And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. — Mark 3:2
My six-year-old son is a stickler for following directions. I do not mean directions given to him, but rather those given to others! In the heat of a disagreement with one of his siblings, he will begin to cry that they are not following my prior directions.
This is not only a problem in our home. His schoolteacher has let me know that my son is very concerned with what others are doing in class — who is following directions and who is not. If someone is doing something contrary to the teacher’s instructions, my son jumps in to correct them in a vehement manner. The real problems arise when my son is not following directions himself. He is so concerned with the behavior of others that he loses sight of his own misbehavior.
My son, in this matter, is similar to the Pharisees that Jesus was dealing with. They were constantly on the lookout for problems and contradictions they perceived between the Law of Moses and the actions of Jesus. The Pharisees were very concerned with following the old Law exactly, but not for the right reasons. They wanted to be seen by others and to have their standing in the community become highly exalted. When they saw Jesus performing deeds which they considered to be in conflict with the Law, they sought to turn others against Him.
It is possible, as Christians, to get so caught up in watching others that we lose sight of our own personal need for a godly walk with the Lord. We can end up spending our time pointing fingers at others and worrying about how someone might not be acting in an appropriate manner. Let’s strive to keep our eyes on Christ, and to ensure that our own behavior is pleasing to Him.
Several references are made to the Law of Moses in this passage. The need for fasting was the first to be addressed. In verse 18, the Pharisees asked Jesus why His followers were not fasting. Jesus pointed out that the one reason for fasting was to draw closer to God, but because He was with them, it was not necessary.
The next behavior in question regarded the disciples picking corn on the Sabbath day. Jesus clarified that they were not picking corn for personal gain, but rather for personal nourishment. Nor were the disciples stealing from a field; according to the Levitical Law, farmers were to leave the corners and edges of their fields unreaped for the poor and those who were traveling.
The last law that the Pharisees were concerned about in this passage regarded the healing in the synagogue. According to the old Law, medical attention was not to be administered on the Sabbath except in matters of life or death. Jesus was angry with the Pharisees and their hardened hearts, and healed the man. In spite of the merciful deed Jesus had done, they were determined to discredit Him.
In verse 22, reference is made to new and old wine, as well as new and old wine bottles. Bottles were made of goatskin that had been sewn together. As new wine fermented, the new skins would stretch. However, if an already stretched bottle was filled with new wine that was yet to ferment, there would be no possibility for expansion and the seams would burst.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The opposition to the Son of God
A. The commencement of opposition to the Son of God
3. Controversy over separation (2:15-17)
a. The Pharisees’ question (2:15-16)
b. Christ’s answer (2:17)
4. Controversy over Pharisaic tradition (2:18-22)
a. The Pharisees’ question (2:18)
b. Christ’s answer (2:19-22)
(1) The bridegroom (2:19-20)
(2) The patch (2:21)
(3) Old wine skins (2:22)
5. Controversy over working on the Sabbath (2:23-28)
a. The setting (2:23)
b. The Pharisees’ question (2:24)
c. Christ’s answer (2:25-28)
6. Controversy over healing on the Sabbath (3:1-6)
a. The Pharisees’ trap (3:1-2)
b. Christ’s reaction (3:3-5)
c. The Pharisees’ plot (3:6)
Let us strive to keep our eyes on Christ and monitor our own actions, rather than others’.