(NOTE: This post is part of a blog series on the Gospel of Mark. I am sharing a few little tidbits from my own personal study of Mark over the last few months. Below are a few of my notes from Mark 3.)
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)
Notice that there is no mention of the man asking for healing. Jesus intentionally seeks him out on this Sabbath day. By healing this man in this fashion, Jesus wants to make an emphatic statement about what God values. People are always “the point.” When we elevate agendas, rules, or tasks over people, we are out of sync with the heart of God.
Back in April, I was browsing through a bookstore and found a book with an interesting-looking cover. The title was Prayer – 40 Days of Practice.
Because prayer has been a subject of great interest to me, I picked it up and began thumbing through it. I discovered that this was quite a unique book, indeed.
Each page includes a thoughtful one-sentence prayer with an accompanying illustration on the opposite page. The prayers are written by Justin McRoberts and the illustrations are created by Scott Erickson.
Somewhere along the Jordan River (probably just north of the Sea of Galilee), among a crowd of people Jesus is baptized by his famous cousin, John the Baptist. He emerges from the water and begins to pray.
And as he was praying, heaven was opened22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
Notice to whom this statement is directed. It is not spoken to John or to the crowd. The statement is addressed to Jesus. It is spoken primarily for his benefit.
It is vitally important to understand that this event occurred at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. At this point he hasn’t yet preached a single sermon. He hasn’t yet healed a sick person. He hasn’t yet driven out a single demon. He hasn’t yet performed a single miracle. There has been no public ministry performed whatsoever.
And yet the Father gives him this amazing affirmation. “You are my Son. Whom I love. With you I am well pleased.”