I am preparing to teach my preschool teachers. We are covering the Gospel of Mark. Our lessons have come to Mark 3. If you have not had a chance to read the previous articles on the Gospel of Mark, you can find them below:
We have learned that Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to us. He has a message for the world:
- the time is now
- the kingdom of heaven is available repent
- follow Jesus
- learn to make disciples
This lesson continues looking at the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We will take a look at how Jesus came to release people from the sin that has enslaved them all of their lives so that they could be free to reconnect with God and follow Christ, learning to take that same message of hope to all the world.
The chapter begins with Jesus in the synagogue on the Sabbath. There is yet another man who need physical and spiritual healing. The Pharisees are there because that is their job. They are supposed to be the ones teaching the message of God and helping the people reconnect with God. They had turned the message of God into a means to oppress the people and increase their own power and authority within society. They had joined the ranks of the sin that enslaved and oppressed the people. Jesus knows what they are doing and He uses this encounter with the disabled man to confront the Pharisees, rebuke them, and try to teach the genuine message of the Gospel to them so that they could be set free to follow Him like all people need to do. They are not willing to learn. Jesus wants to expose their problem so that He can offer correction and hope to them. First, we see Jesus addressing the disabled man personally. He cares about the man, as He cares about all people, even the Pharisees. While speaking to the man, Jesus addresses the Pharisees and asks them a question. In essence, His question is, “is the Law created to help people or, is the Law (the Word of God) to be used to oppress people”? The Pharisees understand what Jesus means and they choose not to answer. If they answer correctly, then they will agree with the man being healed. If they disagree with Him, they are exposed for who they really are. The hardened heart of the Pharisees upsets Jesus and He feels sorry for them. They have the authority and position, yet, they do not use their position to help people. They are enslaved and they are oppressing people who are already oppressed. They need freedom just like the people they rule. The freedom stands before them and they choose to reject that freedom. Jesus heals the man and the Pharisees leave to plot against Him.
Jesus leaves and many people continue to follow Him. He continues to heal their physical ailments and also shares the message of the Gospel with them. While traveling and ministering the Gospel, Jesus calls His 12 disciples. After they answer the call, He begins to train them to take the Gospel to their fellow people. Here is what He trains them to do:
- Go out to the people
- Preach the Gospel
- Free people from what enslaves them with the message of the Gospel
As He goes about ministering, He is not understood, even by His own family. This happens when a person understands the Gospel, accepts the Gospel, and dedicates his life to following Christ. This does not stop Jesus. He continues to minister. The people continue to seek Him.
II. The Pharisees, demons, and scribes
As Jesus interacts with the Pharisees, demons, and scribes, they miss the essence of His message. The Pharisees are too proud to humble themselves and admit that they are wrong and that they need the Gospel just like everyone else. They are critical of Jesus and actually work against Him. The demons share the Truth of who Jesus is but Jesus will not let them speak. Many wonder why He does not let them share the Truth about who He is. The reason is that even though their message is correct, they are working against the Truth of the message. The message of the Gospel frees people from the sin that enslaves them, making it possible for them to reconnect with God and follow Christ. The demons oppress people because of their sin. Their actions contradict the message of the Gospel and Jesus does not allow them to share, even though they share the Truth. Many people are like this today. They understand the essence of the Gospel and may even be able to articulate that message yet, they are not a living example of the message. Christ wants to set us free from our sin. If we preach the message yet do not live it, Jesus does not allow us to share. Our actions contradict the message. People will get a distorted understanding of the power of the message of the Gospel. This brings us to the final group in the passage, the Scribes. The Scribes are the copiers of the Law. They understand the Law because they copy It by hand over and over again. When they encounter Jesus, the living version of the Law, they do not want to bow down to Christ. They do worse than the demons. Not only do they not accept the Gospel and the power of God, they actually attribute the work of the Gospel to Satan. This is what Jesus calls the unpardonable sin. They know that Jesus is teaching Truth as He ministers yet, they try to discredit the message. They willfully attribute the message and work of God to Satan. They have the opportunity to receive forgiveness of sin yet they reject Christ. Not only to they reject forgiveness, they try to keep other people from receiving forgiveness by distorting the message and the Messenger. When you see the clear works of God, how do you respond? Do you recognize the work of God and bow to it or, do you try to discredit the work of God? I have witnessed this first hand on several occasions. It is sad to see and angers you when others are persuaded by this deception.
III. The disciples
These people are the prime example of what the message of the Gospel can do in a person’s life. They were enslaved by their sin like every other human being. Jesus brought the message of the Gospel to them and they understood the power of God. They bowed in humbleness, believed the Gospel, received forgiveness so that they could follow Jesus Christ. Jesus takes them under His wing and begins to train them so that they can carry on the task of living out the Gospel and taking It to the people around them. At the end of the chapter, Jesus calls them His family because they have learned to do the will of God. They do not contradict the message of the Gospel or the Messenger. They bow to the message and allow it to transform them. How do you respond to the Gospel? Are you like the crowds, the Pharisees, the demons, the Scribes, or the disciples? Do you want to take the message to others or, do you want to keep the message of the Gospel from reaching others?
May the Lord help us receive the message of the Gospel as the disciples did!