Thursday, December 29, 2016

Plotting to Destroy Jesus

Mark 3:1-6

“And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.” (Mark 3:1-2)

Jesus had challenged the Pharisee’s interpretation of the law about picking the grain on the Sabbath day to eat, and they had been unable to show he was wrong.  When the man with the withered hand came into the synagogue, they were hoping it give them an opportunity to get even and contradict his teaching., regaining their prestige.   

“And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” (Mark 3:3-4)

Knowing what they were thinking, Jesus asked them about the intent of the law, whether it was permitted to do something good, such as caring for a sick person or and animal.  They all knew that the law permitted such actions, but they were not willing to admit they had distorted the law or were doing wrong, so they refused to answer. 

“And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. “ (Mark 3:5)

Jesus was frustrated that they were more concerned with their own rules and reputations than with a person’s health.  He told the man to stretch out his hand, and when he did his hand became just as healthy as his other one.  Since he had not done any physical work, they couldn’t really accuse him or working on the Sabbath. 

“And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.” (Mark 3:6)

Determined to regain their prestige, the Pharisees went and contacted the Herodians in an effort to destroy him.  Because of the constant rebellions of the Jews in Jerusalem against Rome, when Archelaus was removed from power, instead of turning Judea over to Herod, the Emperor had placed it under a governor, Pontius Pilate.  The Herodians were a group who were trying to get Pilate removed and Herod given the province, in the belief that since Herod was part Jewish, he would be more sympathetic to their demands.   The Pharisees hoped to enlist Herod’s support in getting rid of Jesus since he had already had John the Baptist killed.  It is hard to realize how jealous some people are of their prestige and influence.  

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