Mark 3: Investing in People

How do you feel when someone is watching you and hoping you'll mess up?
What is the normal reaction to entrapment?
Let's see how Jesus deals with it.

Let's read verses 1-6 where once again Jesus uses a healing as a teaching moment.

Did you catch the irony of Christ's question in verse 4? (The events of verse 6 provide a clue. His question exposes their evil motives and actions. When Jesus gives life by healing the man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees respond by plotting to take life by killing Jesus.)

So was anyone breaking the Sabbath here? (Yes. Not Jesus, but rather the accusers themselves.)

And how do they answer Christ's question? (They plead the Fifth.)

What is Christ's response to their evil? (Anger, deep distress, positive action.)

Do we respond to evil as He does? (We are often either apathetic toward evil or our anger lacks positive, constructive expression.)

How can we better model our response to evil after His?

In verse 5, Jesus says to the man with the shriveled hand: "'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored." Has God ever told you to do something which seemed impossible, but as you made an effort to be obedient, he made the impossible possible?

Let's read verses 7-12.

While the Pharisees and Herodians are plotting to kill Jesus, how are the common people responding to Him?

Why do crowds come from everywhere?
What do they want with Jesus?
(They seemed interested in Jesus only for His miracles.)

Do we want Christ's words as much as His works?

Let's read verses 13-19.

Given Mark's usual brevity, it may seem surprising that he lists all the apostles' names. How is discipling central to Christ's ministry?

How is verse 14 an outline of Christ's entire ministry strategy? (He appointed disciples, spent time with them, and sent them out.)
How is it a model for us? (We should be prayerfully intentional in our discipling, invest our lives in these people, and enable them by giving them ministry responsibilities.)

Let's read verses 20-35.

What do the Pharisees accuse Jesus of in their latest attack?
How does Jesus respond?
(A country can't have two kings without a civil war.)

In Christ's metaphor, who is the "strong man"? (Satan. We shouldn't underestimate his power.)

Who ties him up and how? (Jesus surprisingly compares Himself to a home invader! His saving work will deny Satan of power.)

What is Jesus taking from Satan? (He's freeing those enslaved to Satan.)
Why does Jesus warn them about blaspheming the Holy Spirit? (Verse 30 gives a clue. In their most diabolical attack to this point, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being demon possessed. They are looking at the goodness of God, and calling it the evil of Satan. "The sin against the Holy Spirit involves deliberately shutting one's eyes to the light and consequently calling good evil." [Bruce 93])

How do you think Jesus felt when his family came "to take charge of Him"?

When we are opposed or rejected by those who are closest to us, what comfort can we receive from Christ's words in verses 33-35? (Jesus is our Brother and we have a vast spiritual family which loves us.)

As we pray, let's ask for Christ's strength to focus on investing in people despite any opposition we might face.