September 17, 2014
READ: Mark 3:1-6
Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him (v.4).
My wife rarely gets angry, and in that way she’s my complete opposite. But that also means that when she does get mad, I pay very close attention because only something significant gets her worked up.
In Mark 3 something similar took place. Jesus wasn’t simply annoyed with the Pharisees; He was enraged and grieved. His reaction wasn’t something that we find very often in the Gospels, so why was He so angry? (v.5).
There are a few reasons, but one of them is simply that the Pharisees used the Word as a weapon instead of a blessing. Technically the Pharisees weren’t wrong in challenging Jesus, because breaking the Sabbath was a capital crime as prescribed in the Old Testament (Exodus 31:12-17). It’s likely that they felt they were being faithful to the letter of the law (Mark 3:4). But they completely misrepresented the spirit of it, for the law of the Sabbath wasn’t given to Israel to be used to trap others, but to bless them.
As Jesus taught in Mark 2:27, the Sabbath was made for us, and not the other way around. But the Pharisees had no desire to instruct Him or prevent Him from making a terrible mistake. No, their only goal was to see if Jesus would violate the law to aid them in their agenda (3:2). To them, Scripture was a tool to wield for punishment, not blessing. And this mentality angered Jesus.
I often have to remind myself of this truth: God’s Word isn’t here to punish me or put me in my place, but to instruct and bless me! To think anything else grieves Jesus. Having the right perspective has transformed my approach to Scripture. I no longer view it as something I should be frightened of. Instead, it’s something that I rejoice in and treasure!
365-day plan› John 15:17-16:4
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 to see the purposes of Scripture that Paul lifts up.
Do you ever view Scripture as a weapon for punishment? Why? How are you encouraged by the fact that God’s Word both convicts and comforts?