Mark 3: Breaking the law to do good

October 31st, 2006

If you find a dying person at a car accident, would you drive through red lights and exceed the speed limit to get them to hospital? If you saw someone’s house burning down, would you take water from a neighbour’s pool without asking, to help put the fire out? Would you help to hide a refugee from the government if you knew that the person would be persecuted or killed if they were deported back to their own country? Is it ever right to break the law in order to help someone else, and how do you decide when a moral duty becomes more important than a legal duty?

Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 3

3:1 He went back to the synagogue and encountered a man with a withered hand. 3:2 They watched him to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath day, so that they could accuse him. 3:3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up.” 3:4 He asked them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” But they said nothing. 3:5 He was flushed with anger when he looked around at them, because he was heartbroken by their callousness. He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored just like the other. 3:6 Straight away the Pharisees went out and plotted with the Herodians about how they could get rid of him.

3:7 Jesus retreated to the sea with his disciples, and a large crowd, hearing of the things he was doing, followed him from Galilee, Judea, 3:8 Jerusalem, Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. 3:9 He asked his disciples to keep a little boat near him in case the crowd pressed in on him, 3:10 because he had healed many, and people who had diseases were crowding round in an effort to touch him. 3:11 Whenever unclean spirits saw him they fell down before him saying, “You are the Son of God!” 3:12 He strictly commanded them not to make him known.

3:13 He walked up the mountain and called those whom he chose, and they went to him. 3:14 He chose twelve to be his companions, whom he could send out to preach 3:15 and to have authority to cast out demons: 3:16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter, 3:17 James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, whom he named Boanerges which means Sons of Thunder, 3:18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 3:19 and Judas Iscariot who later betrayed him.
3:20 He went home. The crowd gathered again so that they could not eat. 3:21 His family heard it and went out to rescue him because they said, “He is confused.” 3:22 The religious lawyers from Jerusalem said, “Beelzebub has got to him,” and, “He casts out the demons by the prince of demons.”

3:23 He called them and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 3:24 A kingdom can’t remain if it is divided against itself. 3:25 A house can’t remain if it is divided against itself. 3:26 If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he can’t remain; he is finished. 3:27 No one can go into a strong man’s house to steal his things unless he first ties the strong man up; then he can loot the house. 3:28 I can guarantee that people can be forgiven for all the sins and blasphemies which they may commit, 3:29 but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is never forgiveable; it an eternal sin.” 3:30 He spoke like this because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

3:31 His mother and his brothers came and stood outside, calling him. 3:32 A crowd was sitting around him and they told him, “Your mother, brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.”

3:33 He answered, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 3:34 Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, “See my mother and my brothers! 3:35 Anyone who does the will of God is my brother, and my sister and mother.”

Entry Filed under: Legalism

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. ยป Bre&hellip  |  July 19th, 2008 at 8:25 am

    […] social convention by, for example, bringing up a religious subject at a party. So the account from Mark chapter 3 of Jesus breaking the Sabbath law by healing a man has an uncomfortable and unsettling ring to it: […]

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