Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

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Living by God’s Will

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. (Mark 3:4)

The gospel of Mark opens with a volley of testimonials about Jesus: His importance (John the Baptist), his lineage (God Himself), and his authority (attested by his ability to heal as well as by statements of synagogue members and even the demons).

How should a man of such stature behave?

Certainly not the way he did – at least in the eyes of his critics.

From the beginning, Jesus is “filled with compassion” (1:41) toward the needy. He ministers to those sick in body and soul and fellowships the outcast with a view toward their redemption. This earns him condemnation from his critics who believe he is sacrificing obedience to the Law in favor of ministry to others (because he forgives sins, doesn’t fast, and heals on the Sabbath).

In point of fact, Jesus doesn’t break the law but as chapter two comes to a close he makes this singular point: the purpose of the Law was always for the good of mankind – not to excuse evil.

I do not always know why God commands what He does, but whatever His reason, it has to do with our welfare (specifically stated ten times in Deuteronomy). Don’t mistake this principle for license (“I must do what’s best for me”) or an excuse for poor behavior. Jesus doesn’t break the law. He sticks with it and obeys it which leads him to minister to those sick in body or soul and redeem those who find the way of the Lord difficult.

In short, he knows not only the Law of God, but also the will of God and that leads him to act as the Son of God. So should we all.