>January 15: Mark 3

>Please read about Jesus in Mark 3.

We’re focusing this week on reading Scripture as an act of worship. How do you see Christ more clearly in this passage? How does seeing him better make you worship?

I think this passage shows us that Jesus is both merciful and holy, and shows his enemies to be neither. Everything and everyone we want to worship other than Jesus never satisfies, but our Lord is fully mercy and holiness all at once. That should make us worship him.

The religious leaders at this time had very strict rules regarding the Sabbath. There were lists and lists of dos and don’ts. Women weren’t even supposed to look in the mirror for fear that they would be tempted to pluck out their grey hairs, and we all know that plucking grey hair is serious work. The religious leaders were concerned with holiness, but they worshiped holiness and left out mercy.

Jesus, who is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), asks what the point of the Sabbath is (3:1-6)? Is it to worship holiness—and do so by unthinkingly following a set of “holy” dos and don’ts—or to worship the Lord of holiness? That same holy Lord said that he was, “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). Jesus shows that he IS that Lord by showing mercy to the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Our God is merciful!  Worship Him!

But the religious leaders thought this act of kindness meant that Jesus did not take holiness seriously. They said he was able to cast out demons because he himself was possessed by the devil (3:22). They didn’t get it. The kingdom of God was at hand! Jesus wasn’t filled with Satan, but was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10)! Jesus was holiness incarnate, standing in their midst, and the religious leaders desecrated the Holy of Holies by calling the Spirit by Satan’s name (3:29-30).

We worship a Lord who is fully merciful but completely holy. Many in our world want an all merciful (never judging) God. Some of us with a more legalistic wiring (yours truly) want an all holy God who only shows mercy to those who deserve it. But Christ Jesus is greater and far beyond any of our silly, petty idolatries. Whatever trait we may be inclined to worship, we are called to worship, not the trait, but the Son of God who possesses them both in full and equal measure. Let’s worship our Lord who is holy and pursues justice, but who is full of mercy and forgives wretches like us.

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