The Gospel of Mark Chapter 2, v.23: (Please note the Reading Tips in right panel)
A Discussion about the Sabbath
One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. 24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
25 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 26 He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.” 27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand.2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 4 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. 5 He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 6 At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
Crowds Follow Jesus
7 Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, 8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him.
9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. 10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. 11 And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.
About today's contributor -- Brent is a high school science teacher in the Bronx.
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I am most moved by the man with the deformed hand. I imagine he was there desperately hoping that Jesus might heal him too. It occurs to me that his physical deformity had caused shame, ridicule, loneliness, emotional and maybe physical pain. When I picture myself there I'm surprised by a sudden welling of emotion for him. And I imagine that his heart raced when Jesus called him up, like winning the lottery. When Jesus heals him it must have been thrilling. Except for the religious leaders, who start planning to stop him by . . . killing him?!? My strong compassion for the man reminds me of Jesus’s love and mercy for all - including me. (Thank you, God! ) Also, I start to feel judgment toward the leaders. But then I sense myself being stopped because I know there are times when I too have squelched love in favor of order and in defense of my own position.
How can I walk in Jesus’ love for all, regardless of circumstances or position? And how can I trust in God’s complete acceptance of me so that I don’t walk around selfishly protecting my own territory? I’m curious what others may have seen in the passage.
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Bible Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
Want to dig deeper in the Gospel of Mark? Check out this podcast from "the Bible for Normal People"