Oh, Silly Pharisees: Mark 3

I’ve decided this month to follow along with Courtney Joseph over at Good Morning Girls.  I had the privilege of spending some time with Courtney back in November at the Hearts at Home conference and very much enjoyed her & her speaking.  Each couple of months she selects a new book of the Bible & then each day reads one chapter.  Definitely head over to her site to learn more about how she studies using colored highlighters & the S.O.A.P. method.  She also has some amazing resources available there!  Mark-SPINE

For the month of March, she is jumping into the book of Mark.  And I’ve decided to jump in too.  She has a journal available through Amazon, but it isn’t a requirement to use it.   It comes full of great resources & information.  But if you choose, like me, you can certainly use a notebook or journal you already have. Or just choose to read the chapter, one per day, and let each one soak into you without any journalling at all.  There’s no wrong way to study the Bible.

Wed in the Word


Mark 3

“Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?”  [Jesus asked]

But they were silent.

And Jesus looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.

Mark 3:4-5

I’m a rule follower.  Ask anyone.  I enjoy staying within the confines of the guardrails of rules.  It makes little difference to me whether the rule is a good rule or whether the rule has a purpose.  I will seldom, if ever, question a rule.  I will follow blindly. I feel safe within the lines of rules.  There is a security there – real or perceived.  And, I’ll admit it, there is a certain level of pride that comes from rule following {did I just admit that?}  It’s the ugly side of being a rule follower.

I clearly would have been a Pharisee.  {Well, likely not because I’m a woman…and not Jewish}  But besides that, I would have totally been a Pharisee.

Pharisees loved their rules.  We love to pick on the Pharisees.  We do!  We sit back from the comfort of our air-conditioned pews and  look at the ridiculousness of the Pharisees’ behavior.  “Of course you should allow healing on the Sabbath!”  How can they be so judgmental?  “Take that plank out of your eye, Mr. Pharisee.  You’re being crazy & heartless!”  From this side, we can see that the intent behind the command to not work on the Sabbath was to give the people a space to take a break from the hard work & spend time together and with God.  The idea was not just to not work, but to not work and worship!  But the Pharisees lost the reason behind the rule & it morphed over time into a hard rule that didn’t allow for compassion or healing or saving.  Which were the very things that the rule was intended to provide space for.  Oh silly Pharisees.

The trouble with the Pharisees was one of pride.  Their rule following was often, I think, because they wanted the satisfaction of saying they followed the rule…to.the.letter.  It wasn’t rule following because by using the guidelines God had given them, they would be able to be more fruitful, it was more along the lines of they could look over at the “sinners” not following the rules and point and turn their noses up at them.  It was a pride thing.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

As much as I would like to imagine that I am nothing like those silly, rule-following, often-prideful Pharisees, I am afraid more times than not, I am.  I have taken the Word of God and morphed it at times to fit my little agenda of pride.  I have forgotten the heart behind the rule & followed blindly to puff up my imagine of myself.  “well at least I’m not like those people.”  Luke 18:9-14

It is clear that forgetting the heart behind the guidelines set by the Word grieves Jesus.  He was angered & grieved that the Pharisees didn’t get it.  I’m sure he is still angered and grieved by my not getting it either.  The gospel is good news, it is grace-filled & overflowing with love.  It is not rules and requirements, good out-weighing bad, hopefully being better than the next guy on the scale of badness.  We’re all a mess.  We all need Jesus.  And I think to reach out to those who haven’t been introduced to Him yet looks a lot more inviting from a place of love & grace than from a place of rigid rules and strict guidelines.  The following will come with love & understanding of what Jesus did.  Truth will follow closely if someone has truly met Jesus & has a desire to follow after him.  The Spirit will see to that.  Jesus knew this & healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath rather than passing him over.  Compassion & love should always, always win.

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