them in a personal way.

* Jesus taught these men different than the groups or other individuals.

* Jesus had a new level of ministry.

>In verses 14 and 15, we learn three discipleship training objectives. What were they?

* "He appointed twelve" -designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. -Mark 3:14-15

* "to be with him" -Bible study for us and practical training. They would also help him in his ministry. Later he would send the out two by two.

* "sent them to teach and preach" -salvation

* "authority over demons" -us too. Be spiritual (fast and pray) and have faith.

* When we are saved Jesus possesses us.

>What does it mean, "that they might be with him"?

* "that they might be with him" -common life to learn from his ministry and learn directly from him.